If you love cinnamon buns, you'll love these gluten free morning buns! Soft tender yeasted buns filled with cinnamon sugar, they're just like the morning buns at Starbucks—but safely gluten free.
I don't know about you, but I didn't feel like staring at morning buns longingly in the glass case at Starbucks for one. more. minute. Everyone has their limit!
In that very glass case at Starbucks, their morning buns are sprinkled with what looks like a glaze, and then some sugar crystals. But I have always thought that they really called out for a vanilla cream cheese glaze. So I went for it.
Whenever possible, if I am adding citrus zest to a recipe that also has granulated sugar, I really like to process the zest with the sugar before adding it. It releases allll of the essential oils in the zest right into the sugar, and you never, ever have to be bothered with big pieces of zest showing up in a tender bite of morning bun.
If you think these little buns are hard to make, remember the gluten free braided Nutella bread. So many of you have told me on Facebook and by email that you feared the braided bread, but you jumped in with both feet—and found sweet success. It's easy! Just trust the process. Trust me! I've got your back.
They really are so pretty that it's almost a shame to cover them with that glaze…
But I did it anyway! And if you make these for Mother's Day, you win. If someone else makes these for Mother's Day and you get to just sit and enjoy one, you hit the jackpot!
Starbucks-Style Gluten Free Morning Buns
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
3 cups (420 g) Gluten Free Bread Flour*, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (3 g) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt
2/3 cup (5 1/3 fluid ounces) warm milk (about 95°F)
2 eggs (120 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup (164 g) packed light brown sugar, mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Egg wash, for brushing (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten well)
1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (can replace with 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
Warm water by the half-teaspoon, as necessary
*BREAD FLOUR NOTES
- 1 cup (140 g) Gluten Free Bread Flour, as discussed more fully on pages 8 to 10 of GFOAS Bakes Bread, contains 100 grams Mock Better Batter all purpose gluten free flour (or Better Batter itself) + 25 grams whey protein isolate (I use NOW Foods brand) + 15 grams Expandex modified tapioca starch.
- For a calculator that helps you build the flour without math, please see my Gluten Free Flour page.
- If you would like to use Ultratex 3 in place of Expandex, please see #6 on my Resources page for instructions.
In a blender or food processor, place the orange zest and sugar, and process until combined and very fragrant. In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the flour, cream of tartar, ground cinnamon and instant yeast, and use a handheld whisk to combine well. Add the salt and whisk to combine well. Add the sugar with the orange zest, and then the milk, eggs and butter, and mix on low speed with the dough hook until combined. Raise the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough is a lovely, smooth, enriched dough. It climbs up the dough hook during kneading but remains intact and smooth. Spray a silicone spatula lightly with cooking oil spray, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or proofing bucket large enough for the dough to rise to double its size, spray the top of the dough with cooking oil spray, and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap (or the oiled top to your proofing bucket). Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.**
**Note: If you prefer, you may make and use this dough on the same day. It will not be as easy to handle, however, but you can work with it. To use the dough the same day it is made, after making the dough, set the covered dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment to allow it to rise to double its size (about 1 hour). Once it has doubled, place it in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or until it is chilled. This will make it much easier to handle. Then, continue with the rest of the recipe instructions.
Preparing the dough for shaping. On baking day, line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper, and set it aside. Turn out the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and, using the scrape and fold kneading method and using a very light touch, sprinkle the dough with more flour and knead it lightly, sprinkling with flour when necessary to prevent it from sticking, scrape the dough off the floured surface with a floured bench scraper, then fold it over on itself. Repeat scraping and folding until the dough has become smoother. Do not overwork the dough or you will incorporate too much flour and it will not rise properly.
Shaping/filling the dough + the final rise. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into two equal portions. Cover one lightly with a moist tea towel to prevent it from drying out while you shape the other. Pat the remaining half of dough into a thick rectangle (about 1 inch thick), and transfer to a lightly greased piece of unbleached parchment paper. On the parchment paper, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick, and 8-inches wide x 10-inches high, sprinkling very lightly with more bread flour as necessary to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the top of the dough. Dust off any excess flour from the surface of the rectangle facing up, and brush the melted butter in an even layer on top, covering the entire surface. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture for the filling in an even layer on top of the melted butter, and press gently to help the sugar mixture adhere to the dough. Using a pizza or pastry cutter or a very sharp knife and starting at a short side, slice the rectangle into 4 equal strips, each 2-inches wide (and 10-inches long). Starting at a short side, roll each strip into a tight coil. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, placing each coil of dough 3-inches apart from the others. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough, making 4 more coils. Using the palm of your hand, press down firmly on each coil, one a time, until it is compressed into a flat disk, about 1-inch high. Cover the baking sheet with a piece of oiled plastic wrap, and place in warm, draft-free location to rise only until the buns are just beginning to swell (about 30 minutes, but it could be more if your rising environment is particularly cold and/or dry). Do not overproof.
Bake. As the dough is in its final rise, preheat your oven to 350°F. Once the dough has finished rising, uncover it, brush the surface of each bun evenly with the egg wash, and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the buns are lightly golden brown all over. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Make the glaze. In a small bowl, place about 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and the cream cheese, and mix well. The mixture will be thick. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla seeds, and mix well to combine. The mixture should be smooth and thickly pourable. Add warm water by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to reach the desired consistency. It is easier to thin than to thicken icing, so proceed carefully. Spread the vanilla glaze on the cooled buns and serve at room temperature.
Adapted from the recipe for Cinnamon Rolls on page 166 of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread.