Category Archives: Sweet Rolls

Lemon Morning Buns

Lemon Morning Buns

If you’re searching for a way to brighten up your weekend, look no further than these Lemon Morning Buns. They’re glossy, golden, gorgeous and swirled with fresh lemon flavor throughout.

Lemon Morning Buns

This is my third morning buns recipe, and there’s a reason I keep returning to them: I get a lot of bang for my baking buck. Though these twisty little guys look like they take some real skill, the truth is that if you can make cinnamon rolls and tie a knot, you can make morning buns.

I’ve posted detailed shaping tutorials previously and will link to them in the recipe below, but rest assured that these buns really are simple beginning to end. The entire recipe has just 8 ingredients with several being used in multiple places. The dough is enriched with butter, egg and whole milk, and is a pleasure to work with; it’s smooth and sticky and kneads like a dream. Let it rise for 45 minutes or so, then layer it with a lemon-sugar filling and twist it into knots. Let them rise a little more, then bake and brush with a lemon glaze, leaving them shiny and a little sticky. Oh, and bursting with buttery lemon flavor.

Lemon Morning Buns

These Lemon Morning Buns are a great way to put a little sunshine in your weekend. Between their fluffy texture and intense lemon flavor, they’re guaranteed to brighten your day.

Lemon Morning Buns
Lemon Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1 1/2 medium lemons)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Make the dough. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together. A shaggy dough should form and be pulling away from the bowl. Gradually add flour in 2 tablespoon increments until the it pulls away a bit.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine sugar, lemon zest and salt in a small bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release the oils in the zest.

**Shaping photo tutorial here!**

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18x12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Mentally divide the dough into thirds, like an unfolded letter. Place half the sugar mixture in the middle third of the dough—it’ll be a 12x6-inch section surrounded by two buttered sections of the same size.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12x12-inches. Brush the top of the folded section with more butter and scatter on the remaining sugar mixture. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12x6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14x8-inches.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I put 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with parchment or a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove parchment/tea towel. The buns will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place oven racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 9 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 8-9 minutes, or until golden brown.

While Buns are baking, make the glaze. Combine lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Brush warm buns with glaze. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Baked buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}​

Coming from a Christmas morning breakfast casserole family, I’ve never really understood why so many people make cinnamon rolls on that day of all days.

I mean, have you made cinnamon rolls from scratch? They are not a quick recipe, clocking in at a minimum of three hours start-to-finish (slightly less if you do the rise overnight). My family is all adults so we start our Christmas morning at a leisurely 9am, eat around 10, then get to the gifts around noon. If we wanted cinnamon rolls for breakfast, that would require the baker (me!) to be up and functioning at 7am. Big no thank you. And if you have kids or people who get up for gifts at 6am or earlier…3am? Earlier? Forget it!

But what if I told you that you could have warm, fluffy, homemade cinnamon rolls on your table on Christmas morning in under an hour? Yes, it’s possible, thanks to a little technique called par-baking.

You’ve definitely heard the term “par-baking” on here before in association with pie crust. It means to partially bake, which is exactly what we’re going to do to these rolls: partially bake them ahead of time, then finish the baking on Christmas. This method will work with any yeast-raised cinnamon roll recipe you love. I wouldn’t recommend this method for any rolls with fruit in the filling (i.e. not these) as it might degrade during thawing, but I think nuts would be okay.

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}​

Now, this isn’t a magic trick. You do have to plan ahead to do about 2.5 hours of mixing/kneading/rolling/rising at some point to make this work. But (but!) the bulk of the work can be done anytime between now and Christmas (or whenever you want cinnamon rolls).

The process is simple. Make your cinnamon roll recipe up to the baking step, then bake for about half the baking time (15 minutes). At this point, your rolls should be risen, puffed and pale. Where you would normally continue baking them until brown, resist that urge and remove them from the oven.

Let your rolls cool to room temperature and then triple wrap in plastic, cover in foil and freeze until the night before you need them. If you don’t want to have your 9×13” pan out of commission for any length of time, you can bake in a disposable aluminum baking pan, then tuck it into your freezer for up to six weeks.

The night before you want cinnamon rolls, move the par-baked rolls from your freezer to your fridge to thaw out. In the morning, simply uncover and bake your rolls for the remaining 15 minutes, until golden. Finish with cream cheese frosting and voila! Fresh homemade cinnamon rolls on your table in under an hour, and you didn’t have to sacrifice sleep to make it happen.

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}​

Call it Christmas magic. Call it whatever you want. Just call me for breakfast.

Par-baked Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Dana Velden

cinnamon roll recipe of choice
9x13-inch baking pan (disposable aluminum, if desired)

Follow your yeast-raised cinnamon roll recipe up to the baking step.

Preheat your oven to 375F. Bake cinnamon rolls for 10-15 minutes, until risen, puffed and pale.

