Sunday, 8 January 2012

Cinnamon Buns - A Tea Time Treat

Tea Time Treats is a monthly challenge set in turn by Kate at What Kate Baked, and Karen at Lavender and Lovage; the rules can be found here. This month it was Karen who challenged us to bake a sweet Tea Time Treat based on either bread or pastry. This caused a dilemma for me - I'm not very good at yeast cookery, but pastry doesn't really fit into our low saturated fat diet. I decided to have another go at yeast dough, as that would at least present me with a challenge, and hopefully I could keep the fat levels down too.

There are two types of baked treats for tea time - small items which look highly decorative, and sit on a cake stand for afternoon tea, and the less dainty items which are just grabbed from the cake tin when you need something sweet with your afternoon cuppa. Buns definitely fall into the second category - there's nothing dainty or refined about a cinnamon bun - just sweetness and spice and a feeling of contentment after it's finished.

Although I haven't had consistent success with yeast baking, I have had the best results from Dan Lepard's recipes, so his recipes were my first port of call. I really liked the look of the Lemon and Almond Buns, published in both the Guardian and his recent book, Short and Sweet, but in the end chose the Cinnamon Buns recipe from his column in the Guardian. I think one reason I chose it was because of the incredulity of the commentators on the recipe, about including Ryvita crumbs in the filling! It made me want to reassure myself that of course Dan knows what he's talking about! There was also less butter in the cinnamon bun dough, and I could be cautious about how much I added to the filling. Another reason for using Dan's bread recipes is that his almost 'no knead' method suits my old arthritic joints - if I overdo any physical activity, it's quite likely that any joints involved will be immobile the next day; hands that don't work are not a good thing!

Buns before proving

After proving
I followed the recipe quite closely, and only made one change to the ingredients. I didn't want the buns to be too dark, so used a 50:50 mixture of light and dark muscovado sugar for the filling. When it came to dabbing a little butter over the dough, I used as little as possible, about another 50g. I think that either my yeast wasn't in the best condition, or my kitchen was very cold, because it took well over an hour for the shaped buns to rise enough before cooking. They also took 25 minutes to cook to a rich golden colour.

I'm really happy with the way these turned out, although I think they would have been a little lighter with a new batch of yeast. Hubs thought they were too large, so that's something to consider if I make them again.

The lemon and cardamom flavours were noticable in the plain dough, and the Ryvita crumbs gave some texture to the spicy filling. In a world where there were no worries about fat consumption, I might have added twice as much butter to the filling, to make it richer and stickier, but these were perfectly adequate for an everyday Tea Time Treat.


Foodycat said...

The crumb looks very good! The best cinnamon bun recipe I've tried was using Paul Hollywood's finger bun dough as the base and then adding a cinnamon sugar filling.

Sunshine said...

Mmmmm...I love cinnamon buns! Looks delish!

C said...

They look great. I know what you mean about the size though - with a richer bread dough I often want a smaller bun, but it gets difficult to manipulate and make them smaller without losing filling and so forth. I made some chelsea buns that were just too big! I like the idea of adding texture with Ryvita.

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

they look AMAZING... i've been thinking about doing them myself and you know I think I might... nice work xx

Chele said...

You are speaking my language with these. YUM!

Karen S Booth said...

A FABULOUS tea time treat entry thanks! Karen

Choclette said...

Oh, oh , oh cinnamon buns. I feel I've died and gone to heaven this evening looking at all these amazing treats on your blog that I can't BELIEVE I've missed. What a strange idea of Dan's to use Ryvita, but I can see how it might work. The lemon and cardamom sound like lovely additions too.