When you walk through a mall and smell cinnamon buns, does it make your knees go weak? We’ve been there. There is something about the aroma and flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar and lots of butter that makes the whole more than a sum of its parts. Put that together with a sticky, chewy, nutty topping and you get an unforgettable experience. This recipe features all of those delectable qualities along with a quick-to-make raisin buttermilk biscuit that has a rich, buttery ripple of cinnamon sugar. That’s right; no yeast, no waiting around for the dough to rise. This is one of my favorite brunch dishes to make and they are best eaten as close to baking time as possible, when the warmth and gooeyness are at their peak. The recipe was inspired by a similar one in Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth (Chronicle 2007) by Jill O’Conner. If you like sweet, be sure to check out the book for her inventive take on desserts.
Image: Peter Muka
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1¼ cups pecan halves, chopped
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup raisins
- 1¾ cups chilled buttermilk, preferably low-fat, not nonfat
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) melted unsalted butter
- For the Topping: Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Generously coat a 13-inch x 9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and place baking pan on top. (There is high boil-over potential with this dish.)
- Heat butter in large saucepan over medium heat. When almost melted, add brown sugar and corn syrup and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes until thickened. Immediately pour into prepared pan and sprinkle nuts evenly over all.
- For the Biscuits: Place flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in stand mixer’s bowl and combine on low speed using flat-paddle attachment. Add butter and pulse on and off until it forms a very coarse meal; there might be pockets of butter that are larger, which is fine. Pulse in raisins. Drizzle in buttermilk with mixer running on low speed and mix just until combined.
- Turn mixture out onto lightly floured work surface and knead very gently, just to bring it together. Divide in half. Pat one half out into a 13-inch x 9-inch rectangle using floured palms.
- For Cinnamon-Sugar Ripple and Assembly: Toss sugar and cinnamon together. Brush biscuit rectangle with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with cinnamon/sugar. Pat remaining biscuit dough out on top with floured palms. Cut out 12 biscuits using a 3-inch round cutter, gently reshaping and pressing scraps together if needed. Place the biscuits over the topping in the prepared pan in a grid, 4 across and 3 down. Place in oven and immediately turn oven down to 400˚F.
- Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is bubbling up between the biscuits and the biscuits are pale golden brown. Place on rack to cool for about 3 minutes. If you have a platter large enough, you can invert the entire pan at once. Otherwise, scoop out one at a time with a spatula and invert on a serving dish. Either way, some topping will be left behind. Just scoop it up and place over the biscuits. If it gets too cool, the topping will overly harden. Simply warm the pan over a burner on low heat until it softens, then scoop out topping. Serve immediately.
- You could cut the biscuits into 12 squares to avoid wasting any biscuit dough and having to reshape any scraps. However, we find the round shape allows the topping to bubble up between the biscuits and create more of the gooey, chewiness that we look for in this recipe.