cranberry orange breakfast buns Recipes

cranberry-orange breakfast buns

When my husband had a bit of, uh, bonus awesome free time on his hands this summer, he got into the curious habit of running while not being chased*, which led to him taking part in his first 5K a few weeks ago. To celebrate, we had people over for a little New York brunch (that is, bagels and lox, no, not homemade, not when they’re this good) back at our apartment, and, still trying to dig out from under our overzealous apple-picking, I made apple cinnamon buns. I didn’t think they were a big deal; I mean, they were good, just your standard cinnamon bun with two apples, diced small, scattered over the filling but it turns out, you cannot causally mention homemade apple cinnamon buns on the internet without causing a RECIPE PLEASE ruckus. I should know this.

bagel brunch
the apple-cinnamon buns i'd once promised

I really had full intentions of sharing the recipe (though technically, I just did) but you see, the only thing more worrisome than having more apples than one can fit in their apartment is The Day The Apples Run Out, and that happened before I had a chance. And as they did, October became November and I started getting Thanksgiving on the brain, which basically leads to me bringing absurd, barely haul-able hauls of various winter squash, cabbage, brussels sprouts, potatoes, and baskets of fresh cranberries home with exactly zero recipe agenda for them. [This morning’s repeat haul is currently glaring at me from the dining table as if to say, Shouldn’t you be getting to work on us and not talking to your friends inside your laptop again? Such nags!]

there will be butter, there will be eggs

Until recently, I was convinced that combination of cranberries and orange had been played out almost to death, as the breakfast world has been under attack for at least a decade by stale muffins and scones made with unpleasant dried cranberries (i.e., cranberries plus sugar and oil and a good helping sulfites, yum) and a metallic kinda-orangeish vibe that were best avoided. But when I started dreaming about a seasonal variation on cinnamon buns that I would be ridiculously excited to put out at any November/December holiday brunch/lunch/party/or maybe just because it’s the weekend and you like your housemates very much, I realized I desperately wanted to rescue these flavors from mediocrity. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to work exclusively with fresh or frozen cranberries, and skip the orange juice (which gets too easily lost in baked goods) in favor of its zest.

a rich yeast dough
orange zest
an afternoon reflection

However, this was the kind of recipe I knew would take a few rounds to get right; fresh cranberries can be tricky (they’re very tart and sour) and I wasn’t convinced that even a whole orange’s worth of zest was going to match the intensity of the cranberries. Plus, when I went to bake them, the bottom of the pan had been puddled with juice run-off from the cranberries, a sure sign of imminent disaster. I promised a few friends I’d bring over the “wrecked” ones, so I could get started on a more successful batch soon. But when they came out of the oven and I had at one, I found myself hugging it closer to my body and darting my eyes around the room, as if I were worried someone would take them from me, (especially ridiculous as I was alone), my mind racing with possibilities: Wait, do I have to share these? Would anyone know? Why did I promise to these to friends?!

i love fresh cranberries
grinding the cranberries
ground cranberries
brushed with butter, scattered with brown sugar and cranberries
sliced 1.5 inches thick
about to go in the fridge overnight
from the oven, cranberry-orange buns
powdered sugar, orange, buns
a little orange icing
cranberry-orange breakfast buns

Please, just stop what you were doing and make these now. Put them in the fridge, bake them off for breakfast tomorrow, I can assure you: only good things will come of this. In the oven, the seemingly dormant orange zest threading through the dough explodes with flavor, that puddle of cranberry juice run-off jams into a gooey brown sugar cranberry caramel and winds around and through the buttery, tender yeast-raised spirals. And the glaze, the sweet orange snow cap on this single serving of November bliss, provides just the right balance to the tartness of “red sprinkles,” which is what my son called the cranberry filling, within. See? I shared after all! I’m a good person, maybe. But I really miss them now.

a sweet orange snowcap frosting
the dough is ridiculous
there's cranberry inside

* I am, as I’ve probably stated before, decidedly not a runner, although I try again every year or so for a couple months, just to reconfirm how pitiful I am. I can swim (any swimmers out there?) further than I can run, so I have that going for me, you know, in case in the Hollywood-style apocalyptic version of my life, the country is sunk out to sea rather than being overtaken by stampeding zombies. Hm, I’ve probably digressed again.

