These are pretty simple yeast dough cinnamon buns. They make a really fun family activity! Tedd's mom makes these with the family ever-so-often and just about everyone gets their hands dirty with the rolling, slathering, and sprinkling action. The following recipe isn't the famous McDonnell family recipe, but a darn good substitute until we're able to travel home for the real deal!
For the dough, I used this recipe. Follow the instructions (double it if you're feeding a crowd) to make the dough, letting it rise and punching it down, but instead of rolling them to make dinner rolls, do the following...
Roll the dough out into a rectangle onto a large, lightly floured, workspace. The thickness should be about a 1/4"-1/2" thick. For mini cinnamon buns, make three or four smaller rectangles in order to keep the buns smaller in diameter.
Melt a 1/2 stick of butter in a mug (you may need more, but this will get you going).
Prep a cast iron skillet, brushing the inside of it with a generous amount of butter, then sprinkle about 1/4c of brown sugar over the bottom (and pecans or walnuts if you like those too)!
Then slather butter all over your dough rectangles, followed by your cinnamon bun "guts" - a thick layer of brown sugar and then a sprinkled layer of cinnamon, plus raisins or nuts if you want those as well. Don't forget the edges - they have feelings, too!
Now it's time to roll those buns. Roll the rectangles lengthwise into long dough logs, very tightly & evenly. Think of the sleeping bag that never fits the first time into that tee-ninesey little bag that it came with...roll it up like that.
Then take a knife or better yet, a bench scraper!, and slice the "logs" into discs, like this.
Then arrange the buns in the cast iron skillet, starting with one in the center and working your way out (like a flower) to the edges. Brush on more butter and cover with a damp clean towel to let them rise again.
Once they've risen for about an hour, bake them at 375 degrees until golden brown. Then carefully flip them out of the pan and onto a large plate. You'll have a beautiful browned cinnamon bun "flower." I forgot to get a picture of the final project!
When you dump them upside down onto a plate, there should be gooey melted sugar & butter running down the sides of the buns and they'll be golden :) To see the final product...go make them!