How to Make Cinnamon Bun Turkeys

These morning treats are just begging you to gobble them up (they're turkeys, after all!).

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Copyright 2015

Birds of a (Bacon) Feather

Dinner is the star of Thanksgiving, but these cinnamon bun turkeys just might steal the spotlight at brunch time. Get the detailed recipe for the cheeky birds here, and follow along with these helpful photos to nail every step.

Photography by Matt Armendariz

Get the Recipe: Cinnamon Bun Turkeys

Mix the Dough

Our turkeys might look silly, but our cinnamon bun recipe is seriously delicious. The technique for making the dough starts as the recipes for many baked goods do: Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in a yeasty wet mixture and stir to combine. Find the exact ingredients in the full recipe.

Knead the Dough

Once the dry and wet ingredients are fully combined, the dough should be thick and slightly sticky. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead it until it is elastic, about 6 minutes. Then shape it into a ball.

Let the Dough Rise

Brush a large bowl with butter, and place the dough inside, turning to coat lightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and trace a circle the size of the dough on the plastic. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size (the circle helps you eyeball it), about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out of the bowl, knead briefly once more, re-form into a ball and return to the bowl. Lightly butter a large piece of plastic wrap and lay it on the dough. Cover the entire bowl tightly with the plastic and allow the dough to proof in the refrigerator for 4 hours or up to overnight.

Pinch a Little Off

Before you roll out the dough to start shaping the buns, cut off a 3-inch ball (about 5 ounces) and set it aside (you'll use it later to make the turkey heads).

Roll Out the Dough and Add Filling

Turn the remaining dough onto a floured work surface and press flat. Roll into an 18-by-10-inch rectangle, with a long edge facing you. Spread softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving about a 1-inch border on the side opposite you. Evenly scatter cinnamon sugar (refer to the recipe for exact measurements) over the butter.

Roll It All Up

Starting from the long side facing you, roll the dough up into a tight cylinder. Lightly brush the clean edge of the dough with water. Press this edge against the cylinder to seal.

Slice Into Buns

Our trick to getting perfectly sliced, not-smushed buns? Dental floss! Slip a long, taut piece of string or unflavored dental floss under the roll of dough, about 1 1/2 inches from the end. Lift and cross the string ends over the dough, and then pull the ends tightly in opposite directions to cut a single roll.

Repeat, cutting every 1 1/2 inches, to make 12 rolls. Place the rolls in a buttered pan, leaving 1 inch of space between them. Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until they double in size, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Form the Turkey Heads

Turn your attention back to that extra bit of reserved dough, and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 3/4-inch ball and set them aside in a separate dish. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until they double in size, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Finish the Turkey Heads

Using kitchen shears pointing diagonally upward, make a horizontal snip halfway through the front of each ball of dough to form a pointy beak. Pull the beak down a bit to exaggerate the shape. Place a pecan half halfway inside each snip under the beak to form a "wattle." Place two currants above the beak for eyes; press lightly to secure. 

Bake the Buns

Place a dough head on top of the lower left-hand corner of each roll and you've got turkeys!

Bake the buns on your oven's center rack at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. When they're done, they should be golden-brown and the tops of the buns should spring back when pressed lightly.

Top with Glaze

Confectioners' sugar, condensed milk, butter and vanilla come together to make a thick, smooth icing (refer to the recipe for exact instructions). When the buns come out of the oven, cool them in the pan for 10 minutes. Drizzle the glaze evenly over all of the turkeys' bun bodies (but not the heads).

Finish with Bacon "Feathers"

Slice 24 strips of cooked thick-cut bacon in half crosswise. Remove each bun from the pan, and insert four half-strips of bacon into the backmost cinnamon swirl so that they form an upright fanned turkey tail. Gobble, gobble!