One year ago: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Two years ago: Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Biscuits
Three years ago: Upside-Down Cranberry Cake
Four years ago: Raisin-Studded Apple Bread Pudding
Five years ago: Peanut Butter Crispy Bars and Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips
Six years ago: Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples and Roasted Stuffed Onions
Seven years ago: Not Your Mama’s Coleslaw and Indian-Spiced Vegetable Fritters

Cranberry-Orange Breakfast Buns
Dough adapted (mostly in technique) from Alton Brown

Tart cranberries muddle with just enough brown sugar that they sweeten, but are miles from toothache-level sweetness. Orange zest blooms inside a buttery, tender, rich dough. And there’s just enough orange icing to cap the buns, not drench them in candy. I’d call them grown-up cinnamon buns, but I saw a four year-old inhale one and demand another, and we liked them so much I’m trying to invent excuses to make them again.

This is an overnight recipe; the dough will rise for the first time when you make it, and the second time in the fridge overnight. I thought this would be annoying, but it’s actually perfect. You don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to make breakfast buns, and the slow rise in the fridge overnight makes for a very well developed flavor. This is definitely my favorite cinnamon-style bun dough to date; feel free to ditch all of your others.

Yield: 12 buns. This recipe could be halved and baked in a 9-inch round or 8×8-inch baking pan.

Dough:
4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, melted, plus additional to grease pan
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated (to be used in dough and filling, below)
3 3/4 cups (470 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
1 packet (7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon oil for bowl

Filling:
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) butter
1 cup (190 grams) packed light brown sugar
1 cup (115 grams) fresh cranberries
Orange zest leftover from above

Icing:
3 1/2 tablespoons (55 ml) orange juice
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar

Make the dough: In the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, buttermilk and 3/4 of the orange zest together (saving the rest for the filling). Add 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; stir until evenly moistened. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and let the dough hook knead the mixture on low speed for 5 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and moist, but not overly sticky. Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl (I usually scrape my dough briefly onto the counter, oil the mixing bowl, and scrape the dough back into it) and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, which will take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.

[Don’t have a stand mixer? Stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon, then continue stirring and beating it about in a large bowl for several minutes, until it comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead it for another 5 minutes. It will stick; don’t sweat it. Just scrape everything up and into the oiled bowl when it’s time to let it rise. Try to resist adding extra flour when it sticks; it will only toughen the dough. That would be sad.]

Prepare the filling: Melt the butter and set it aside. In a food processor, pulse the whole cranberries until they’re ground to a coarse rubble, but not fully pureed. You’ll need to scrape the machine down once or twice. Set them aside.

[Don’t have a food processor? Just hand chop them very well, as if to coarsely mince them.]

Assemble the buns: Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, a heavier ceramic or glass dish is ideal here. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle that is 18 inches wide (the side nearest to you) and 12 or so inches long. (It’s okay if it goes longer/thinner.) Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle it with the brown sugar. Scatter the ground cranberries over it, then the remaining orange zest.

Roll the dough into a tight, 18-inch long spiral. Using a sharp serrated knife, very, very gently saw the log into 1 1/2-inch sections; you should get 12. Arrange the buns evenly spread out in your baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 16 hours.

The next morning, bake the buns: Take your buns out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’d like to bake them, to allow them to warm up slightly. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden (the internal temperature should read 190 degrees F), approximately 30 minutes.

Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool slightly. Make the icing by whisking the orange juice and powdered sugar together. Spread a little on each bun, or drizzle it over the whole pan. Serve immediately.

Many notes:

  • Instant yeast is also sold as Bread Machine or Rapid Rise yeast.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, here are some alternatives. A half-half combination of everyones favorite breakfast nightmare, milk and orange juice, should also do the trick.
  • So many egg yolks! Theoretically, one you replace every two yolks with whole medium or large eggs, however, the dough will not be as rich. Hate using up egg whites? Here are some ideas, plus one more: these days, if I’m breading/frying/crusting something, I whisk an egg white with a teaspoon of water to use as the dip instead of a whole egg. It makes things even crunchier. See also: Zucchini Parmesan Crisps, Granola-Crusted Nuts, Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts.
  • Prefer cream cheese frosting on your buns? Alton recommends a cream cheese icing made with 1/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) softened cream cheese + 3 tablespoons milk + 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
  • But you promised us Apple-Cinnamon Buns! Okay, fiiine, but I think you’d like these more. Skip the orange zest, skip the cranberries. Mix the brown sugar with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt and spread this over the melted butter. Scatter two apples, peeled and diced very small, over the cinnamon-sugar. Note: When I made them this way, I found 1 cup brown sugar to be too sweet for me. I’d use 3/4 cup next time.
  • Finally, see how tall and lovely these came out? Yours will be even better. I actually had to run out when I made the dough during the 2-hour rise, so I stuck it in the fridge, and couldn’t get back to it for 24 hours, at which point it was probably more than doubled. I then did another 24-hour rise (again, life got in the way) instead of the max 16-hour rise recommended. The results were wonderful, but a tiny bit overproofed. To see the volume you will get when you make these according to the recipe, see the Apple-Cinnamon Bun photo, the third one in this post.

