I’m the kind of person who saves almost every photo of a cookie, cake, brownie—or any other baked good—that appears on my Instagram feed with the intention of baking it later. And while I’d like to bake everything I save, I admit there are a few too many luscious, dreamy-looking cinnamon rolls in my collection that I’ve never even attempted. I’m not a plan-ahead type of baker and I tend to skip anything that requires a knead, rest, or rise. So after a couple years of saving-and-not-making, I accepted that homemade cinnamon rolls weren’t in the cards for me.
But recently, that changed. Almost as soon as I came across Rosie Reyold’s Quick and Easy Cinnamon Buns in The Shortcut Cook, I had a batch in the oven. And no, I hadn’t prepped the night before or fussed all day: This was on the fly with just 20 minutes of prep and ingredients I already had on hand.
The trick to the quickest, easiest cinnamon rolls ever? Skipping the yeast.
I know what you’re thinking: Suspect! Fraudulent! No way they’re good! I, too, thought that yeast-free cinnamon rolls were some sort of oxymoron, but I was pleasantly surprised as I bit into the soft, pillowy, flawlessly sweet wheels, topped with tangy buttermilk glaze. Not only were these cinnamon rolls quick and easy, they were also truly delicious. As I reached for a second helping, I found myself wondering why I’d never stumbled on the not-so-secret concept of no-yeast cinnamon rolls.
“I kept the flavor classic, combining all the good stuff: warming cinnamon, a hint of mixed spice, and a buttermilk glaze with its hint of acidity,” Reynolds told me over email. “The texture is light but dense enough to satisfy.”
“I loved the idea of making a delicious cinnamon bun from scratch that would be ready in the time it would take to make a simple cake or biscuit.”
While writing The Shortcut Cook, Reynolds knew she wanted to develop a cinnamon bun recipe that skipped the process of making a yeasted dough, which usually requires a lot of kneading, proofing, waiting, and shaping. “I loved the idea of making a delicious cinnamon bun from scratch that would be ready in the time it would take to make a simple cake or biscuit,” she says.
And though this recipe completely skips the yeast in favor of a mix of baking powder and baking soda, Reynolds explains that you shouldn’t entirely skip the kneading. Her initial version of the recipe started with a dough that was similar to a scone dough, but she says that it didn’t hold its swirl shape well. “I knew I needed to develop the gluten in the flour more, so I kneaded the dough until it became smooth, which gave the characteristic tighter crumb similar to a yeasted bun.”
Get started by mixing the glaze first: Combine melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract (or vanilla paste), hot water, and buttermilk in a small bowl and set it in the fridge while you prep and bake the buns. Next, make the cinnamon filling by combining more melted butter with cinnamon, mixed spice, salt, and sugar until the mixture resembles wet sand.
You’ll need to knead the simple shaggy dough—enriched with melted butter and tangy buttermilk—for just three minutes until it’s smooth, elastic, and slightly shiny. Then use your hands to pat the dough into a large rectangle—no rolling pin required! Sprinkle the filling in an even layer on top, roll up the dough, and cut it into a dozen equal pieces. Instead of crowding them into a high-sided pan, you’ll spread them apart on a cookie sheet, which helps your rolls cook faster and achieve all-around browning.
If you’re anything like me, these cinnamon rolls just might be among the first you’ve seen on the internet, saved, and actually made. But here’s the real pro move: Bake them tonight for dessert, and you can reheat the leftovers in the oven (or toaster oven) for an even quicker breakfast tomorrow morning.Rosie Reynolds
Originally Appeared on Epicurious