sugar buns

Sugar Buns

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I learned about sugar buns by becoming so addicted to Starbuck’s morning buns that I had to learn to make my own. However, Starbucks being a corporate giant and all, it wasn’t as if they were going to post their recipe online (and I’m honestly not sure I really want to know). Upon googling for a bit, I still came up short, and eventually put the project on the back burner.

DSC_0448Floured Up Rolling Pin

It wasn’t until I started perusing Martha Stewart’s website frequently, as I am now wont to do, that I found this recipe. I immediately set out to find a time to make these, and fortunately my house had a couple of guests a few weeks ago that warranted a little Sunday morning indulgence.


Rolled OutAll Rolled UpPre-Second RiseThe Ends Got Stuck TogetherBrunch PerfectionCinnamon Sugar-Dusted TopThey were pretty good. The dough was delicate and buttery, and the cinnamon sugar was as awesome as I expected. I think I might skip the second dosage of butter next time, as I found them pretty rich, but everyone who had them seemed to be pretty pleased. The only thing lacking was that we didn’t have enough strong coffee nearby.

  • I melted the butter for the filling, because I was uncertain about using softened butter, and it worked fine. It’s also handy if you don’t have time to soften butter.
  • The recipe called for 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, for which I used Vietnamese cinnamon, because it’s especially strong. Even then, I wished I had used a bit more, so I upped the amount to 1 tablespoon
  • Once these cooled, I stored them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. To reheat, I microwaved them for about 30 seconds.
  • I made the dough the night before, so the next morning I had to let it warm to room temperature before working with it, which took about an hour or so. To speed up this process (or the original rise, if you are working in a cold space), heat the oven to 200 degrees F, turn it off, and put the dough in there, covered with a towel, and obviously in an oven-safe bowl.
Sugar Buns
adapted slightly from Martha Stewart
Make the Dough:
2 packages active dry yeast (1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon coarse salt
  1. In a small bowl, mix together yeast and warm water; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula as necessary. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula as necessary.
  3. Add vinegar and vanilla; mix to combine. Slowly add sour cream, mixing until well combined. Add yeast mixture.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours and salt. Add to mixer and mix on low until well combined and dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and just begins to form a ball.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Lightly flour the bottom of a large glass bowl; place dough in bowl and cover with a clean damp kitchen towel. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; let stand until doubled in size, about 3 to 4 hours, or refrigerate overnight.
Make the Buns:
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
all purpose flour, for rolling
1 recipe Yeast Dough, room temperature
  1. Generously grease one 12-cup muffin tin with softened butter. Set aside. In medium bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and mix until well blended. Set aside.
  2. Turn yeast dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into an 18-by-10-inch rectangle. Brush dough with 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and liberally sprinkle with one-third of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  3. Beginning with the long side facing you, tightly roll dough away from you into a log; pinch edge of dough to seal. Cut dough crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Place each cross-sectional piece into prepared muffin cup and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Place muffin tins in warm place until buns double in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Once dough has doubled in size, remove plastic wrap and place on middle rack in oven. Bake until golden and puffed, about 22 to 24 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool slightly on wire rack. In the meantime, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove buns from muffin tins. Brush liberally with melted butter and gently roll in remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve warm.

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