These small batch cinnamon rolls are soft, gooey, and the closest I've gotten to Cinnabonbuns. This recipe uses yeastso it’s not a quick roll and bake recipe. I like to make them a day ahead to bake fresh the next morning!
Using a stand mixer, mix the flour, brown sugar, yeast, and salt together on low. Add the butter and continue to mix until the butter is coarse and crumbly.
Stop the mixer. Make a well in the flour with your hands and add the buttermilk and egg. Mix on low until a soft dough forms that clears the bowl, then switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed for 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Knead it 25 to 30 times by hand, then shape it into a ball. Place it back in the mixing bowl seam side down. Cover the bowl and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Assemble The Cinnamon Rolls
Once risen, gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Use a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 11x13-inches (28x33-cm) in size, and about ¼-inch (½-cm) thick.
Spread the butter evenly over the dough. Use your hands to gently spread and press the brown sugar and cinnamon into the butter.
Beginning on a long side, roll the dough into a log. Once rolled, pinch the outside seam of dough together to keep it from unrolling.
Line the baking dish with parchment paper. Use a serrated knife to gently saw the log into 8 cinnamon rolls. Arrange the rolls in the prepared dish. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 2 hours.
Bake The Cinnamon Rolls
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Brush the top of each roll with melted butter, then bake for 26 to 28 minutes or until golden and the cinnamon filling is bubbling. Cool the cinnamon rolls on a wire rack before mixing together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and buttermilk. Spread or drizzle the glaze over the rolls before serving.
If you don't own a stand mixer, make small-batch cinnamon rolls by hand using a fork to mix the dough.
A serrated knife is best to cut the rolls. Saw gently back and forth rather than pressing down.
The rolls will leak butter while baking. Don't be alarmed! It will settle down after a few minutes of cooling and merge with the brown sugar into a sticky bottom layer.
To Store — Once cool, store the rolls in a large zipper-top bag or container with a lid. They can stay on the counter for a day or two.
To Freeze — Place cooled rolls in a large zipper-top freezer bag and keep in the freezer for up to one month.