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For anyone looking to tackle making a giant cinnamon bun, The dough can be made and the bun assembled the night before to then bake in the morning. Just cover it loosely with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge overnight as the cold will slow the rise.Julie Van Rosendaal/The Globe and Mail

There is an explicit joy in everyday objects that exist in unexpected sizes. Fully functioning kitchens created in miniature spark a sense of comfort and whimsy; larger-than-life pastries are similarly riveting, earning prime window space in bakeries and cafés that know the power of social media – and that a single croissant the size of a breadbox is irresistibly Instagrammable.

Enormous sweets are fun conversation pieces, and present an amusing challenge: how to consume an item that usually serves one, scaled to feed eight. (There are no right or wrong answers here.) At home, it’s fun to experiment with supersized cookies, pastries and buns. Make them as big as you like, just bake them longer, checking regularly for indicators of doneness.

While the laminated dough required to make a croissant is more of a serious time commitment, a giant cinnamon bun makes an excellent spring project with a captivating reward at the end. If you want to make the dough and assemble your Big Bun the night before to bake in the morning, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge overnight – the cold will slow the rise.


This recipe is easily doubled if you have more people to feed, or want a spare to share. Or tuck the second bun away in the freezer and thaw/proof overnight when you’re ready to bake it. Keep an eye on the bun as it bakes, and cover loosely with foil if it’s browning too quickly.


  • 3/4 cup warm milk (any kind) or water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 large egg (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, very soft or melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon


  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk or cream (plus extra as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Put the milk or water in a large bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Let it stand for a few minutes, then stir to dissolve. Add the flour, sugar, butter, egg (if you want to leave it out, cut back the flour by about 1/4 cup) and salt and stir by hand or with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer until you have a soft dough. Knead by hand or using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer for about five minutes, or until it’s smooth and elastic – it should still be quite tacky, it will smooth out as it rises. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour or so, until about doubled in size.

In a small bowl, stir together the soft butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough out into a 12x16-inch rectangle, spread with the butter-sugar mixture, and cut lengthwise into four strips. Roll up one of the strips, then move it over to the end of another strip of dough, pinch the ends of the dough together or overlap them slightly (it doesn’t need to be perfect) and continue rolling the strip, adding the remaining two strips, making one giant roll.

Transfer to a buttered or parchment-lined nine-inch round baking dish or ovenproof skillet. Cover and let it rise for another hour, until it’s puffier. (Or cover and refrigerate overnight, then take it out in the morning to warm up as you preheat your oven.)

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the giant roll for 30-40 minutes, checking halfway and covering loosely with foil if it’s browning too quickly, until deep golden and puffed. Whisk together the melted butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla, adding a bit more liquid or sugar as needed so that it has the consistency of heavy cream, and drizzle it over the bun while it’s still warm. Serves 4-6 (or 1).

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