Cinnamon Bubble Buns

Original Recipe HERE: I can't find a direct link to the article (which included helpful step-by-step photos), but it's from Flo Baker and was featured in the April 2011 "Family Fun" magazine.  I googled and found plenty of blog posts by people who were inspired by the same one, and some of them took photos as they made the recipe.

"Buttery cinnamon and sugar make these pull-apart treats irresistible."  With an introduction like that, how could one resist trying this recipe?  But the three magazine pages it took up made me put this off until I had a weekend afternoon to devote to the multi-step process. It's not difficult or really all that time-consuming, even though the total "hands on time" is (generously) given as 1 hour and the total time needed is 2 hours 20 minutes.  You can do other stuff during the two rising intervals and the baking period.  And anyway, they were worth the extra time and effort over the store-bougth "pop the container and disassemble the log of pre-cut cinnamon rolls" kind.  They were delicious, and I could see them becoming a traditional "______ [insert holiday or celebration or event of choice] breakfast."  Likely with making them the day before, because if I served them as breakfast, I'd have to start making them at 5am.  Not my idea of how to start off a holiday.  This makes 12 large buns.

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup sour cream [I used light]
3 Tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
Cinnamon-sugar coating:
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
Vanilla glaze:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp milk, preferably whole
1 tsp vanilla extract

(1) In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over water; let it stand until bubbly (5-10 minutes).
(2) Stir in butter, sour cream, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
(3) Beat in 2 cups of flour, salt, and baking soda until incorporated.  Add remaining flour; continue mixing until a smooth, soft dough forms.
(4) Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and reserve the mixing bowl.  Knead until smooth (about 3 minutes).  Add more flour if dough is sticky but do not exceed 2 tablespoons.
(5) Place dough back in mixing bowl; cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
(6) When dough is ready, lightly coat 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or butter.  Flour the cups; tap out excess.
(7) In a small bowl, blend sugar and cinnamon for coating.
(8) Melt butter for coating in microwave in a small, shallow dish.
(9) Gently punch down dough to deflate it.  Form it into a long cylinder & divide into 12 equal portions.
(10) Using kitchen shears or a dough scraper, divide each portion into 6 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.
(11) Coat 6 balls with melted butter.  Roll each in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
(12) Arrange 5 balls in the bottom of a muffin cup.  With fingertips, make a small "well" and press sixth ball into center.  Repeat with remaining dough until 12 buns are ready.
(13) Loosely cover buns with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until puffy and doubled in size (about 40 minutes).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
(14) Bake buns on center rack until golden, 20-22 minutes [mine were done by 20].  Transfer pan to a wire rack; cool 5 to 8 minutes.
(15) Tilt pan and gently tap on countertop to release buns [use a knife to carefully remove them from pan if needed].  Place buns on wire rack.  Slide a sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil underneath the rack.
(16) In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients; stir until it's smooth.  If needed, thin glaze by adding water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
(17) Brush or drizzle each bun with glaze.  Serve immediately or at room temperature [we ate some the next day and they were just as good].

Notes: I need to watch the baking time more closely because a few buns had slightly crispy edges - set the timer for 18 minutes and then be vigilant.  A note included with the recipe said "To make the dough in advance, follow directions through kneading.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Chilled dough should sit at room temperature for 1 hour before handling."  I don't know how long it can be in the refrigerator, but it may not save much time anyway because it still has to sit out for a long time before proceeding to the next step.

Kid Participation:
* Adding ingredients to mixing bowl
* Combining cinnamon and sugar
* Punching dough
* Rolling dough into balls (if possible)
* Rolling balls in butter and coating (if you don't mind a giant mess)
* Applying glaze (because it doesn't really matter what it looks like; it all "melts" together on the buns' surface anyway)

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