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383 comments on cranberry-orange breakfast buns

  1. Go, Alex, go! I actually have fresh cranberries in the house — made a corn bread with fresh cranberries and pumpkin (eh). I have leftover berries and last night decided to make your cranberry bars from your book. But maybe now I’ll serve these to our brunch guests on Sunday morning. But those bars are so good!

  2. Dana

    As winter approaches (I’m cringing. Time is moving too fast!), there is no better combination I can think of than cranberry and orange. Well, that and anything with chocolate. Can’t wait to try these!

  3. Sarah R

    Question- do you perhaps mean to say the juice of the orange goes in the dough and the zest in the filling? The way I’m reading it the zest goes in both. I can’t wait to make these though- I have everything on hand and breakfasts have been ho hum lately.

    1. deb

      Sarah R — The orange zest goes into the dough and filling. You use a little orange juice in the end for the icing. Did I write something confusing? (Probably, I’m sure.)

  4. Sara

    These look great, any ideas on if I wanted to use active dry yeast instead? (Just because it’s what I have and don’t want to go to the store).

  5. THIS POST MADE ME FAINT JUST NOW! I just got back on my chair to type this message that I just got back from my market with cranberries and oranges in hand! SCORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRE! And I’ve got a house full of company arriving Sunday thru Thanksforgiving! WOOT WOOT!

  6. Your make ahead brunch recipes are the ones I use most often. Thanks for this addition. Fall farmers market food is SO heavy (and delicious, so obviously I can’t skip any of it). I can manage on my own during spring and summer, but come September, my husband has to get up early and come help haul it all home. Especially if he wants to keep up his two-apples-a-day habit.

    1. deb

      Maria — Oooh, good question. I suspect you could just use 3 yolks. I haven’t halved it yet, but that’s how I’d approach it.

      Indirect Libre — Thank you. I hate hand-washing the food processor with the flames of a thousand suns. (Five. Separate. Parts. Each with weird nooks for food to get stuck in.) I was much more careful about using it before I had a dishwasher.

  7. Yes! This is so happening and I can’t wait. Also, wanted to send a big kudos your way for always including technique instructions for those of us who do not have hi-tech-y things like stand mixers and food processors. You are perhaps the only person on the internet who understands that people made delicious food before the vitamix, and that washing a food processor is way more difficult than washing a good chopping knife.

  8. Melinda

    Oh dear… I see testing these this weekend, making a batch for the first travel day (MN -> TX), and then again for guests over Thanksgiving. I better *start* jogging again!

  9. Karen Sullivan

    Unless I am missing it, I don’t see how much orange zest to use in the dough! My husband’s family had a tradition when he was a kid of eating crack-the-package-open orange rolls on Christmas morning. I don’t care for them, but I have dutifully provided them each year. I think I’ll try blowing his mind this year with an original!

  10. An even better way to slice rolls like this is to use dental floss. Slide a piece under the roll where you want it cut, cross the loose ends and pull. Perfect slices, no stretching the dough.

  11. Deb I was going to email you this question but saw your page on what to do with recipe questions so here I am again. Under the next morning bake your buns: take the buns out of the oven 30 mins before you bake them. This is suppose to be refrigerator right? I know stupid question but I hate when I go back to my blog post weeks later and no one has said hey there’s a typo! Again love this post and can’t wait to make!!

  12. Well played, well played! I was just at the store yesterday staring at the bags of fresh cranberries, wishing I had a baked good recipe up my sleeve to take advantage of them. These might have to play a starring role at my housewarming party next weekend.

  13. Sarah

    Two batches of your awesome pizza dough just gave me all the confidence in the world to overcome my fear of baking with yeast! So is there a way to make this with the pizza yeast (Active Dry?), or should I buy Bread Machine/Rapid Rise/Instant yeast? What is the difference between the two, exactly?

  14. Yasmin

    I cannot wait to try these! They look delicious!!

    Also, at the end of the instructions:

    “The next morning, bake the buns: Take your buns out of the oven 30 minutes before you’d like to bake them, to allow them to warm up slightly.”

    We’re supposed to take them out of the fridge first, right? :-) I’m just making sure I don’t mess these up!

