Melted butter is used in both the filling and the dough, and to grease the pan — its easiest to melt the total amount (8 tablespoons) all at once in a heatproof measuring cup and then measure it as needed. The cream cheese makes the glaze thicker and less grainy, but it can be omitted.–Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
Fastest Cinnamon Buns
1 H, 10 M
Makes 8 buns
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Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Brush a round 9-inch nonstick cake pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Spray a wire cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the brown sugar, 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and stir with a fork or fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand; set the filling mixture aside.
Whisk together the flour, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons butter in a measuring cup. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed (the dough will look shaggy), about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy about 30 seconds.
Pat the dough with your hands into a 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the brown sugar filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Press the filling firmly into the dough. Using a bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen the dough from the work surface. Starting at a long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch the seam to seal. Roll the log seam-side down and cut it evenly into 8 pieces. Turn the pieces over on their flat sides, and with your hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal the open edges and keep the filling in place. Place 1 roll in the center of the prepared pan and then place the remaining 7 rolls around the perimeter of the pan. Brush the rolls with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Use an offset metal spatula to loosen the buns from the pan. Wearing oven mitts, place a large plate over the pan and invert the buns onto the plate. Place the greased cooling rack over the plate and invert the buns onto the rack. Cool about 5 minutes before glazing.
While the buns are cooling, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup); set the rack with the buns on the baking sheet. Whisk the cream cheese and buttermilk in a large bowl until thick and smooth (the mixture will look like cottage cheese at first). Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the mixture and whisk until a smooth glaze forms’ about 30 seconds. Spoon the glaze evenly over the buns; serve immediately.
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Fastest Cinnamon Buns Recipe © 2003 Editors of Cook's Illustrated. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.