Declaring something 'the best' is tricky, but I can easily proclaim something like these cinnamon buns to be 'my favorite' I've ever made. And, I've made lots of different cinnamon buns or rolls. In fact, cinnamon rolls are one reason this blog was started in the first place. I once spent most of a Saturday morning hunting through files and stacks of recipes trying to find the one for some cinnamon rolls I had made before. Several hours later, I remembered the recipe was from an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. This blog makes it so much easier to keep track of details like that. But, that was some other version of cinnamon rolls. The ones shown here today are now my favorites. They come from Maida Heatter's Cakes, and the secret is potatoes. I knew potato dough for breads is very tender and fluffy, but I had never considered making cinnamon buns from a potato dough. Maida explains that yeast likes potatoes, and indeed, the dough puffed very well while rising. The twelve buns filled a fifteen and a half inch by ten and a half inch pan. Fear not, there is no flavor of potatoes in the dough. The buns taste buttery, cinnamony, and sweet. The potatoes just affect the texture, and they do so in the best way possible.
First, you're going to need some plain, mashed potatoes. Anything leftover that might have been seasoned with salt and pepper or garlic isn't going to work. Maida points out that three quarters of a pound of potatoes will produce the one cup of mashed potatoes needed. The plain mashed potatoes were warmed in a saucepan, and milk was slowly stirred into them followed by sugar, a little salt, and butter. Meanwhile, yeast was added to warm water in a measuring cup, and in a separate bowl, and egg was mixed with vanilla. Then, in the bowl of a mixer, the potato and milk mixture was combined with the water and yeast and egg. Flour was slowly added, and this produced a sticky dough. The dough was turned out onto a floured board, and kneading was easier with a dough scraper. When the dough felt smooth, it was placed in a oiled bowl and left to rise for an hour or a little longer. After rising, it was rolled out on a floured board into an eighteen inch square, covered with melted or very soft butter, and sprinkled with a mix of cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. I opted to leave out the raisins. Next, the dough was rolled into a log and cut into buns. I let the covered tray of buns rest in the refrigerator overnight, and then brought them to room temperature while the oven pre-heated the next morning. They baked for twenty minutes, and when cool, the glaze was drizzled on top. I added a few tablespoons of cream cheese to the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and cream in the glaze.
Usually, the best part of a cinnamon bun is the very middle, but these were that good all the way on the outside edge. For years, my favorite cinnamon bun or roll was one made with pumpkin puree, and when October arrives, I reserve the right to change my mind again. Until then, these cinnamon buns will hold the title.
I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting where you’ll find some seriously well-made bread.