  15. Anne

    I’m with you on the non-running. These look perfect for Thanksgiving post-Turkey Trot breakfast for my family, who are all running. It’s folks like us who bake for the runners who never get the glory :)

  16. Daisy

    oh my god, I see these on Christmas morning at my house. As a tradition, we just bake the store bought Pillsbury cinnamon buns, plain and orange flavored. The last couple years it’s been really hard to find the orange ones though – this might be the perfect excuse to make these instead!!

  17. Wow, these sound marvelous, thanks for the recipe, and your pictures are awesome! You have a small typo in your second to last paragraph (the one that begins, ‘The next morning, bake the buns…’, shouldn’t it read, ‘Take them out of the frig’ instead of ‘oven’?

    Also, any recipe that manages to reference zombies, I’m all for.

  18. JW

    And with swimming you don’t get all sweaty and stinky. Your feet don’t blister and your nipples don’t chap. You come out of your amazing cardio work out, smelling like a chemically clean and sterile room, and that is infintly better than sweat. And at the end of our work out when we just want to crash to the floor we can float in a heavenly 77 degree pool of water and dream of cranberry orange cinnamon rolls.

  19. Leslie

    Thank you so much for adding the instructions for those of us who don’t have stand mixers…I always get so sad when recipes like this are posted, thinking I can’t make them. I had planned to ask you how to do it, then I read further and voila! These look amazing, and I’m going to have difficulty refraining from adding cinnamon, but shall try ;).

  20. Heidi

    What if I wanted to be SUPER PREPARED and made a batch of these way in advance to serve when I have Thanksgiving houseguests? Can I freeze the dough? Before the first rise? Take out one morning, put in the fridge, cook the next morning? Some other method?

  21. volcano

    These look fantastic! If I wanted to make them ahead of time and freeze them (to feed to hungry parents and in-laws when they descend upon our house for Thanksgiving), at what stage would you recommend freezing them? I’m thinking it’d be at the stage where you say “Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 16 hours” but maybe you’ve got a different suggestion? Thanks!

  22. Are you able to make and freeze these ahead of time? Just thinking about holiday prepping – not sure if it would ruin these or not. SO YUMMY LOOKING! Can’t wait to try.

  23. Susan

    Cranberry and orange have that same effect on me as cherry and orange do, they just go together so well. (as a kid, I used to stick a cherry sucker and an orange sucker back to back so I could get both flavors in one twirling lick!) This dough looked familiar to me, so ffter reading this recipe, I looked up your chocolate babka recipe to compare this dough to that one. It’s pretty similar and much like a brioche dough. Do you suppose you could shape this like a babka or would the filling be too gooey? I know, I get ahead of a recipe sometimes..

  24. Courtney

    I’m dying over here. These look so good. I texted my friend and said “did you see the breakfast buns on SK today? Let’s make them when you come for thanksgiving” and then about 15 seconds later I said “um I can’t wait that long. I’m making them today.”

  25. I don’t understand the joys of running either…but erm well done to your husband!! Those buns look so good…my eyes widen as saw as I saw this post on my feed! My eyes are def bigger than my belly…thats for sure!

  26. Deb these buns are so big and perfect and I want to tear into one! I bet the orange just adds the sweetest flavor and scent to them. And the orange glaze/icing to boot – wonderful! Pinned! Thanks for the step-shots. I know they’re a huge PITA with yeast bread recipes especially, but so appreciated!

  27. LG

    These look amazing! I grew up loving store bought orange cinnamon buns, and I’m sure these are the spectacular version. I’m thinking about making a mini version…can anyone weigh in on how to roll/cut the same recipe amount into more bite-sized buns?

  28. Katie

    I also am curious about freezing – could these be assembled and put in the pans, then frozen for a few days and take them out the day before baking to defrost in the fridge? I’d love to bake these off Thanksgiving morning while we get the big dinner prepped, but I’m going to be doing so much other cooking on Wednesday that it would be nice to have these made maybe the weekend before and frozen ready to go.

  29. stephanie

    These look fantastic! I cannot wait to try them. I have a really difficult time finding fresh cranberries here is RSA. Would it be possible to use dried?
    Thanks for your amazing blog! ♡

  30. kj

    My 10 yo has been clamoring for home-made cinnamon buns, and I have been procrastinating. This recipe motivates me try baking some at home. A question though: Can the dough be frozen for later use? If so, at what point can it be frozen? And how long for thawing?

