Monday, February 2, 2015

Multigrain Cocoa-Cinnamon Buns with Brown Butter Glaze

Did you hear there was a blizzard on the east coast last week? They named it and everything. Snow storms are kind of fun. They have this huge anticipatory period where you aren't sure what's going to happen. It's usually a lot of hype, but admit it. You like to get hyped up.

I like the cliffhanger feeling: Will it snow at all? It hasn't started yet.... I also like to track the storm using NOAA's satellite imagery, especially the infrared and water vapor loops. You can learn a lot about storms from watching these change as the storm progresses. I'm kind of a weather nerd -- I track hurricanes too. When I was a kid, I had this weather kit with a rain gauge and a barometer made from a balloon and a glass jar.

We didn't get much of a storm here. Living on the edge of the weather warning zone is funny. There were a couple of inches on the ground, but nothing crazy. Not like the lake effect snow we used to get when I lived up in Rochester. It's amusing to see how a couple inches can turn this town upside down, though. Everyone gets into a panic about school closings and traffic - and we were only in the 1-3" zone!

Winter and snow make me want to bake. I want to have my oven on all the time, for both the extra heat and the amazing smells. I want some dough rising on the back corner of my kitchen counter. I want to eat warm, gooey treats and soft, fluffy breads. Then, I want to hibernate.

Cinnamon buns are basically winter in food form. I grew up popping Pillsbury cans (which terrified me, by the way) and baking those eight glorious rolls in the toaster oven. But all the white flour and overly sweet sugary cinnamon just doesn't feel like a balanced breakfast anymore.

For this recipe, I played with some grains - oats and whole wheat. But don't run away. These are anything but health food. These are so ooey and gooey and sweet and spicy. I was tempted to eat the entire pan and then lick up the glaze. I didn't. I did, however, melt some of those hot cinnamon candies into my hot chocolate and call it breakfast. Yum.

Multigrain Cocoa-Cinnamon Buns with Brown Butter Glaze


Multigrain Dough:
3/4 cup warm Milk (110F, heat in microwave for about 1 minute)
2 1/4 tsp Yeast (or one packet)
1 1/2 cups All purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup for kneading
3/4 cup Whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Quick oats
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Egg
3/4 cup Brown sugar
Canola/vegetable oil for greasing

Cocoa-Cinnamon Filling:
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 Tbsp Cocoa powder
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/3 cup Sugar

Brown Butter Glaze:
2 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Whole milk
1/2 cup Confectioner's sugar
1/8 tsp Vanilla extract


1. Add the yeast to the warm milk and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until bubbly and foamy.
2. While waiting on the yeast, in a large bowl, mix the flours, oats, and salt. Once thoroughly mixed, add in the egg, brown sugar, butter, and yeast mixture. Stir until everything is incorporated and you have a soft, sticky dough.
3. Knead the dough for a few minutes on a floured surface. Then place into a greased bowl. Put a little oil on top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Place a clean kitchen towel over the bowl, and let sit in a warm, dry place until doubled in size, about an hour.
4. While waiting, you can make the filling: in a small bowl, whisk the cocoa, cinnamon, and sugar together.
5. Once the dough has risen, roll it out on a floured surface until it is about 12" x 18"
6. Melt the 2 Tbsp of butter for the filling, and spread evenly across the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on one of the short sides. Then spread the cinnamon-cocoa sugar evenly across the buttery dough.
7. Starting at the short end without the margin, roll the dough like a jellyroll. Once completely rolled, seal the seam with wet fingers.
8. Mark your cuts, then cut into 9 rolls. Place them in a greased square baking pan. Cover, and let rise until they have double in size, about an hour.
9. Preheat the oven to 375F, and bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes.
10. While baking, prepare the glaze: Brown the butter by cooking over medium heat, stirring regularly, until it begins to smell nutty and you see little gold flecks along the bottom. Add in the  the milk, vanilla and sugar to create a thin glaze, keeping it on low heat until the buns are ready.
11. Remove the buns from the oven, and let cool about 10 minutes. Drizzle the glaze over top while they are still warm. Allow them to cool in the pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack or plate to serve.

Serve these immediately, while warm or store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 2 days. Warm in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds before eating. My mom likes to unwrap and spread some softened butter onto the cinnamon side, but if you're impatient like me, just bite right into it!

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