not hot cross buns… cinnamon buns please (WTSIM…#4)

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recipe: Cinnamon Buns based on University of Alberta Tuck Shop Buns

WTSIM… Easter Basket!

Early this week, we were talking about Easter-like bread:

me: Which would you rather have?

  1. Hot Cross Buns
  2. Cinnamon Buns
  3. Luciacats (sweet saffron buns)

T: (surprise, surprise) All of them!

me: Umm, okay. Which shall I make first?

T: Luciacats!! I love Luciacats!! No…. Cinnamon buns! Then we can have Luciacats on Easter Day. Yes, cinnamon buns. You haven’t made cinnamon buns in ages. When will they be ready?

So down to the kitchen I went to make my alma mater’s “Tuck Shop” cinnamon buns. And this time I followed all the instructions. (Read about the last time.)

I had forgotten how thrilling it was to knead dough that is basically the consistency of loose cream of wheat. :lalala: And cutting the risen dough into orange sized pieces was a complete joke. But somehow I managed and got 12 slack, slack, slack knots of buttery, sugary, cinnamony dough onto two parchment covered cookie trays. I baked them and…

cinnamon Oh my!! What great cinnamon buns! They were a little flat but they were fabulous. (click on image for larger view and more photos)

And in virtually no time at all, there were no more cinnamon buns left.

me: Which should I make now?

  1. Hot Cross Buns
  2. Luciacats

T: Cinnamon Buns! We need more cinnamon buns!

me: (laughing) Okay. Cinnamon buns it is. Does that mean you don’t want Luciacats or Hot cross buns?

T: (surprised) Of course I want Luciacats!! Don’t you want Luciacats? We love Luciacats!! But make cinnamon buns today! When will they be ready?

And so, down to the kitchen I went to make another batch of cinnamon buns. And this time, I put all twelve slack, slack, slack knots of buttery, sugary, cinnamony dough onto one parchment covered cookie tray. And baked them and…

cinnamon Oh my!! What great cinnamon buns! And this time they were exactly like Tuck Shop buns! (click on image for larger view and more photos)

Here is the version of the cinnamon buns I made based on the recipes for “Tuck Shop Buns” in A Taste of the Arts published in 1982 by the Edmonton Arts Cookbook Society as a fundraiser and the slightly different version of the recipe I snipped out of my alumni magazine, New Trail. (recipe online: Tuck Shop Buns: The Recipe):

Cinnamon Buns
based on University of Alberta Tuck Shop Buns
yeast mixture

  • 2½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ c warm water
  • 1Tbsp sugar


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c milk powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 c boiling water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ c whole wheat flour
  • 5 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt

cinnamon butter

  • 1 c unsalted butter
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • ½ c white sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • Thompson raisins, about 4 per bun


  1. yeast mixture In a smallish bowl, mix yeast with sugar and warm water (do the baby’s bottle test on your wrist) and set aside on the counter in a warmish spot.
  2. dough Into the bottom of a large bowl, put milk powder, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 2 Tbsp sugar and boiling water. (If there is no milk powder, use 1 cup milk and 1 cup water.) Whisk until there are no lumps.
  3. Add all the flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is mostly smooth. Allow to cool until the mixture is lukewarm (do the baby’s bottle test on your wrist).
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in yeast mixture.
  5. Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a large kneading board and pour the dough into the center.
  6. Watch the dough ooze towards the edge of the board as you wash and dry the mixing bowl.
  7. Use a dough scraper to knead the dough til it is smooth and elastic – about 10 minutes. Do not be tempted to add more flour! The dough is supposed to be slack, slack, slack. Use the scraper to help maneuvre the dough into the clean mixing bowl. Cover with plastic and place in a warm spot (oven with only the light turned on is ideal) to rise til the dough has doubled.
  8. cinnamon butter Melt butter and pour into in a flat bowl (a soup bowl works well) and allow to cool.
  9. Mix sugars and cinnamon in another flat bowl.
  10. Put some raisins into a small bowl (allow 4 or 5 raisins per bun)
  11. Cover the bottom of a sided cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Carefully pour the risen dough onto a lightly floured board.
  13. Cut it into 12 equal sized pieces (ha. yes, don’t worry, it will all ooze back together as you work). Remember the size. Take one of the pieces and place it gently into the warmish butter to cover it completely. Lift it out and roll it gently in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Tie it into a simple knot, tuck the ends underneath and place on the parchment paper. Poke raisins in under the seams. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  14. Use a rubber scraper to evenly distribute any remain butter or cinnamon sugar mixture over the shaped buns. Cover them with plastic and place in a warm spot to rise til double (about 45 minutes).
  15. baking Preheat the oven to 425F.
  16. Place the buns on the top shelf of the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 375F. Bake for about 25 minutes til golden. It’s a good idea to turn the tray around half way through the baking time – to allow for uneven oven heat.
  17. Allow to cool completely on rack on the counter.
  18. Before serving, reheat each bun upside down in the toaster oven to ensure that the cinnamon butter stays on the bun. Put extra butter on the table for the decadent.

