Cinnamon Roll Muffins

My weekend routine involves getting up before the sun on Saturday and hitting as many grocery stores as necessary to cross off everything on my list for the following week’s meals. It’s usually just two stores, but I’m crazy enough to visit four or five if I’m looking for something unique. I secretly love grocery shopping, but the early alarm and all the running around is anything but relaxing (though for the record, it’s still preferable in my mind to dealing with the crowds later in the day).

And that’s precisely why I love Sunday mornings so much, I’d say it’s my favorite time of the week. We almost never have anything going on, so the world is literally our oyster, as they say :) Most Sundays at our house you’ll find Shane sleeping in and me in the kitchen, in my pjs, the sound of the music from my latest iTunes playlist filling the room as I bake. It makes me so happy to have that peaceful and relaxing hour or two just to enjoy myself before the day really gets going!

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

It’s actually pretty rare that I use that time to whip up a breakfast treat to serve that morning, but on occasion it does happen. This past Sunday morning I threw together these cinnamon roll muffins, and had them waiting when Shane woke up and came downstairs. The muffins are fairly similar to the cinnamon swirl cream biscuits I made last year – they’re both fun alternatives to traditional yeasted cinnamon rolls when you just can’t spare the time required to make them. I wouldn’t claim either as a perfect substitute for a yeasted cinnamon roll because, let’s face it, there is no substitute, but I’d put both recipes in the “next best thing” category. These muffins have that tender, gooey cinnamon-sugar center you know and love, especially when they’re still warm from the oven. They were the perfect way to start our day, and something tells me it won’t be all that long before I find myself making another batch on a lazy Sunday morning!

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Cinnamon Roll Muffins
just slightly adapted from Fearless Homemaker

Dough
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)

Filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Icing
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the brown sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla, and the egg to a large bowl. Whisk until well combined (make sure you break up any clumps of brown sugar). Add the buttermilk and whisk to incorporate. Switch to a rubber spatula, and add the flour to the bowl, mixing until a rough dough comes together. Give the flour a minute to absorb the liquid, then if necessary add additional flour until you can handle the dough (ie, it isn’t super sticky) – I probably added about 1/4 cup.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough for a minute or two, until it is uniform. Roll the dough into a rectangle measuring approximately 12×24-inches (if the dough is sticking to your work surface, add additional flour). Brush the dough with the melted butter. Stir the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the surface of the dough. Starting with a wide side facing you, tightly roll the dough into a log. Cut the log into 12 equal pieces (each about 2 inches). Place one piece of dough into each well of the prepared muffin pan.

Bake the muffins for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for a few minutes then remove them to the rack.

Make the icing by whisking together the confectioner’s sugar, half-and-half, and vanilla. I like my icing fairly thick, but if you want a thinner consistency, just add a little more half-and-half. Drizzle the muffins with the icing and serve warm. (Like cinnamon rolls, I thought these muffins were best warm, but we revived them on subsequent days with 20 seconds or so in the microwave.)

Makes 12 muffins