  31. YUM! These have gone straight to my short list for breakfast on Thanksgiving Morning or Christmas Morning :)

    I’m a Swimmer! (Not professionally or anything, but swimming is definitely my exercise of choice :)

  32. Laura

    Is it necessary to refrigerate them overnight? Could they rise again in the pan then be baked? If so how long for the second rise? A million thanks.

    1. deb

      Laura — If doing the second rise at room temperature, I’d guess an hour or two would be sufficient. But better flavor develops with that slow overnight rise.

      Freezing the buns — I have not made these or any other buns while doing it partly in the freezer. If you have with other recipes, I see no reason you cannot follow the same steps here. I presume that most people (understandably) are interested in having these ready before guests arrive. My best guess (again, untested, but it should make sense anyway) at how it would be the easiest would be to freeze them after assembly, and then either move them into the fridge for 24 hours to defrost them and let them proof that second/final time. Or, you could move them from the freezer to the counter but it’s verrrry hard for me to guess how long that would take for them to defrost an proof again. Anyway, once “puffed” and defrosted, go ahead and bake them. Hope that gets you started.

      Lynn, JW — Hiii! (I asked because I feel like I meet so many runners, and so few recreational swimmers. It’s lonely!)

      Susan — Whoa, I never lined them up! I’m kind of obsessive about lining up recipes and I’m surprised I didn’t — you’re saying I had the perfect bun dough recipe the whole time? That recipe is so buried under all of the chocolate, it’s hard to (as much) appreciate the tenderness of the dough as you can here. I digress. I think it would be really cool to try to use these ingredients babka-style. However, babka fillings are drier (dryer? why can’t I think of this right now?) and I worry that this might be a little… gooier, though not necessarily a bad thing. I’d love to hear about it if you try it and I wish you lived closer and could bring me some! :)

      Frozen cranberries — Actually, I think they’d be just fine and you can use them right from the freezer. They will have so much time to defrost in the fridge overnight, they’ll catch up in temperature easily.

      Tucker — I’m on YouTube?! Oh geez. I actually don’t want to find out. But thank you.

  33. Tucker

    I cannot believe how many people have already posted on this recipe; on the first day. Cool. I am making your “Best Yellow Layer Cake” as we speak. I plan to cook these rolls, when my guests are here for Christmas. Love your blog. I watched your videos on you tube as well. I find the Q and A portion of your talks so informative. Keep up the the Good work Deb. I am inspired.

  34. Natalie

    Wow…. I cannot get home from work soon enough to make these!!! Growing up we used to have pillsbury fake-from-the-can orange buns as a Christmas morning treat… I plan to blow my family away with these babies this year!! Thanks Deb!

  35. Amy P

    I’m sending my husband and toddler on a bike ride to get me an orange (already have the cranberries!) I’d say breakfast tomorrow is going to be good, but we all know I’ll have them baked and eaten long before that…

  36. Katie

    I’m going to try making and freezing them this weekend and baking them Thanksgiving morning. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  37. Tristan

    These look great, but I’m more excited about the apple ones obviously. Thank you. Now I just have to convince friends to come share them!

    I am a swimmer too!

  38. I remember we had this conversation at the FitBlog NYC event in May – I’m the exact opposite! I’m a runner who can’t swim (athletically) for the life of me, so anyone who swims is very impressive in my book. And either activity certainly merits lots of cranberry orange breakfast buns!

  39. Alyssa M.

    I just made cinnamon rolls twice over a couple of weeks and I could not get mine to stand so beautifully like yours! Any tips? The recipe I used was almost exactly like yours, except it used whole eggs instead of yolks and four cups of flour. I also can’t get the hang of rolling out a rectangle-it always comes out more of a circle! And lastly, I feel like I’m rolling the dough tightly, but when I cut them, not so much. They look and taste wonderful out of the oven and my coworkers cobbled them up, but of course I need to make them better! I’m going to keep this going and make yours soon! Three batches of cinnamon rolls in three weeks isn’t weird, right?

    1. deb

      Alyssa — Alton gives much more specific directions about rolling the buns, so you might find them helpful. If yours comes out oblong-ish instead of rectangular (and the more you do it, the more you’ll get the hang of roughly getting it in the right shape), fold in the parts that go outside the imagined correctly-sized rectangle and roll them back along their crease. I hope that makes sense. As for standing… that’s just about straight cuts, right? Oh, and I find that making them taller (here, 1.5 inches rather than what most recipes suggest, 1 inch) makes them prettier after they bake.

