I like big buns and I cannot lie.
Bourbon Soaked Cherry Cinnamon Buns I mean.
This post was really scheduled for weeks ago as part of a blogger collaboration with the Kentucky Derby as the theme, but I CLEARLY didn’t make it in time to have it up.
Oh well, better late than never!
I wasn’t sure where to start with that theme actually. Our first collaboration was for spring recipes back in March, and I came up with this dreamy asparagus tart. But for this I was a little stumped. I saw a lot of mint julep recipes and pie recipes on Pinterest, but I wanted something different.
Then I saw a recipe for bourbon soaked cherries, and I was intrigued with what I could do with them. First I thought, pie! But then no. Then I thought loaf cake! But then no. Then I thought cinnamon buns. AH YES.
Cinnamon buns were the answer. So I got to work. I soaked the cherries in a mixture of bourbon, vanilla extract, and honey for a few hours, which gave me the time to make my yeast sweet dough. Its the same recipe as my babka but apple juice subbed in for the orange. When I was ready to roll out the dough, I used a classic cinnamon bun filling, and added the cherries to it.
Cut, let rise, and bake, and these babies came fresh out the oven!
To top it off I made a cream cheese icing that uses some of the bourbon mixture as the liquid to give it that extra depth of flavor.
I do have some cherries left over from my experiment but good news is that they last for a long time in the fridge (2-3 months!) and are perfect to add to any baked goods or even cocktails.
Oooh cocktails… *goes to put on fanciest hat to sit outside, drink in hand*
Bourbon Soaked Cherry Cinnamon Buns
- For the cherries:
- 1 8 oz bag dried pitted tart montmorency cherries
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract- Trader Joe’s make a vanilla bourbon extract if you want to go the extra mile!
- 2 tablespoons honey
- For the cinnamon buns:
- 8 oz. milk or milk alternative warmed but not boiling
- 2 packets of Active Dry Yeast ¼ oz each or about 4 1/2 teaspoons
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons apple juice
- 5-5 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup butter or Earth Balance at room temperature
- For the filling:
- ⅓ cup butter or Earth Balance melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- Handful or more of the soaked cherries drained
- For the cream cheese frosting:
- ½ cup cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 2.5 cups confectioners sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons bourbon mix from the cherry mixture
- Pinch of salt
- Prepare the cherries.
- In a 16oz. Mason jar combine the cherries, bourbon, vanilla extract, and honey.
- Shake well and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon bun dough.
- In a large microwaveable bowl, heat the milk for 1 minute- 30 seconds at a time. If you are using a mixer, heat the milk in a measuring cup and transfer it to the mixing bowl. Add in the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
- Add in the sugar, eggs, and apple juice, and gently mix to combine. Start adding in the flour one cup at a time, mixing as you go. If you find the dough is coming together nicely after the 5th cup, then you can stop there. If it is still a little sticky, add the extra half cup of flour.
- Add in the salt in the last cup of flour and mix or knead until incorporated.
- Add in the butter or Earth Balance and mix again until incorporated evenly.
- Continue mixing or kneading for 5-6 minutes, you may have to sprinkle some flour on your work surface so that the dough doesnt stick. The dough is ready when it is no longer sticking to the surface and it is smooth and uniform throughout.
- Place the dough back in the bowl used for mixing if you were kneading by hand. Pour 1 tsp oil around the dough and cover the bowl with a fresh tea towel. Leave it to rise for at least 1 hour in a warm spot or place in the fridge overnight.
- When the dough has doubled in size, roll it out on a floured surface into a 18”x22” rectangle. It doesnt have to be perfect, no worries.
- Melt the butter for the filling and brush it around the dough leaving a 1” border.
- Sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and as many cherries as you like.
- Now starting from the long side, the side closest to you, start rolling the dough all the way up to the top border. It should now look like a log.
- Slice the log into 1” slices and place in a 9x13 tin or oven to table dish.
- Leave them to rise again for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F, then bake the buns for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
- Prepare the cream cheese frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and butter and mix on low-medium speed for 1 minute.
- Add in the confectioners sugar, bourbon, and salt and mix again until evenly incorporated.
- Frost the cinnamon buns when they are cool and enjoy!