Cinnamon Bubble Buns

For the dough:
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted light butter, melted 
  • 2/3 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
For the cinnamon-sugar coating:
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted light butter, melted
For the vanilla glaze:
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted light butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it stand until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir in the butter, sour cream, sugar, egg and vanilla.  Beat in 2 cups of the flour, salt and baking soda until combined.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour and continue mixing until a smooth, soft dough forms. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface (keep your mixing bowl handy) and knead it until smooth, about 3 minutes.  As you knead, add more flour if the dough is sticky, no more than 2 Tbsp. though.  Place the dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan, then flour the cups and tap out the excess.  In a small bowl, blend the sugar and cinnamon for the coating.  Place the melted butter in a small dish and set aside.  Gently punch down the dough to deflate it.  Form it into a long cylinder and divide it into 12 equal portions.  Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, divide each of the 12 portions into 6 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a ball. 

To make a bun, dip six of the balls in melted butter, then roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Arrange five of the balls in the bottom of the muffin cup.  With your fingertip, make a small well and press the sixth ball in the center.  Repeat with the remaining dough balls.  Loosely cover the buns with plastic wrap and let them rise in a warm place until they're puffy and double in size, about 40 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the buns on the center rack until golden, about 20-22 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack placed over a sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil to cool for about 5 minutes.  Now tilt the pan and gently tap it on the counter to release the buns.  If needed, you can use a knife to release them from the pan.  Place the buns on the wire rack.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the glaze and stir until smooth.  If the glaze is too thick, you can thin it out by adding 1 tsp. water at a time.  Brush each bun with the glaze.  Serve immediately or at room temperature.  Enjoy!