  40. Sally

    Back in pre-dishwasher days I, too, wanted to reduce the number of dishes I needed to wash. So instead of turning out dough into another greased bowl (or onto the counter) I didn’t grease it at all. I haven’t greased a bowl or it’s dough in more than 40 years and the dough (any kind of sourdough or yeasted dough) has always risen the way it should. I cover the mixing bowl with a plate or plastic wrap while it’s rising.

    If greasing is necessary, I’d really like an explanation of Why!! Deb? Someone?

    1. deb

      Sally — Actually, I was JUST thinking about that recently, and so I’ve been fiddling around with skipping it sometimes too. No, it is not necessary. What it does is ensure easy release. Some bakers like that.

  41. Sorry if anyone has asked this, but: Can you use regular yeast? I have a whole jar of it on hand. Do I need to run out and get instant for these to work? They look so good!

  42. hamletta

    Cinny buns are like madelines to my late mom’s Philly–based family. I’m proud to say my first batch passed muster, but that was 30 years ago.

    I thank you for this tart & tangy variation, as I’m moving back up to Mid-Atlantica soon.

  43. Jennifer

    These look amazing! One question: How can I become one of your friends that gets the “wrecked” ones? I will take any and all wrecked items, dessert, main course, appetizers, etc.

  44. Rebecca

    That GIANT stick of celery standing up in the bloody mary is cracking me up. Also. I think you just made me hate dried cranberries? Good bye blissful ignorance.

  45. Jessica

    It’s 10:30 at night. I have a new baby. I want to make these so bad that I’m willing to throw out what little sleep I’m going to get tonight to start them right now.

  46. Tracy

    Also, I have always used dental floss (unflavored, of course) to cut cinnamon rolls. Handy if your knife is not ultra-sharp. Less mashing of the roll. Yours look lovely though.

  47. Sarah

    Longtime reader and big fan making my first comment: I live in Australia, where fresh or frozen cranberries are unobtainable. Do you think it would work with dried or just be too yucky for words?

  48. Debra

    Hi Deb,
    Two things.
    If I halve the recipe do I halve the yeast?
    Also I have been having a problem with your blog. It freezes
    sometimes and I am not able to scroll down. It might be that
    the operating system on my Mac is too old? Using Safari 4.3.1.
    Any one else having this problem?
    Thanks for your fabulous blog.

  49. Allie

    Every time (since that *one* time) that you’ve posted about buns on your site I’ve immediately thought “is she pregnant again?” Ridiculousness aside, that pink cranberry in the buns is the most beautiful jewel-like thing I’ve ever seen in a baked good!

  50. Mary

    Okay, I haven’t yet made these, but have a suggestion for those who will. It is very easy to get nice tiny orange zest by combining the some of the sugar (I often use a tablespoon or two) and tossing it into the chopper machine with the orange peels (peeled like you might an apple, getting just the zest part- no white). Easy, quick and works great! Obviously, to be “true to this recipe, up you might divide the peels, reserving 1/4 to be chopped with brown sugar.
    I often freeze cranberries (in November- enough to last the year) and use them in baked goods. They are crazy loud to chop or mince in a chopper or food processor, but it always works great. This recipe is on the docket for weekend baking!

  51. Kate

    …a second rec. on the floss, or thread, to cut the dough sans squishment. plus it’s fun – slip the thread underneath, bring ends up and cross on top, then pull for perfect rolls.

    I recently found a manual 1960s pumpkin-orange Moulinex julienne mill, all 5 blades intact, which grates/juliennes/slices beautifully with little clean-up required. love it; much less fuss that the food processor.
    (how it made its way from New Jersey, according to the price tag on the box, to Alberta, 50 years later, fascinates. If our kitchen thrift store items could talk, what tales of happy cooking they’d tell!)

  52. Yum! Now I have to hope that frozen cranberries make it into Australian supermarkets this Christmas, last year they never appeared, all those recipes I couldn’t make… so sad :(

  53. Susan

    Beautiful! You are killing. My mother, daughter and I love the tart-sweet cranberry sauce that you make by processing an orange, a bag of cranberries, and a cup of sugar together. Why not use that for a sweet roll recipe? You have inspired me!

  54. Kim

    These rolls look and sound delicious, and so perfect for the holidays! I will have to try making them. I would also love to have your apple cinnamon bun recipe (you knew that was coming!).

  55. tunie

    I think your brilliant child is on to something – I would like to try blitzing some of the whirled cranberry’s with sugar to make an actual cranberry red sprinkle to go on the icing. It’s such a gorgeous color and seems to process so perfectly for this – will give it a try.

