Buttery, flakey, and decadent. These morning buns are made with laminated croissant dough and tossed in orange scented cinnamon sugar.
Cinnamon Sugar Morning Buns
Morning buns should not be allowed for breakfast.
They’re so rich and buttery, and oh so sugary.
But then again, it’s usually the bad things that we can’t get enough of.
I’m not going to sugar coat it. These morning buns take a lot of work, dedication, and patience.
However, if you do decide to make homemade from-scratch morning buns, this version is definitely worth the effort.
Nothing taste sweeter and more satisfying than producing something so delicious with your hands!
As I’ve mentioned, these morning buns are RICH. See those buttery, flaky layers?
One morning bun will definitely set you up for the ultimate sugar rush and sugar crash. I still say it’s worth it!
What is laminated dough?
Also known as rolled-in dough, laminated dough is a technique that creates alternating layers of fat and dough through a series of folds.
Laminated doughs are best known for croissants and puff pastry.
The layers of fat and dough create the wonderfully textured layers when baked in a high temperature oven.
As the fat (butter) melts and steams in the oven, the dough layers become crisp and distinct.
American Butter vs European Butter
The butter manufactured in the United States are required to have a minimum butterfat content of 80%. Whereas, European style butter has a minimum of 82% butterfat (often higher).
The higher the butterfat content, the silkier and creamier the butter.
Traditional croissants and puff pastry dough require the use of European style butter. (The most popular brand is Plugra butter.)
For this morning buns dough recipe, I used standard American unsalted sweet cream butter. It’s just the run of the mill unsalted butter you’d find at your local supermarket.
Butter Block & The Envelope Fold
There are several ways to laminate the butter into the dough.
For this recipe, I’m using “the envelope fold.”
As the name suggests, the block of butter is folded into the dough like an envelope.
- Roll dough to the appropriate size to accommodate the butter block.
- Place butter in center of rolled dough.
- Fold the corners of the dough over the butter covering it completely like an envelope.
- Roll over the dough to close seams shut.
The Letter Fold
Once the butter has securely been fold into the dough, it’s time to create all those lovely layers.
- Roll the dough into a rectangular.
- Fold into thirds like a letter.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold into thirds like a letter once again.
- This folding process is repeated several times.
In between folds, the dough rests in the fridge.
Yeast doughs need time to relax.
The gluten in the dough becomes tighter as the dough is pulled and stretched and folded.
Resting allows the gluten to relax, making the dough easier to roll out.
Once the dough has been folded enough times, it is ready to be filled.
Fill the morning buns with orange zest cinnamon sugar. Then, roll them up like cinnamon rolls.
Cut the log into 12 equal portions and set in a giant 6-cup muffin tins.
Rest and rise the dough. They are ready for baking once the dough has puffed up.
The warm morning buns are lightly brushed with melted butter and tossed in additional orange cinnamon sugar after baking.
It doesn’t get any richer or sweeter than this.
Morning buns are the ultimate layered pastry. Dare I say, even tastier than a croissant!
Not ready to try out laminated doughs? How about trying a simple yeasted dough to gain some courage!
- 1 cup whole milk (227 g)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast (7 g)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (68 g)
- 4 cup + 1 ½ Tbsp bread flour (520 g)
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt (9 g)
- 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter (43 g)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold (226 g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 g)
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed (53 g)
- 1 ½ Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- finely grated zest from one orange
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted/softened (85 g)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together warm milk, egg, egg yolk, instant yeast, and sugar.
- Attach dough hook to stand mixer. Add flour and salt to mixing bowl. Beat until dough starts to form. With the mixing running on low speed, add softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Once all the butter has been added, increase to medium speed and knead until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl, about 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer dough to a large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours until doubled in size. Meanwhile, prepare butter block.
- Punch down risen dough. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a small rolling pin, or the palm of your hands, to gently shape dough to a rectangle about 10×8-inches. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Tightly cover dough with plastic wrap. Let chill in the fridge overnight.
- Trace a 8×11 inch rectangle on a parchment paper, turn paper over. Slice butter into tablespoons and arrange within traced rectangle. Cover butter with a second sheet of parchment paper. Use a small rolling pin to beat butter pliable. Use a bench scraper to scoop up butter that goes beyond the 8×11 inch rectangle. Keep beating and reshaping until flat rectangle block is achieved. Cover butter with parchment paper and plastic wrap. Keep chilled overnight in the fridge on a flat surface.
- Remove butter block from fridge. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to slightly softened. Meanwhile, place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll dough to a 16 x 12 inch rectangle.
- Place butter block in center of rolled dough, making sure the edges of the butter block are perpendicular to edges of dough. Fold the dough over the butter block like an envelope. Using a rolling pin, press firmly onto the seams of dough to seal. Roll dough to a 16 x 12- inch rectangle.
