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Cinnamon Buns with Sticky Sauce & Icing

cinnamon roll

Cinnamon buns have been calling my name lately. With cooler evenings setting in, that means fall is right around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited. Warm foods, cozy desserts, turtleneck sweaters … Am I right?    

cinnamon rolls with dripping icing

Growing up, my mom had a handful of “wow” dishes she would make — chicken croquettes, apple pie, and sticky buns to name a few. Well, last weekend I decided to try and experiment with my mom’s sticky bun recipe.  The dough is a traditional yeast dough; I think it was taken from the James Beard or Betty Crocker Cookbook.  The “sticky” part was my experiment and I think I nailed it.  The second time.  

I have to warn you, though … the great thing about these cinnamon buns is that they are part cinnamon bun/part sticky bun.  My inner 8 year old is thanking me for this recipe.  And wishing she had it back in 1990.  

cinnamon rolls

Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls:

Dough —

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup milk, scalded
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg

Sticky sauce —

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • Dash of the following:
    • Cardamon
    • Ground ginger
    • Ground cloves
    • Nutmeg
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp cream

Icing —

  • 2 cups powdered sugar 
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Cinnamon roll filling —

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon
  • Dash of the following:
    • Cardamon
    • Ground ginger
    • Nutmeg
    • Ground cloves


For dough —

Soften yeast in warm water. Let sit until yeast becomes frothy … about 10 minutes. Combine milk, sugar, shortening, and salt; cool to lukewarm. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour; beat well. Beat in yeast and egg. Gradually add remaining flour to form soft dough, beating well. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about two hours).

For sticky sauce —

In a heavy bottom sauce pan, melt the butter (watching carefully so you don’t burn the butter). As the butter is almost melted, add the brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then add all of the spices, stirring until well combined. Finally, add the cream and give a final stir.

caramel sauce

For icing —

In a bowl, combine melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and cream. Mix until the sugar is completely dissolved and smooth.

For cinnamon rolls —

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Once your dough has doubled in size, remove from bowl and roll out into a large rectangle shape (about 20″ long and 16″ wide) onto floured surface. Then smear the dough, from end to end/top to bottom, with the softened butter. Once covered with the butter, sprinkle the entire surface with the brown sugar and spices.

rolled out dough

Tightly roll up the dough, starting from the bottom. Once you have the entire dough rolled up, take a ruler and mark evenly sized cuts the length of the roll. Then cut each mark into the individual buns.

how to steps

Take your preferred baking pan, pour a thin layer of the sticky sauce into the bottom. Then place each of the buns into the sticky sauce, cut side down. Once all have been placed into the pan, cover and let rise again (about an hour).

how to rolls
cinnamon roll dough

After the buns have almost doubled in size, bake for 30-35 minutes.

risen dough

Once baked, remove from oven and invert onto a serving dish. Cover with icing and serve!


So, how about you?  Are you team sticky bun?  Or team cinnamon bun?

If you’re looking for other great fall desserts, check out our recipe for Apple and Plum Crisp.