  56. Deb… you are a bad, bad girl (in a good way) you make too many yummy things and then I have to make them too! I am dough challenged to say the least. But I am going to try these rolls this weekend. My dough challenge is not that the dough is ever bad but it never looks as beautiful as yours looks. Especially after cutting. P.S. I love that you used fresh cranberries, see, I would have thought they would have had to be cooked. One less step is always a good thing! Thanks for another great recipe!

  57. These look so very tasty – hot buns get me every time! – I am very happy that you shared. I love that you’ve used fresh cranberries – dried ones really are quite disturbing – and also very happy that you used zest instead of juice. I am looking forward to the weekend when I can make (and eat!) them. Heaven.

  58. Just sent one lucky husband off to work with a batch of these buns to share. Now, I wish I’d kept one for me…is that wrong? Lovely, lovely recipe, easily raises one to Domestic Goddess status ;)

  59. Jackie

    Why would anyone eat this for breakfast? Same goes for muffins, sugary cereals, pancakes etc. No wonder half the country is overweight

  60. Kat

    Just a quick question about other cinnamon roll doughs – I made the Sweet Orange Buns Lottie and Doof posted last year, and found that dough to be absolutely amazing. I’m going to try yours, here – but have you made their Sweet Orange Buns? And, if so, how does the dough you use stack up?

    Also – another swimmer here! There are actually a number of swim teams in NYC where you don’t have to compete – you can just show up for workouts. If you like swimming you might enjoy joining one.

  61. Carin

    I will have to find fresh or frozen cranberries and make this. Not so sure where, since they import the dried one to South Africa from the USA, but this recipe is calling me!

  62. I’m firmly in the second rise in the fridge camp. I find that the flavor is so much more pronounced and there’s less fussing – kind of set it and sort of forget it. This actually might be a great thing for my people the morning of Thanksgiving – we are hosting BOTH of our families (eep) and they’ll probably come over asking for breakfast or something. Love the cranberry idea – so smart!

  63. Marlene

    Hi, I wanted to make these for breakfast tomorrow but I couldn’t get hold of any fresh cranberries so I am going to make the apple-cinnamon ones instead. But can you please let me know what you put on the top instead of the orange juice and icing sugar mixture? Thanks

    1. deb

      Using Active Dry Yeast instead — I can’t quite get to the bottom of whether it works faster or slower than Instant yeast. I know Instant sounds faster, but Instant is supposed to refer to the fact that it can be used without proofing first; however, I find Instant to actually work more slowly in the same quantities. Active Dry yeast needs to be dissolved and foamed (give in 5 to 10 minutes) in a warm liquid, which would mean that you warm the buttermilk to 110-115 degrees F, however, I’m wondering if it would curdle (I don’t think so, but I’m not positive). So, this is very all over the place response! I suspect that the rising times might be slightly different (it might double faster, but the ovenight should be fine in the fridge) but you will otherwise be okay with Active Dry if you proof it first in warm buttermilk. Hope that helps.

      Using dried cranberries — Yes and no. The flavor will not be the same (they’re sweetened and have preservatives, etc.) so I’d dial back the brown sugar in the filling by 1/4 cup if using them. I still think they might make a tasty bun, they just may not have that tart cranberry intensity of those made with fresh ones. Or frozen cranberries; they work too. I tend to buy two bags of cranberries at a time and freeze one because they keep so well in the freezer.

      Adam — I think so. Just store them in an airtight container (or tightly covered with plastic wrap) at room temperature. They’ll be slightly more dry but otherwise still quite tasty.

      Kat — Well, you know I love comparing recipes and indeed, Tim’s at Lottie + Doof look gorgeous. (Just to remind y’all, your buns will actually be more full than mine are here, closer to the apple buns I showed up top. I explain this in the boring footnotes, but life got in the way and I overproofed this batch. Still excellent, but yours will be even more … gorgeous.) His dough uses a lot fewer eggs (just one whole one) and much less butter so it will be closer to a sweet/enriched bread dough than the brioche-y stretchy buttery mess you see here. These are more decadent. But I have little doubt you will enjoy either; they’re just a little bit more on the abstemious side.

      And I had no idea about NYC swim teams. I don’t have a competitive bone in my body (well, except when hailing taxis); I just swim to zone out for a few hours a week. I suspect they meet in the evenings? I duck out at lunchtime because I can get away with that (working from home) and then I don’t have to miss out on hanging out with the family in the evenings. But I’d love to hear more if you have a link. I’m really interesting in stroke clinics, too…

      Jackie — I’d imagine one could also eat them for dessert.

