King Arthur Flour's Dark and Dangerous Cinnamon Buns Recipe

King Arthur Flour's Dark and Dangerous Cinnamon Buns Recipe

[Photograph: Donna Currie]

What Worked: While these wouldn't be considered healthy, if you're going to eat cinnamon buns, you might as well add whole wheat. Except for the color, you'd never know these were whole grain buns.

What Didn't: For my taste, they were a little sweet. On the other hand, no one else who ate them had any such reservations.

Suggested Tweaks: Next time, I might add just a small drizzle of the icing to the buns, and reserve the rest for anyone who wants more. Or, a cream cheese-based icing would be less sweet.

Adapted from Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour. Copyright © 2006. Published by The Countryman Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

  • Yield:Makes 16 rolls
  • Active time: 40 minutes
  • Total time:5-6 hours


  • Dough
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) orange juice
  • 5 tablespoons (3 3/4 ounces) honey
  • 1 large egg, separated (reserve the white)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups (14 ounces) traditional whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Heaping 1/2 cup (1 1/4 ounces) dried potato flakes or 3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounce) potato flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • Filling
  • 1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) packed light or brown sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Icing
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons (1 to 1 1/2 ounces) milk or cream, enough to make a spreadable icing


  1. 1.

    To prepare the dough: Combine all the dough ingredients, using the egg yolk and setting the white aside to use in the filling. Mix and knead – by hand, mixer or bread machine – until you have a medium-soft, smooth dough. Cover and allow the dough to rise until it’s quite puffy, though probably not doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours. While the dough is rising, make the filling.

  2. 2.

    To prepare the filling: Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until smooth.

  3. 3.

    Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch, 11-inch-square, 12-inch round or similar-size pan.

  4. 4.

    To shape the buns: Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Roll and pat it into a 12 x 16-inch rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch margin along one large edge. If the filling seems too sticky to spread easily, wet your fingers and smear it over the dough the best you can.

  5. 5.

    Starting with the filling-covered long edge, roll the dough into a log, turning it so the seam is flat against the work surface. Using a serrated knife or dental floss, gently cut it into 16 pieces.

  6. 6.

    Place the buns in the prepared pan, spacing them evenly; they won’t touch one another. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow the buns to rise for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. They won’t double in size, but will become about half again as large as they were originally. They should barely touch each other. Near the end of the buns’ rise, preheat the oven to 350˚F.

  7. 7.

    To bake the buns: Bake the buns, until they’re deep golden brown on top, 25 to 28 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and after 3 minutes, carefully turn them out, upside-down, onto a rack. Place another rack, feet side up, on the buns, and invert them once again, so their tops are up. They’ll be hot and delicate, so be careful. While the buns are cooling a bit, make the icing.

  8. 8.

    To finish the buns: Beat together the sugar, vanilla, butter, salt and 2 tablespoons of the milk (or cream) in a medium mixing bowl. Beat in additional milk or cream if the icing is too stiff to spread. Spread the icing on the lukewarm buns. Serve immediately, or cool completely, cover, and store at room temperature. Buns will keep well, covered, for several days.