Missed September deadline and Claire Ptak’s Cinnamon Buns

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ARRRhhh! I missed the September deadline for my blog post! I had this post ready to go for the longest time and then things just got on top of me so I do apologise. We have had a very exciting month with lots going on, lots that I am absolutely bursting to tell everyone, but all will be revealed in good time.
For now enjoy the blog and make Claire’s cinnamon buns, they are sweet!

Cinnamon buns always remind me of Belize, where we spent , I think our best holiday ever before we even thought of having kids. Each morning we would follow the Jon’s Cinnamon Bons ( yes, bons, must be pronounced with the slow drawl of a Belizian / American accent! ) signs and smells to the back door of Jon’s bakery. The most incredible, old fashioned bakery with an oven, from ceiling to floor, the size of which I have never seen before or since.
Jon was so relaxed it ended up being about 11am by the time the bons were actually ready. There would be a queue outside and a plethora of people inside just hanging around the oven, chatting to Jon, waiting him to produce his Cinnamon bons. They were worth the wait but as much as I love them, when the craving strikes, I don’t always have as much patients as Jon or his customers to wait for the whole process. So, you can imagine why a little smile broke across my face when the first recipe I saw in Claire Ptak’s wonderfully relaxed new baking book, The Violet Bakery Cookbook, was a quick recipe for these delicious buns that are yeast free, toil free and out of the oven within the hour.

Claire, originally from California, with an amazing pedigree of kitchens under her belt including Alice Waters’, Chez Panisse, started a stall at the Broadway market in London while working as a food stylist. She says, nobody really came to Broadway Market back then apart for cooks, artisans and a handful of local residents. But it slowly started to grow in popularity and her business grew too. It grew so much that with a second stall at the market she couldn’t keep up with the demand, cooking from her apartment kitchen, she started looking for a commercial kitchen which led her to where she now has her Violet bakery on Wilton Way in East London.
Claire is imaginative in her recipes using lots different grains and unprocessed sugars, alternatives to cows milk and includes in her book recipes for people with intolerances that taste as good as the regular ones. These buns are the bad ass version but well worth the indulgence!
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Cinnamon Buns
Makes 12

For the filling
75g unsalted butter
250g light brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Buns
560g plain flour
2tbsp baking powder
2tspfine sea salt
2tsp ground cardamom
240g cold unsalted butter
cut into small cubes
300g cold milk
sugar for dipping, butter for greasing the tins

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan) gas 6

Butter a 12-cup deep muffin tray

First, prepare the filling. Melt the butter and leave in a warm place so it remains liquid. Mix together the light brown sugar and cinnamon until no lumps remain, then set aside.

Now make the dough. In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine all the dry ingredients eith the cubes of butter and mix until you have a coarse meal.
Slowly pour in the cold milk while the mixer is running , until the dough forms into a ball and comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and leave to rest for a few minutes.
Fold the dough gently over itself once or twice to pull it all together. Let the dough rest for a second time, for 10 minutes.
Clear a large surface, dust lightly with flour and roll the dough into a rectangle about 5mm thick. Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter and before it hardens, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar onto the butter. You want a good, slightly thick layer.

Now roll the dough up, starting at the long side, keeping it neat and tight. Gently tug the dough towards you to get a taught roll whilst rolling away from you into a spiral. Once it’s all rolled up, gently squeeze the roll to ensure it’s the same thickness throughout. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll crossways into 12 even slices. Take a slice of the cinnamon roll, peel back about 5cm of the loose end of the pastry and fold it in back under the roll to loosely cover the bottom of the roll. Place in the muffin tray, flap-side down. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Bake the buns for 23 minutes. As soon as they are out of the oven, flip them over on to a wire cooling rack, so that they don’t stick to the tray. Dip each cinnamon bun into a bowl of caster sugar and serve straight away.

Cinnamon buns