Caramel Topped Cinnamon Buns, an Overnight No-Knead Method

no-knead caramel cinnamon bun - trustinkim

I haven’t made cinnamon buns in over twenty years! Not sure what I’ve been waiting for . . . they are so delicious. The caramel on the bottom (which becomes the top) is my favourite part. And I like to roll the dough really thin so there’s a more of the buttery/brownsugary/cinnamony filling in each little bite. I love Solly’s cinnamon buns in Vancouver, and these are my attempt the recreate that recipe.

Recently I’ve been doing some experimenting with no-knead doughs. For a few years I’ve been making no-knead breads, and I’ve made a lovely foccacia, and now I’m excited to use the same method for these buns. They taste great, but I love that it’s an easy method, and that I can stir it up the night before I want to bake them, and then there’s dough all ready to go in the morning. The dough keeps in the fridge for a few days, so I was able to bake a fresh batch of cinnamon buns a few times.

I found the recipe for the dough on this site, and the basis for the filling and caramel topping here. In the first batch I found the filling didn’t have nearly enough cinnamon, and also not enough brown sugar, so I upped the amounts of both of those ingredients. And for the caramel sauce I used some vanilla ice cream in place of most of the heavy cream.

What you need for the dough:

  • 3 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup melted butter 

What you need for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed down
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

What you need for the caramel:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (or vanilla ice cream, in which case you can add a little less honey)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

What you do:

  1. A day or two before you want to eat these, begin preparing the dough. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
  2. Combine the milk, water, honey and butter in a large glass measuring cup or small pot. In a microwave or on the stovetop heat the liquids until the butter has just melted. If it gets too hot, let it cool down before whisking the eggs in.
  3. Stir the liquids into the dry ingredients to make a sticky dough. Cover the bowl and let it rise for about two hours. Now put the dough into the fridge, covered for at least 8 hours, and up to three days.
  4. On baking day begin by making the filling. Beat the butter until fluffy, for 2-3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. (If you want an easier way to do this step, just heat the butter a bit and add the brown sugar and spices before spreading it.)
  5. Now make the caramel in a saucepan. Add all the ingredients to the pan, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring as it bubbles away. It should become a deep golden brown colour.
  6. Butter a baking dish, the size depending on how much of the dough you are going to bake off right now. Any remaining dough can be wrapped and frozen. 
  7. Pour some of the caramel into the bottom of the pan (you may not need all the caramel for this, but it is nice for an ice cream topping too!).
  8. Roll the dough on a well-floured surface an thinly as you can. Spread some of the filling over it. Roll the dough up, then slice it into individual portions, about 5cm wide. Place each portion in the pan, arranging them so they are just touching. Let them sit with a loose covering for about an hour.
  9. Towards the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 350F/190C. Bake the buns for about 40-45 minutes. They should be nicely browned on top, and the caramel should have firmed up, and even be candied in some places. Remove the pan from the oven for about 20 minutes before inverting the buns onto a serving plate.

5 thoughts on “Caramel Topped Cinnamon Buns, an Overnight No-Knead Method”

  1. This recipe is great! Worked perfectly and there may not be any left tomorrow. Great consistency to the dough, and the extra caramel will not last long either!

  2. I call this recipe No-Need. Didn’t work for me. Used all fresh ingredients, and followed the recipe to a T. The yeast didn’t dissolve, rising was minimal, after 3 days in the fridge…a sticky, gloppy mess! I tried to revive it…but in the bin it went.
    I’m a huge Solly’s fan, used another dough recipe, but used your filling and caramel.

    1. Also love Solleys. I’ll try dissolving the yeast in the warm milk mixture based on your experience. In the past, I’ve attempted to recreate their buns with brioche. After this attempt, if it’s not the greatest thing, I’d love to try a caramel sauce like this with a brioche dough.

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