Here are more recipes:

I’m afraid I’m actually far too late for WTSIM… Easter Basket! hosted by Johanna (The Passionate Cook) but if I’d been on time, this would have been my post…

Read the roundup:

edit 9 April 2007: If you would like to participate in this event, the next WTSIM… theme is bread. (How ironic! If I’d waited for the announcement for April’s theme, this post on cinnamon buns could have been one of the early entries! :lalala:) Entries for WTSIM… Bread are due 25 April 2007. For more details, please read Andrew’s (Spittoon Extra) announcement:

This entry was posted in baking, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, crossblogging, food & drink, posts with recipes, WTSIM... on by .

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10 responses to “not hot cross buns… cinnamon buns please (WTSIM…#4)

  1. MrsBrown

    Mmmmm, cinnamon buns. I’m far too lazy to do things like knead and wait for rising. The other night, I was thinking about hot cross buns and biscuits and how I learned to make biscuits with yeast in them from this very blog. I continued with my musing and thought “hmm, why not try to make hot cross biscuits?” I looked at a number of recipes for hot cross buns to find out the spices and made some excellent, albeit rather large, hot cross biscuits. In the regular recipe for biscuits, I used 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg and added some chopped up raisins. After they were cooked, the BrownBoy insisted that they should have crosses that we could SEE on them (they had knife crosses from before cooking) so I added a little lemon icing.

  2. bing

    MrsBrown, lemon icing sounds like an excellent way to make the crosses. I really hate the way the cross is sometimes made of two pieces of hard nasty dough.

    You forgot to report how the hot cross buns came out!

  3. your sister, B

    Mmmmm, Tuck Shop buns. Double mmmmm. I’ve made them a few times, and they always taste like Tuck Shop buns, but they never rise anywhere near as high as the real ones did. I do like playing with the very soft dough, especially the messy knot-tying after the dipping.

    I never managed to get 12, either. I think the most I’ve managed is 8.

  4. MrsBrown

    The hot cross biscuits were very good and the lemon icing was a good idea. They weren’t great because I made them too large. I also chopped the raisins and cranberries too fine and there wasn’t enough spice…but we liked them just fine and had the left overs on Saturday with honey or jam.

  5. ejm Post author

    I still haven’t made hotcross buns. (Is it allowed to make them AFTER Easter?)

    MrsBrown, the hotcross buns that I make can be made in one day and there is not that much time to wait for the rising. But baking powder biscuit hotcross buns sound like a completely reasonable facsimile. However, not the lemon icing part. Oh my no.

    Even though lemon icing sounds interesting on them, I am a purist where hotcross buns are concerned and think the cross can only be depicted with dough. I’ve sort of done it with slashes but the next time, I’m going to try using little rolled up pieces of dough. (Or have I tried that already and it didn’t really work? :lalala:)

    B, the second batch of cinnamon buns I made rose beautifully. It seemed to really help that they were pretty much jammed onto the pan. The only direction they had for rising was up. I really should have taken a picture of just one bun from the side to show how big they were. It’s too late now. They’re all gone. (Hmm, I wonder if I should make more cinnamon buns)

  6. johanna

    hi there, will be adding your entry to the round-up asap… what delicious-sounding rolls!
    here in the uk they sell hot-cross buns all year round, so there’s no reason why you couldn’t bake them after easter – i shall do so myself very soon!

  7. ejm Post author

    Lucky you, Johanna, to have hot cross buns available year round! Although I’m not sure that I’ll be making hot cross buns soon. I’m completely distracted now by the natural starter that is bubbling in the kitchen. When it’s ready, I plan to make a non-sweet bread with it. (But I should look to see if the author has any sweet bread recipes that call for the natural starter….)

  8. Paz

    Oh, yum! How delicious-looking your hot cross buns look. Now, why and how did I miss this post before. ;-) Thanks for letting me know about it. Oh! I, too, enjoyed kneading the dough. It was fun and relaxing. ;-)


  9. ejm Post author

    I have a feeling that this dough is much slacker than the dough for the Baker’s Apprentice cinnamon/sticky buns . I see from looking at the recipe that they call for WAY more sugar in the dough than the UofA cinnamon buns. And I don’t think I could have rolled UofA cinnamon bun dough out with a rolling pin!

    Glad you like the yo-yoing pig, Paz. I altered an existing drawing to add the yo-yo. I was rather pleased with myself. (I’m scared of those sideways smiley faces so I changed all the smileys into other images.)


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