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Monday, January 18, 2016

Sticky Cinnamon Hazelnut Buns

We're halfway through January and I've been having no problems at all staying vegan for this month. For those of you that don't know, my New Year's resolution was to try and stay meatless for the month of January. So far so good! As I haven't had any cravings for meat at all.

How could I possibly miss meat after my Slow Cooker Vegan Sweet Potato and Carrot Chili (that's so hearty you can stand up a spoon in it), my Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, or my creamy Acorn Squash Risotto?

Another resolution for me to try and knock out this year are some of the recipes on my baking bucket list. It's time for me to conquer my fear (yes, some recipes scare me!) and tackle my baking bucket list. And I've been wanting to make these sticky cinnamon buns since last year.

Now don't let the yeast or the candy thermometer scare you from making these cinnamon buns because they are so easy to make.

The yeast does all the work in helping your dough rise and the candy thermometer assist you in making the ooey, gooey syrup that covers your cinnamon buns.

Without the yeast, you would have flat buns (something nobody wants!) and without the thermometer, you would burn the syrup.

The reason I've avoided making these is because I thought they were time consuming and so hard to make. Silly me thought you had to roll every bun up individually. That is until I actually sat down and read the recipe and found out how easy they are to make.

All this time I wasted because I was afraid of making these sticky, sweet delights. No more!

Plus, I made these sticky cinnamon buns a little healthier by not using any white sugar. I used honey to help activate the yeast, Splenda brown sugar for the filling and syrup, and pure maple syrup for the syrupy topping. A few healthier options without risking any of the sweetness of these cinnamon buns.

And unlike many other recipes that call for pecans, I used hazelnuts. Only because I didn't have any pecans on hand when I made these, but I really think I like the hazelnuts better as they add more flavor and a little more crunch than pecans.

I call that a win-win!

I'm thinking I can make these Sticky Cinnamon Hazelnut Buns for every holiday and maybe sometimes just because.

Because who doesn't love homemade ooey, gooey, sticky cinnamon nutty buns?

Sticky Cinnamon Hazelnut Buns

Recipe by Julie @ Sweet and Spicy Monkey
Sticky, sweet cinnamon buns made with hazelnuts and no refined sugar.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 3 hours (includes rising time)
Yield: 8 to 9 cinnamon buns
Ingredients for Dough
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature & cubed
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Directions for Dough
  1. Warm butter, milk, and honey in a small sauce pan. Just before it boils, remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Let stand until temperature lowers between 90 and 110F degrees. Once temperature is reached, sprinkle yeast over milk, mix together with a fork, cover with a small clean towel, and let yeast mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes, until it starts to form bubbles on the surface.
  3. While yeast is activating, grease large mixing bowl using olive oil, butter, or coconut oil. Set bowl aside.
  4. Combine egg, flour, and sea salt to yeast mixture and using dough attachment for stand mixer, knead dough until it becomes smooth and elastic in texture, about 5 minutes.
  5. Shape dough into a ball with your hands and place into greased bowl. Lightly brush exposed surface of dough with olive oil, cover with a clean towel, and place in warm area so dough can rise for about 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. Dough should double in size during this time.
Ingredients for Filling
  • 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Directions for Filling
  1. To make the filling, add brown sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt to a small bowl. Mix together with a fork and set aside. Place butter by bowl to be used before sprinkling cinnamon brown sugar mixture over dough.
Ingredients for Topping
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
Directions for Topping
  1. To make the sticky topping, generously butter a 9" round cake pan, making sure to butter sides and top overlap (lip of pan). This helps make for easier removal of cinnamon buns. Set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan, add butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and sea salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. After mixture begins to boil, continue cooking and stirring continuously over medium heat until temperature reaches 212F (100C) degrees (This is where you need to use your candy thermometer). Once temperature is reached, remove from heat and pour syrup mixture into prepared cake pan.
  3. Sprinkle hazelnuts over syrup mixture. Set aside.
Preparation and Cooking Directions
  1. After dough has risen, place dough on a flat, floured surface and knead for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Roll dough out into a 10" x 10" square shape.
  3. Generously rub softened 3 Tablespoons of butter that we set aside earlier, over entire surface of dough.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon filling over buttered dough.
  5. Roll dough up tightly and using a sharp knife, cut into 8 or 9 slices.
  6. Place slices into prepared pan, cut side up.
  7. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a small dry towel. Place in a warm, draft-free area and let dough rise for 1 hour. Dough should double in size.
  8. Before one hour is up, preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  9. After dough has risen, uncover cinnamon buns and bake in preheated oven for 18 to 23 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  10. Remove from oven.
  11. Using a butter knife, gently loosen sides of buns from around pan, and immediately flip over cake pan onto a serving dish or plate. If they stick, gently tap bottom of pan and buns should come out easily. This might take about 30 seconds so don't fret. If they're still not coming out, repeat loosening the edges with butter knife while pan is upside down.
  12. Serve immediately with coffee, tea, or milk.

Inspired by ~ David Levobitz Maple Pecan Sticky Buns.

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