Monday, November 28, 2011

Sugar, Sugar

Version 1, with syrup on bottom.
Because I didn't stuff myself quite silly enough over Thanksgiving weekend, I made these as soon as all the pumpkin pie was gone.

When I was a teenager, my mother subscribed to Center for Science in the Public Interest's monthly magazine, which ran exposés on all the artery-clogging restaurant foods in existence. One of which were Cinnabons, which in my opinion are the best non-food food at the mall. Not that I ever eat them. Or go to malls. That's just what I've heard.

One of the obscure flours I mentioned in an earlier post that has been waiting to be used is oat flour. I found a recipe for Double Oat Morning Buns, which I hoped would be like cinnamon rolls. Or snails. Or Cinnabons. Except with cardamom. And because I found the recipe on the Bob's Red Mill website, I figured it'd be relatively healthy, if not downright dull.

I figured wrong.

I realized my wrongness as I started Step 1, which is to combine just three ingredients for the sticky mixture that gets caramelized all over the place. The ingredients were sugar, maple syrup, and butter.  Delicious, for sure. But not even a little bit healthy.

Then in Step 2 I figured I'd even out the butter-sugar chaos with some fiber-licious oat flour. I did, but I also had to add more butter, more sugar, some eggs, and a cup of milk.  Which has calcium and protein and whatnot, but still.

Step 4 brought-- yes, that's right-- more sugar. Oh, and a tiny bit of rolled oats to up the fiber count. And cardamom. I love cardamom. If you don't, you can substitute cinnamon, with maybe a little allspice or cloves.

I started this recipe last night, because I knew the dough needed to be refrigerated for a bit, and I thought popping these in the oven first thing in the morning would be just like a Folger's commercial, only with baked goods. There is a non-refrigeration option, so I put the odds and ends of the dough in the oven last night with a little of the sugar-syrup mix on the bottom of the pan, as directed. But the buns I got were dry on top, and could have used more butter after baking. Furthermore, the sugary mix on the bottom got all overcooked and one corner of it almost burned. No good.

This morning, I decided to put the sugar mix on top of the buns and bake, letting it all run down the sides. You know, like at Cinnabon, but without the cream cheese icing. This did the trick-- soft, almost spongy dough, texture from the almond-oat-cardamom filling, and sweetness from the syrupy mess on top. All this amounts to the perfect way to start the day: in cardiac arrest. Just like at Cinnabon.

Version 2, with syrup running down the sides

Double Oat Morning Buns
adapted from
makes 18 buns-- cut recipe in half if you can't use that many

For the sugar mixture:
1/2 C maple syrup
1/3 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C butter

For the dough:
1 TBSP active dry yeast
1 C oat flour
3 to 3 1/2 C AP flour
1 C milk
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C butter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 TBSP butter, melted

For the filling:
1/3 C almonds, toasted and chopped
1/4 C packed brown sugar (you can probably use about half this much and get good results)
1/4 C rolled oats, toasted (you could double this amount for more texture)
1/4 tsp cardamom (I used 3/4 tsp)
1 TBSP butter, melted

I've changed the order of the steps, because the sugar mixture doesn't need to be made until just before these go in the oven. However, it can be made ahead and kept at room temperature until needed. 
1. Combine 2 cups of AP flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.
2. Combine milk, granulated sugar, 1/4 C butter, and salt in a saucepan over low heat until just warm and butter is melted (115-120 degrees F).  Add to flour mixture, and stir to combine. Add eggs. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds, and then scrape down sides of bowl. Beat 3 minutes at medium-high speed. Using a spoon, stir in the oat flour and as much of the remaining AP flour as you can. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface.
3. Knead in enough of the remaining AP flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes, total). Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (1 to 1 1/4 hours).
4. Combine filling ingredients EXCEPT butter in a small bowl. Coat a 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan with cooking spray.
4. Punch down dough and divide in half. Cover dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. On lightly floured work surface, roll one half of dough into 9" x 6" rectangle. Brush top with melted butter.  Sprinkle half of filling mixture over melted butter on dough. Roll up jelly-roll style. Cut into 1-inch rounds and place cut side down in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining half.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove buns from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. If any surface bubbles have formed, puncture with greased toothpick. Combine mixture ingredients in a saucepan, and stir over low heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. DO NOT BOIL. Coat tops of buns evenly with mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.


  1. My principal actually coined the term "mini-cini!"

  2. Wow these look absolutely delicious, what a great recipe! Super cute blog you have, so glad to be a new follower! xoxo

  3. Hi Kelly,
    Thanks for taking a look, and for following. I look forward to reading your posts!

  4. Patti, I thought those were called 'minibons' ...