Cinnamon Raisin Buns

I adore cinnamon rolls.  Love them.  There’s something about the way the brown sugar and cinnamon combine in those tight spirals, topped with a sweetened cream cheese frosting (which I put on while the buns are still nice and hot – it’s just…heartwarming.

Yeah, that’s it…heartwarming.

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I wish I could say I make them often, but the truth is, I don’t.  That’s probably a good thing for my metabolism, but still.  I think it’s because they always feel like they are going to be time consuming.  Like, they are a commitment.

But it’s barely even a commitment.  So what’s my problem?

I’ll tell you what I think it is.  The PAST.

You see, before KitchenAid outfitted my newly improved kitchen, yeasted breads and I really stood no chance of success.  None.  I keep it a balmy 68-69 degrees in here at all times, which simply means – no bread is a risin’ in MY kitchen.  In the summer, I would attempt things like puff pastry and sweet rolls or pizza dough, but only if it was sunny, and only because I would cart the dough out to my car, where the heat built up inside would act as a proofer.

It’s hard to rely on Mother Nature for yeasted dough, though, I tell you.  Hit or miss.

But, skip ahead to present day.

Gilda is the name of my gorgeous, stainless steel 48 inch commercial KitchenAid range.  She is a stunner.  She is a genius.  She has yet to fail me, on any level. 

One of the many amazing features Gilda possesses is a Proofing Feature.  In fact, the proofer is available on both sides of the range, in both ovens.  Sweetness.  Just the push of a button brings the oven to a balmy 100, ideal for proofing.  So, breads are a cinch for me now, no treks out to the car, no pathetic failures in the bread department.

These Cinnamon Raisin Buns are proof of that.

I always use the same dough recipe (or a version of) given to me many years ago when I first met my friend Carrie of Fields of Cake.  I drove up to Maine over three years ago to meet her, and tasted her cinnamon rolls.

Sweet mercy and goodness.

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So now, I’ll add something here and there, switch it up a bit, but I always stick to the base that I know works. That Carrie can bake – why mess with perfection?

I had a hankering for these cinnamon rolls the other day, but as I was spreading out the butter and sugar, I remembered a huge bag of Golden California Raisins hanging out in my baking drawer.  Of course, I knew I had to use them.  So plump and juicy, the perfect amount of sweet.  They added just the right texture and flavor.  I hope you’ll agree!

Cinnamon Raisin Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 1/2 oz. pkg. instant French vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 3/4 cups cold whole milk
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 6 cups flour (maybe a little more to attain the proper consistency)
  • 1 cup very soft butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 2 cups Golden California Raisins

Instructions

  1. Mix water, orange juice, yeast, and sugar together until yeast and sugar are dissolved. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl prepare pudding mix according to package directions.
  3. Add butter, eggs and, orange zest, and salt; mix to blend well.
  4. Add yeast mixture and blend well. Gradually add flour and cardamom; transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough until smooth. (the dough should be soft but not sticky)
  5. Place in a greased bowl; cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down dough and let rise again.
  6. Roll out on a floured surface. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface.
  7. In a bowl mix 2 cups brown sugar and Cinnamon; sprinkle over the top. Evenly sprinkle raisins across the sugar. Roll up tightly.
  8. Put a notch every 2 inches. Cut with a good serrated knife.
  9. Place swirls on lightly greased cookie sheet or in 4 -8×8 disposable pans; lightly press each roll down.
  10. Cover and let rise to double again.
  11. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and top with frosting.  Serve and enjoy!

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese and milk with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

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I’d like to thank The California Raisin Commission for treating me so well as an Ambassador.  While this particular post was not sponsored or paid for, I AM in fact an Ambassador, and I love it!  Therefore, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If you are coming to Blissdom in Dallas next month, come see us – the entire Raisin Blogger Bunch will be there!  Are you coming?

*Disclaimer – KitchenAid provided all of my new cooking appliances in 2012.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.