Mom's Cinnamon Buns

With May around the corner many things come to mind. Many have to do with food like fiddleheads, asparagus and wild leeks coming to local markets for everyone to enjoy in their kitchens with family meals. Other things include Mother’s Day and a few family birthdays. It also brings the first long weekend of summer. So many wonderful things truly happen in May.
I was tidying up my kitchen and doing laundry when I started thinking about my mother. With Mother’s day around the corner I started to think about what I might get her or what we might do on that day to celebrate. It also got me to think about other mothers, who are friends, sister in laws, aunts and cousins. We really do appreciate them don’t we? It also reminds me of mothers lost, my mother in law, and my paternal grandmother. It’s not that I don’t think of them often but much more around this time of year. Celebrating their lives and the children and grandchildren and even some great grandchildren they left behind to keep their memories alive. So why all the pondering? Well that’s easy because as I was thinking about all this, I had a fond memory of what my mother used to make often for us as a treat on the weekends or even sometimes she’d sneak in a making of them during the week after dinner. I went into my little notebook that I have had since high school and I know this because my high school friend signed it and that was when I started collecting recipes and also writing some of my own favourites in there as well. So I immediately went down to my bookshelf to find “Mom’s Cinnamon Buns”. Sure enough there it was with just an ingredient list and an oven temperature and time. No method, as I had watched my mother make them often enough I felt I didn’t need one! What a perfect thing to make and share with everyone. I adore cinnamon buns! A real special weekend treat for brunch or to enjoy with friends on the deck with coffee after dinner or an after school snack with a cold glass of milk.
Now I have heard from some people that they would never make cinnamon buns because they have to use yeast. Well here is the best part-no yeast and no waiting! You can have cinnamon buns in under an hour. I know isn’t that cool. Don’t get me wrong I love the fluffy texture of a yeast cinnamon bun, but that was not the recipe that my mom made. I haven’t made them in awhile, so this was a good opportunity to make them and also put a bit of my own spin on it as well. I can’t wait to have my mother try them. So I begin measuring out ingredients, flour, butter, sugar, milk and shortening. The dough for these buns is a biscuit dough and the fat of preference for this biscuit is shortening. Now I thought about changing it to butter, which you could but I didn’t want to go to far off the beaten path, because frankly there was nothing wrong with the ones my mother made. So the shortening stayed, once I went to pick some up. Which as an aside, it now comes in a stick format, so you get 3 “sticks” of shortening in a resealable container. Very easy to use and not to awkward with the thick paper and box it usually comes in.
Now I love the brown sugar and cinnamon combo so I decided to add a bit more gooey to these buns and nestle them in a butter and brown sugar sauce which once baked and turned out would be the top of the cinnamon buns. Oh how decadent! Now while I was telling my husband about it, we talked a bit about icing too, because that is a favourite for some on their cinnamon buns as well. I decided to forgo the icing as the sweetness of the sauce would be enough to coat the buns and add an added touch of sweetness not to mention an almost caramel feel to them.
I really do enjoy cooking and baking. It takes the stress out of my day when I do it for enjoyment. As I work away on recipes for people I sometimes get an overwhelming sense of stress which I would imagine many feel when they have to make dinner for their families. So I get that, as a mother, as a worker and well as a person. All the things I am and many others are as well-including my mother. She helps us out all the time with the kids and with my work and well with just about everything. Her mother did the same and still does as her recent extended trip here showcased her superior cleaning and cooking skills-she still has it! I hope I still have it when I get older too, I know my mom certainly does and all moms do. So if you have a recipe that you had as a child that your mom made and you want to share it with her or your family- go through an old cookbook or perhaps her cookbook and choose one. Whether your mom is here or not, enjoying the foods you shared together will give you a great memory for now and forever.

Mom and Emily’s Quick Cinnamon Buns

These biscuit style cinnamon buns are perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee with mom or any special person on any day you want to sit back and chat about a memory or two. They are best served warmed out of the oven or pop them in the microwave to reheat them before serving.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

½ cup (125 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour
4 tsp (20 mL) baking powder
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
½ cup (125 mL) shortening
2/3 cup (150 mL) milk
½ cup (125 mL) butter, very soft but not melted
½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cinnamon

In small saucepan, melt butter and sugar together, whisking occasionally over medium heat until smooth and combined. Pour into lightly sprayed 8 inch (2 L) baking dish; spread evenly across bottom; set aside.

Dough: In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut shortening into flour using your fingers until mixture is crumbly looking. Drizzle in milk and stir using fork to combine. Bring dough together and knead gently on lightly floured surface to make smooth dough. Roll out dough on floured surface to make a 14 inch (35 cm) square.

Filling: In a bowl, stir together butter, sugar and cinnamon until very smooth. Spread evenly all over dough right to the edges. Roll up dough, jelly roll style and pinch seam along edge. Cut log into 9 equal pieces and place into prepared baking dish.
Bake in 400 F (200 C) oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and sauce is bubbly. Let stand for 3 minutes before turning out onto platter.

Makes 9 buns.

Tips: Depending on what flour you are using, you may need to drizzle a bit more milk into dough or if the dough is too wet knead in a bit of flour. The best thing to do is drizzle the milk in a little at a time and look at the dough and feel the texture to see if it’s holding its shape.

Bake the cinnamon buns in the centre of the oven.

To turn out the cinnamon buns, place a larger serving plate or platter on top of the baking dish and using oven mitts or a heavy tea towel, hold handles and flip both over to turn out cinnamon buns from the pan.

If you leave the cinnamon buns longer in the pan to cool, the sauce will harden a bit and make it a bit more difficult to remove from the pan. You can also line the baking dish with parchment paper if desired to help with removal.


  1. The Redpath Sugar Acts of Sweetness team found your recipe and thought it would be PERFECT to post on our Facebook for mother's day (even if it is a year later). Check out the link to see where we're sharing it with our friends!


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