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You can’t beat these fluffy, gooey, sticky cinnamon buns!
It is important to use generous amounts of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to create the perfect amount of ooey, gooey caramel. The amounts listed for the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon are approximate.
Turn oven on and let the oven begin to heat up for 3 or 4 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave the door closed. Warming the oven this way will give your dough excellent conditions for rising.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the warm water and sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, yeast mixture should have grown and become frothy. If it has not grown, then your yeast is dead and you must start over with either a new batch of yeast, or perhaps your water temperature was too hot and it accidentally killed the yeast. Either way, try again.
To the yeast mixture, add 4 cups of flour, remaining sugar, salt, oil, and eggs. Turn mixer on low and mix until incorporated. Add 2 more cups of flour; mix again. Add 1 more cup of flour; mix again. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is well combined. Continue mixing for several minutes. Dough should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If dough is too sticky and does not pull away from the sides, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time until it begins to pull away. The dough should still be slightly sticky and not completely dry. (You can do these steps by hand like they used to before the invention of stand mixers but I’m lazy so I use the mixer.)
Transfer dough to a well-floured surface. Knead dough with your hands for 50 to 75 turns. Be careful that you don’t add too much flour to the dough. Just sprinkle the dough with flour as needed so that it doesn’t stick to your hands.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled, large bowl that will leave plenty of room for the dough to grow. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a tea towel and place it in the warmed oven. Do not turn the oven back on. Insert a wooden spoon or similar object in the oven door to prevent it from closing all the way. This will allow a small amount of the heat to escape. You don’t want to cook the dough but you want to ensure that it is just warm it enough for the dough to rise. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Once it has risen, punch it down, cover it again, and place it back in the oven to repeat the process. You do not need to “reheat” the oven.
Once dough has risen a second time, remove dough from the oven and set it aside while you prepare your baking dishes. Smear a generous amount (about 4 tablespoons per pan) of butter on the bottom and sides of three 8×8 or 9×9 glass baking dishes. You can also use 9×13 baking dishes if that’s what you have. Sprinkle 1/3 cup brown sugar on the bottom of each pan. Set the pans aside.
Divide dough into three equal portions. This makes it easier to roll and will give you uniform-sized buns. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion into a rectangular shape measuring approximately 8 x 12. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of soft butter all over the dough. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon. Beginning on the long side, roll the dough towards the opposite side. Once you reach the other side, pinch the end of the dough to the roll to form a seal. Use a sharp knife to cut straight down in the center of the roll. Cut each half in half again to form 4 equal-sized rolls. Transfer the rolls to the pan, cover with a tea towel and set aside. Repeat on the remaining two portions of dough. Let the buns rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF while buns are resting. Bake each pan for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Once done, remove the buns from the oven and flip the pan over onto a parchment sheet. Let the gooey caramel from the bottom of the dish drip back onto the buns. Let cool.
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