Q: I’m always tempted to buy hot cinnamon rolls (I can barely resist the delicious smell!), but I know deep down that they’re extremely high in sugar and fat. I’d love to make my own, but the recipes I’ve seen seem so time-intensive.
A: Guess what? It’s possible to have your cinnamon roll—and eat it, too.
Although traditional, yeast-raised, no-holds-barred cinnamon buns can take up to 5 hours to make, we found a way to make cinnamon rolls faster (and a little lighter) so that they can be enjoyed more regularly without the labor or guilt.
To start, we looked to quick breads, where chemical leaveners like baking powder and baking soda lend lift without the lengthy rising time. Swapping in baking powder for the yeast did the trick. We also chose buttermilk over other types of dairy for its rich tang, and its flavor and richness also allowed us to cut back on the butter.
To keep the buns moist, we covered the pan of rolls with aluminum foil during the first half of baking, which trapped in the steam and made for a moist, tender crumb; and to ensure a golden brown top, we removed the foil during the second half of the baking time.
These rolls are truly the best of both worlds—quicker and lighter.