The Ultimate Gooey Cinnamon Buns for Two

The Ultimate Gooey Cinnamon Buns? This isn’t a phrase one should take lightly! | The ultimate gooey cinnamon buns

But it’s true – after many (many!) attempts, I think I’ve found the perfect recipe for our small-batch of Ooey-Gooey Cinnamon Buns 🙂

I haven’t changed the standard dough recipe from my earlier cinnamon bun recipe, but I have tweaked the ooey-gooey part, the baking time and temperature, and have found a few little tricks to maximize that caramelized butter-and-brown-sugar goodness.

I may have mentioned it a few times already, but we have a tendency to go a little overboard when trying to find “The Best Of…” something. In Vancouver, we’ve definitely done “The Best Cinnamon Buns” round. The top choices here seem to revolve around these three:

  1. Grounds for Coffee: These buns are definitely good. You can get them with our without cream cheese icing, they’re soft and buttery, and there’s a hefty dose of cinnamon in them. This, we like.
  2. Solly’s Bagelry: These cinnamon buns don’t come with icing, but do come with a seemingly impossible number of swirls in them, always covered in a lovely caramelized good. This, we like.
  3. Whole Foods Market: We’re often like kids in a candy store – there are always so many tasty treats to gaze at. The cinnamon buns are a mile-high, and are heavy on the pecan-studded goo. This, we like. | The ultimate gooey cinnamon buns

The Challenge:

Come up with a recipe that will combine the best bits of all of our favourite cinnamon buns.

The Criteria:

  • They need to be soft and fluffy
  • They have to have the right amount of brown-sugar goo (you know, the kind that trickles down into every nook and cranny)
  • They have to roll and roll and roll forever
  • They have to be bold in their cinnamon flavour
  • They have to work well on their own, or when topped with icing | The ultimate gooey cinnamon buns

The keys to making our Ultimate Gooey Cinnamon Buns for Two:

  1. Shape: Roll out the dough to a very long, but very narrow rectangle (like a 16×60-cm or 6×24-inch shape). The longer, the better.
  2. Filling: Use more cinnamon than you think you should. I use a heaping tablespoon for 4 cinnamon buns. Many other recipes I’ve looked at would use that much for one dozen.
  3. Goo: Make sure the butter-brown sugar mixture in the bottom of the pan is fairly runny and keep adding water until it is. If this mixture is too thick, it will harden too quickly after it cools, turning the caramel into more of a jaw work-out than it needs to be.
  4. Baking: Before baking, I take a little pastry brush to transfer some of the goo from the bottom of the pan, to spread on top of the dough. I try to drizzle some of this into the spirals on top, so that when the buns bake, the butter-brown sugar mixture will seep down. This also helps keep the cinnamon buns from drying out. | The ultimate gooey cinnamon buns

Jonty thinks I’ve mastered it, and that’s good enough for me 🙂

The Ultimate Gooey Cinnamon Buns for Two
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For the dough:
  • 200 g (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (1½ tbsp) sugar
  • 0.5 tsp sea salt
  • 5 g (1¼ tsp) instant (quick-rise) yeast
  • 150 mL warm milk (I use non-fat)
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
  • 4 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the Goo:
  • 50 g (3½ tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 20 g (1 tbsp) pure Maple syrup
  • 1 - 2 tbsp water
For the dough:
  1. Sift together the flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Add the instant yeast, warm milk and melted butter.
  3. If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until a soft, smooth ball of dough forms. If needed, add a bit of flour so that the dough it not sticking to the sides of the bowl.
  4. Remove the dough and knead by hand on a lightly-floured counter top for a few moments.
  5. Place the dough back in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 20 - 30 minutes.
For the filling:
  1. Mix together the brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Melt the butter, when ready to roll out the dough.
For the goo:
  1. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar and maple syrup. Stir until melted and combined. Add 1 - 2 tbsp of water and stir. You want this mixture to be fairly loose and runny.
  2. Pour the mixture into a 8x8-inch pan when the cinnamon buns are assembled.
To make the cinnamon buns:
  1. On a lightly floured counter top, roll the dough into a very long, very narrow rectangle (16x60-cm, or 6x30-inch in size).
  2. Brush on the melted butter, right to the edges of the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture, making sure it is spread right to the edges.
  3. Starting at the short end, roll (and roll and roll!) the dough fairly tightly, until you have a thick log formed. Pinch the short end of the dough to seal the edge.
  4. Slice the dough into 4 equal pieces. I use dental floss to get a nice clean cut.
  5. Place the rolls into the goo-filled pan. Cover the pan tightly with plastic and refrigerate overnight, OR let the dough rise in a warm place until risen (about 1½ hrs). If you are refrigerating overnight, take out the buns about 45 mins to 1 hour before you plan on baking, to bring them up to room temperature.
  6. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are a light golden brown.
  7. Let the cinnamon buns cool for about 5 minutes, and then invert them onto a flat plate. The goo from the bottom will seep down through the buns.
  8. Serve warm with, or without icing.
I will often make the cinnamon buns in the evening and refrigerate them overnight. I have left them as long as 24 hours in the fridge, and they bake up just fine.
If you go this route, before baking the buns, gently spread some of the goo from the bottom of the pan around the outside of the buns. This helps to add moisture while they're baking.

Enjoy! | The ultimate gooey cinnamon buns