- Turn dough 90 degrees and fold into thirds like a letter. Turn dough another 90 degrees and fold into thirds. Flatten with roll pin. Tightly cover dough and place in the fridge. Allow dough to rest for 1 hour to 90 minutes.
- Place dough back on floured surface. Roll dough to a 16×12-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds. Turn dough 90 degrees and fold into thirds again. Return to fridge for 1 hour to 90 minutes.
- Place dough back on floured surface. Roll to a 16×12-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds. Turn 90 degrees and fold into thirds for the last time. Return to fridge for another 1 hour, or overnight.
Assembly and Baking:
- Brush two giant 6-cup muffin tins with about 1 ½ tablespoon melted butter. Coat with granulated sugar. Tap out excess sugar. Set aside.
- To making filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, and salt. Cover and set aside.
- Allow dough to rest for 5-10 minutes at room temperature. Place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll dough to an 18×12-inch rectangle. Brush 3 tablespoons melted (or softened) butter over dough surface. Sprinkle 1 cup of filling mixture over dough. Reserve remaining filling mixture and set aside.
- Starting at the long end, roll dough into a tight log. Slice log into 12 equal portions. Place rolls in prepared sugar muffin tin. Cover and let rolls rest at room temperature for 45-60 minutes until rolls are puffy and have expanded.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Uncover risen rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes until deep golden brown, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.
- Let buns to cool in tin for 8-10 minutes until cool enough to handle. Invert into wire rack. Lightly brush individual buns with remaining melted butter. Toss in remaining sugar mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- If using dry active yeast, whisk together warm milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let mixture stand for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and bubbly. Then proceed with remaining ingredients.
- I used two of these 6-cup giant muffin tins to bake these sticky buns.
Tips and Notes on Laminated Dough:
- Laminated doughs take time and patience. Spread out dough process over several days to make it easier.
- Make initial dough and butter block on Day 1.
- Add butter block to initial dough on Day 2.
- Do all the folds on Day 3.
- Bake on Day 4.
- It is important to allow the dough to rest between folds. The gluten needs to time to relax. If you try to roll and fold overworked dough, the tight gluten will cause the dough to seize up. It will be VERY difficult to roll out.
- Dough must be well covered with plastic wrap when chilling in the fridge. This will prevent dough from drying out or creating an unwanted “elephant skin.”
- Work on a well floured surface. You don’t want the dough you spent hours working on to get stuck to the work surface and expose the butter.
- If dough is difficult to roll out or work with, it simply means it needs time to rest. Cover dough and let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before trying again.
Reader Questions and Reviews
These really look delicious! I’ve never made laminated dough before but may be giving it a try thanks to your recipe!
where do you put the 1/3 cup sugar in the dough? I mixed it with the flour and salt
Hi Joan! Thank you for pointing that out. The sugar can be mixed in either with the yeast or the flour/salt. I have updated the recipe. Thank you again for catching that!
They turned out PERFECT! the directions were amazing. I miss the French bakery in New Orleans where I would get Morning Buns, and now I can have them in Indiana! Thank you!!
THANKS MARYANNE – THEY WERE FANTASTIC!!!
That’s wonderful to hear! Glad you enjoyed them!
I just tried this recipe (and dough lamination) for the first time, everything worked out perfectly except that when I baked the buns, the outsides became VERY caramelised and a little hard and bitter, do you know what I might have done wrong? Every layer underneath was absolutely to die for so I’ll definitely be making these again! Thank you!
Perhaps the oven temperature was too hot, causing the outside dough to cook much faster. I suggest keeping a thermometer inside the oven. This will ensure correct temps. Depending on where you place the thermometer, you can see if your oven has “hot spots.”
Hi Maryanne, can I save half of the dough for a week in the fridge for future use?
No, you shouldn’t store the dough in the fridge for that long. If you’d like to have the morning buns for future use, I suggest you: 1.) Freeze cooled buns tightly in plastic wrap (up to two weeks). Defrost overnight and refresh/reheat the oven until warm or 2.) freeze the laminated dough (up to two weeks). Defrost overnight and then proceed with assembly and baking.
Can I use a 12-cup muffin pan for this recipe? What would the baking time be? Thanks
You will have to use two 12-cup muffin tins. The dough will make about 20-22 standard muffin tin portions. I would bake it for 20-25 minutes until deep golden brown.
I am in the middle of preparing this recipe. Reading ahead, instructions say to add 1 cup of filling to the rolled out dough. The remainder is used as the final step. However, the filling ingredients total only a little over 3/4 cup. Am I misunderstanding? Does the “unpacked” brown sugar increase the volume of the filling? Thank you.
Hi what number / which stage do I do on day 2? (It says in tips to take 4 days, combining dough and butter block together on day 2) but is that just instruction number 1 of the dough lamination then leave in fridge for another night?
Day one- make the dough up to step 2. Then, transfer to fridge overnight. Day two- punch down dough and add butter block.
Is it possible to prepare the buns the night before and allow them to rest in the fridge overnight before baking?