Food

Cinnamon and Nut Buns with Caramel Topping (Gluten Free)

These are kind of like cinnamon buns plus, with nuts in the cinnamon layer and a delicious caramel topping. My original idea had been to have the caramel in the cinnamon and nut layers, but I forgot that caramel in gooey layers between raw dough will not result in caramel in gooey layers once the whole thing has gone into the oven – heating the caramel meant that it melted into the dough and, although delicious, the result was sticky layers rather than caramel layers. The number of buns this makes will depend on how many pieces you cut the rolled dough into – aim for about 10 to get them the right size. This is best eaten while still a little warm from the oven – I am experimenting with freezing them and will update this post accordingly if that is successful. As usual, the cup measurements below are based on a 250 ml mug as equal to 1 cup.

What you need:

Dough:

One batch of my gluten free white bread dough (the recipe is here, follow the instructions until the dough is mixed) or any other shapeable bread dough recipe you like – bonus for you if you can eat gluten and use a gluten dough!

Middle Layer:

1/3 cup of butter

1/3 cup of brown sugar

3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

¾ cup of roasted nuts, roughly chopped

Topping:

1 cup of white sugar

¼ cup of room temperature water (sightly cold straight from the tap is fine)

2 tablespoons of whole milk

½ cup of butter, broken or cut into a handful of pieces

1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

Pinch of salt

What to do:

1. Roll out the bread dough into roughly a rectangle shape of about 25 cm high by 50 cm wide. Keep your work surface well-floured to prevent sticking.

2. Heat the butter for the middle layer until just melted, and then stir in the brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Spread this evenly over the top of the dough rectangle (you may need to spoon out the slightly melted sugar if it sinks to the bottom).

3. Sprinkle the nuts over the top of the butter/sugar on the dough rectangle and then carefully roll the rectangle up into a long cylinder.

4. Cut the cylinder of rolled dough into about 10 equal-sized pieces. If you’d prefer it to be neater, trim the ends of the cylinder and discard them first. I dislike waste of delicious food and so tend to just use the ends to make not-very-neat rolls.

5. Line a baking pan with baking paper and evenly space the dough roll pieces on the baking pan. I used a roasting pan that is about 33 cm by 25 cm, but any medium to large pan should work. Place each dough roll in the pan on its side with the cinnamon and nut layer visible on the top. I spaced mine a centimetre or two apart, but just space them roughly evenly on your pan, bearing in mind that the further apart they are, the more chance there is that the sides won’t end up touching at the end of baking.

6. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and leave to rise to between one and a half and two times their original size. The amount of time this takes will depend on the room temperature. Once the dough has risen, turn on the oven to pre-heat to 180°C.

7. Once the oven has pre-heated, put the baking pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rolls are fully baked.

8. Once baked, remove the rolls from the oven and leave, in the pan, on a cooling rack while you make the topping.

9. To make the caramel topping, put the white sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan over a low to medium heat and cover with the lid. Leave the pan over the heat until the sugar has fully dissolved into the water and the liquid is clear and starting to bubble vigorously. The amount of time this takes will depend on how hot your hob is but check it every few minutes – mine took about 10 minutes over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has started bubbling, remove the lid to make it easier to watch, and then leave over the heat until the liquid has started to turn golden brown on the outside and through most of the pan – it isn’t a problem if there is a small patch of clear liquid still. Once this point has been reached, turn off the heat and move the pan away from the hob. For every remaining instruction in this section, be extra careful as each time you add an ingredient the liquid in the pan is likely to boil up or steam. First, carefully add the milk to the pan and then whisk vigorously until it is fully combined with the sugar water. Once the milk has been fully incorporated, add the butter and again whisk until fully combined. Finally, add the salt and vanilla essence to the pan and mix together thoroughly.

10. Once you have finished making the caramel topping, carefully pour it while still hot over the top of the baked rolls in an even layer. Leave to cool until just warm rather than hot and then enjoy!

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