Remove cinnamon rolls from the oven and allow to cool completely in their pan on a rack. Triple wrap the pan in plastic wrap, then wrap in foil. Freeze for up to 6 weeks.

The night before you want cinnamon rolls, move the pan of frozen rolls to the refrigerator. Let thaw 8-12 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Unwrap rolls; discard foil and plastic wrap.

Bake rolls for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Top with cream cheese frosting (or whatever your recipe says) and serve warm.

Friday Favorites: Apples

Friday Favorites: Apples​

It’s apple season and I am here for it! They were littered everywhere when we were leaving Maine a couple of weeks ago, and it took everything in me not to scoop them up and bring them home to bake! While I wouldn’t trust apples growing in NYC parks (much less on the ground), I definitely trust the ones at the markets! Whether they’re tucked into a pie, folded into a buttery cake batter, or rolled up in yeast dough, baking with apples is one surefire way to get in the seasonal spirit! Here are a few of my favorite apple recipes from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Cranberry Apple Pie

This recipe is from the first few weeks of this blog’s existence, but I remade it last year (she needed some Glamourshots), and I’m here to tell you: it’s SO delicious. Sweet and tart and perfectly spiced, this is one to make when cranberries start showing up in a few weeks!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple & Pear Galette

I love pie, but the ease of galettes wins me over every time! Here apples and ripe pears are nestled into a rustic free form pie crust. It’s a perfect autumnal dessert if I’ve ever had one!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Want the flavors of apple pie for breakfast? Make yourself some Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls! These were my second post ever, and having remade them for a photoshoot recently, I can confirm that they still make all my apple pie breakfast dreams come true.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Turnovers

I love turnovers! They’re like pop tarts for grown ups. This apple version is made with my go-to rough puff pastry and folded on the bias for the flakiest little triangles of apple goodness you’ve ever had.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

French Apple Cake

This is easily the most popular recipe on this blog, and for good reason. Its pure, buttery cake base and chunks of soft apple have no pie spices to detract from their balance of flavors. I clearly love apple pie things, but this simple favorite is something really special.

What’s your favorite way to bake with apples? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Wherever you are this week, I hope you’re safe, warm, and have enough to eat!Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsWhen I was a kid, I had a friend whose mom hated to cook except for Saturday breakfast. A lot of the meals I ate with this family were takeout, but come the weekend, there were eggs and bacon, orange juice, blueberry muffins, and cinnamon rolls from one of those cans you have to thwack against the edge of your countertop. Little me thought it was the best ever (Puff Pancakes obviously excepted).Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsI had one complaint though, because of course I did. Every once in a while the cinnamon rolls would be the orange kind, and while everyone in that family loved them, I deeply did not. I kept my mouth shut—#manners—but I hated them. In fact, I still do, but only because I hate fake orange flavoring.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsTurns out, I love Orange Cinnamon Rolls made with real fresh oranges. Like really, really love them. I mean, what’s not to love about fluffy, buttery, orangey cinnamon rolls?!Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsI’m over the moon for these, y’all. There’s orange zest in the dough and cinnamon filling, and orange juice in the glaze and the icing! Yes, you read that correctly, these babies have a glaze *and* an icing! I did this on last year’s Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls for maximum citrus flavor, and it works just as well here. Fresh orange flavor alllll over the place.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsJust after you pull your rolls from the oven, paint them with the orange glaze so they get glossy and soak up all that sticky orange flavor. Let that absorb for a few minutes and then hit them with a simple orange icing. This goes without saying, but yes, you can double it.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsAnd then, well, you know what to do.Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

I recommend having 3 large (or 4-5 medium) oranges on hand before beginning this recipe. Better to have too many than too few.

Dough:
2 3/4-3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
2 tablespoons orange zest (about 1 large navel orange)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large navel orange)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Icing:
1 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (most of 1 large navel orange)

Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish or rimmed baking pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 110F. Stir in orange zest.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold milk mixture into dry ingredients, followed by beaten eggs. Add more all-purpose flour in 2 tablespoon increments until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Flour a surface and your hands. Knead dough 5-6 minutes until smooth, then form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes (you may do this in a bowl, but I just do this on my surface).

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and butter, until completely combined. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or the back of a spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, keeping a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge closest to your body, tightly roll filled dough away from you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 27), tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

While rolls are baking, make the glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to stir together orange juice and sugar. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the sugar has dissolved (45-60 seconds total).

Remove rolls from the oven. Let cool 1-2 minutes, then use a pastry brush to paint glaze all over all exposed pastry. Use all glaze. Let sit 5 minutes while you make the icing.

Make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Add more juice by the teaspoon (up to 3 teaspoons) until icing is thick, but pourable.

Spoon/pour icing over the rolls and use an offset icing knife or the back of a spoon to spread icing over the rolls as desired. Serve.

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls re best served the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for a day or so.

Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Friday Favorites: 2020

Friday Favorites: 2020Happy New Year! This post is coming at you from the recent past—December 29th—so I hope no new terrible things have happened between then and this posting. 2020 was such a weird year. It started off okay, but quickly devolved to…well, whatever this is. I, for one, am hoping for hope in 2021.

As a preface to this list, I wrote three paragraphs about the events of last year (staying at home, flour shortage, bread, people learning to bake, blah blah blah) and then deleted them because, you know, you were there. It was a year where nearly everything changed, but at least one thing remained the same: I was here, baking in Brooklyn. Here are some of my personal favorite recipes from 2020.Friday Favorites: 2020
Mini Layer Cakes

There weren’t many layer cakes on here in 2020, but the ones that made the cut were teensy—just enough for 4-6 servings. Perfect for a pandemic, right?!Friday Favorites: 2020
Pecan Sandies

Buttery shortbread is difficult to beat for ease and pure deliciousness, but adding in a hefty dose of toasted pecans (and nostalgia) never hurt anything.Friday Favorites: 2020
Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

I got a little homesick around my birthday this year, so I made a Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}, which happens to be a Fort Worth favorite. You won’t find chocolate sponge or cherries in this recipe, but if you are into light-as-air almond dacquoise, whipped cream, dark chocolate and the best kind of chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag), you are in for a treat. Did I mention it’s naturally gluten-free?Friday Favorites: 2020
“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta} requires a whole lot of egg whites, which means you’ll have a whole lot of leftover yolks…which means you should make some “I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies. To put it plainly, they’re simply the best chewy chocolate chip cookies to ever come out of my kitchen.Friday Favorites: 2020
Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, this was a year with two chocolate chip cookie recipes. These crispy, crunchy ones were a long time coming, and were they ever worth the wait!Friday Favorites: 2020
Funfetti Cookie Cupcakes

Rainbow sprinkles and cookie cake are two of my favorite things. Put them together and make them mini? How can I resist?!Friday Favorites: 2020
Buttermilk Pancakes

Perfect fluffy pancakes eluded me for years, but not anymore! These are really good and really easy. Oh, and those golden tops? They’re easier to achieve than I ever thought possible.Friday Favorites: 2020
Chocolate Quinoa Cake {Gluten-Free}

One of my biggest accomplishments this year was staying sober through…everything. While I normally don’t celebrate my sobriety date on here, it seemed important to publicly acknowledge it during a time of so much struggle. When I hit seven years in April, I celebrated at home with this Chocolate Quinoa Cake. It’s made with an easy blender batter, is naturally gluten-free, and absolutely delicious with a blanket of chocolate buttercream.Friday Favorites: 2020
Homemade Chocolate Shell

Making my own ice cream toppings is one of my favorite warm weather pastimes. This two ingredient Homemade Chocolate Shell has appeared on this blog many times over the years, but 2020 was when it finally got its moment to shine.Friday Favorites: 2020
Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

I brought in 2020 eating Almond Boterkoek on my friend, David’s couch. Eight weeks later (to the day!), I figured out the recipe for myself. It’s a simple cake, perfect for any occasion, including saying goodbye to our weirdest year on record.Friday Favorites: 2020
Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Brown Butter. Nutella Swirl. Muffins.

Need I say more?Friday Favorites: 2020
Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Imagine biting into pure sunshine, but with butter and icing. That’s what these are like.Friday Favorites: 2020
Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

These sweet, tart, teeny-tiny cookies are filled with a homemade ruby red grapefruit curd. So, so good. I cannot say this more explicitly: you must make these. Must.Friday Favorites: 2020
Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}

Puff Pancakes are my favorite weekend breakfast of all time, and making them whole grain and gluten-free? Well, that makes them even better.Friday Favorites: 2020
Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside waffles made without flour or animal products? You better believe it!Friday Favorites: 2020
Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Speaking of making things vegan and gluten-free, finally making a Gingerbread Cake for my friend, VJ, was a great way to end the year. It’s dark, perfectly-spiced, and slightly sticky. It might just be the only Gingerbread Cake recipe you’ll ever need.Friday Favorites: 2020
Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’mores

If you’ve been here a while, you know I love to sing the praises of sweetened condensed milk—that stuff can do anything, including make a spreadable pumpkin pie filling for everything from toast to s’mores.Friday Favorites: 2020
Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Back when the pandemic began and shelves were empty, I threw my plans out the window and baked and blogged exclusively from what I already had on hand. These Cream Biscuit Sticky Buns were one of the results—a mash-up of two of my favorite things.Friday Favorites: 2020
Maple Sugar Cookies

These little sugar cookies have huge maple flavor. Made with brown butter, brown sugar and a double dose of pure maple syrup, they’re impossible to resist.Friday Favorites: 2020
Cocoa Brownies

I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention that this blog turned five years old in 2020! It was a highlight of my year, as was celebrating with the Cocoa Brownies from my first post. They’re easy, fudgy and so, so good.

Have you made any of these recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: 2020