I run pretty much the same route every morning. It’s one of those strange things about my personality that I don’t really understand. I am in one moment impetuous to a fault, moving across the country on a whim (thrice-ish), rarely saying no to any activity and/or adventure, and doing that whole acting before thinking thing (see: eating that spoonful of cinnamon that one time at Coldstone). But then every morning I lace up my running shoes and I can’t bring myself to explore a new path. I just want to run what I know, and I don’t want to think about it, and I can do it for years and never tire of it.
I think it has to do with the fact that my brain literally does not function for the first 2 hours I’m awake. If you accidentally call me and wake me up, the conversation might go something like this:
You: Good morning!
You: The what now?
Me: Dram the sandwich!
Listen, I have very bizarre dreams. But don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you any of them. I know how boring that is. (But, oh no, not when you tell me YOUR dreams, friend. No, really, I want to hear about how you had to save the entire human race and then there was this weird green liquid but it wasn’t really green? or a liquid? you know? and you changed forms into a lion but then you weren’t REALLY a lion? and you can’t even explain it, it was soooo weird. like, you were a lion but you weren’t a lion? right?) Just to be clear: I say this, I’m aware of it, and I still share my dreams sometimes. Because I am just that self-absorbed and I don’t give a shit if I’m boring you as long as I’m satisfying my need to talk about ME. I mean. I have a blog.
BUT WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS POST? The point is, the other day I wrote myself a note before I went to bed, knowing that when I woke up at 6:45 (I know that’s not even early. I know you get up at 5:00 and omg I can’t believe you can’t even function when you get to sleep in until 6:45 you’re so lucky I hate my life as a student/financial type/morning-person-not-by-choice. I KNOW. Just stop being unbearable for like ONE SECOND and empathize.) things would be really foggy and I wouldn’t be quite sure what to do. Here is my note in full: Get up (in retrospect, I really like that I included this instruction), take cinnamon buns out of fridge, put water on boil, change into running clothes, put buns in oven, pour water into pan and put in oven, go for run, remove buns from oven, preheat to 350, bake buns, take shower, make icing, take buns out of oven, frost, go to work.
What the note doesn’t go on to say is: Arrive at work, set out DELICIOUS WARM DOUGHY CINNAMON BUNS FRESH FROM THE OVEN and see them disappear in about 2 minutes.
Because these cinnamon buns are incredible. I’m…..in love with them. I could make these every morning. That would be ok with me. I would never tire of them. I’d run the shit out of this cinnamon bun route. And you should too. Because when you do most of the prep the night before, you too can bake these before work (you need about an hour of time, but about 5 minutes of actual DOING stuff…a little more if you don’t make the frosting the night before as well). If I was the author of the book “How to Win Friends & Influence People” the entire book would just be the recipe for these cinnamon buns with a post-it on top that says “MAKE THESE AND BRING THEM IN TO WORK.” And, you know, act interested when people tell you their dreams. Really. Done.
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
from Alton Brown
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature, approx 3/4 cup
20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray
8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.
While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.