      Rebecca — Yes! There’s a heart engraved on my husband’s hometown and my own. He found it on Etsy. Best most adorable Valentines present.

      Debra — Yes, to halve them, halve everything. I haven’t heard too much about freezing but I will look into it. My best guess is that it sounds like an ad doesn’t want to load and is holding up the page, rather rude of it. Anyway, try reloading when this happens. At least in my browser (Chrome) the second time, it will ignore what held it up, i.e. skip loading the ad or whatever widget it was.

      Meleyna — My mother’s 20 year old KA was starting to die, so we decided I’d give her my old one and upgrade to the Pro model (rather than buying her a new one because she doesn’t bake very much). Makes sense, right? I hardly expect anyone to bust out any violins, but I immensely dislike the pro one. (More about why here.) I miss my old one terribly. (We stupidly threw away the box so a return wasn’t possible.) Anyway, you didn’t ask any of this and don’t usually like to complain about this stuff because it sounds like I’m not-so-secretly hoping someone from KA (note: using the abbreviation so this is not especially Google-able) will offer me a free one and that’s not the case at all. (Some of you may know this already, but I have a strict no-free-stuff policy here; I have in fact been kindly offered a comped KA in the past and declined because I’m stubborn. I truly don’t need free things; I want what I bought honestly to work the way I’d hoped it would and it just turned out to be the wrong model for me.) So do excuse the rant. I will survive — this is pretty much the definition of a first world problem! It works. But I will likely give it away to a less picky friend sometime soon and downgrade again. The End.

      Rebecca — Yes, ha. That’s how you know it wasn’t a styled shoot. :) (P.S. Bloody Mary recipe here.)

  64. Every Christmas my mom would make an iced cranberry-orange braided coffeecake/bread. I carry on the tradition, and have often thought about doing it this way. Way to beat me to it! They look amazing! I bet a few toasted pecans tossed in the filling would be a nice touch, too… you think?

  65. Anna

    Someone asked if regular active dry yeast could be used in place of the rapid rise. Forgive me if I missed the answer above, but I don’t see a response and was wondering the same thing. P.S. I never grease my bowl when letting dough rise, and it’s no problem.

  66. Heather

    These buns have officially made the menu for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas morning!

    Also,swimming all the way! I find with swimming you benefit from both cardio as well as a sort of meditative centering that comes with breath and body synchronization. I’m sure some people feel this way about running, but I have yet to get there.

  67. Anna

    I’ve been seeing recipes all over for fall-inspired sweet rolls: pumpkin on The Pioneer Woman, Bakerella, and Serious Eats; ones using cranberry sauce (hello leftovers!) from Cakespy via Serious Eats. I’m wondering if pumpkin rolls with cranberry filling would be good. I can’t decide if that’s a viable flavor combination or not!

  68. Elizabeth

    Wow, I am trying these on Sat.!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited for another go at the orange and cranberry combination (and yes, my apples are finally gone too so what is there to do but to move onward into November ingredients.) We get organic cranberries growing just a few miles away here in Northern Wisconsin. Do you need me to overnight any?

  69. nan

    I love that these don’t need another rise time after coming out of the fridge! I think you’ve given me the perfect addition for our Thanksgiving breakfast feast…one feast on T-day is never enough!

  70. Deb – In one of your pictures you are melting butter in a sauce pan. It that a warmer underneath or a hot plate? Reason: As a renter I have a 50 year old electric stove with wonky burners – No simmer setting. I would love to learn about a great stand-alone hot plate that is accurate and responsive.
    Thanks!

  71. Yeorgo

    Deb,
    I’ve never commented on a blog before, but this recipe and your lovely persona just required a heartfelt thanks. These rolls are on my holiday list. Hope you have a wonderful Season.

  72. oh, now. i’m no cranberry orange fan, either, except straight up, blitzed into raw sauce. because of all the baked-good abuses listed above. it’s a bastardized flavor combo, if ever there was one.

    but.

    BUT.

    i think i need these, now. adding cranberries to the grocery list…

  73. RobynB

    Is your pro the 6 quart or 7 quart? I’m shopping for a new one right now, and have heard that the 6 quart model is not good but that the 7 quart is wonderful. So now of course I’m obsessed with knowing which one you have that you don’t like! Please share. And thanks for the gorgeous recipe. I always make whole orange and fresh cranberry relish (the cold uncooked kind) for Thanksgiving, and was just thinking that I should make an extra batch and use it in rolls, which is essentially exactly what this recipe is!

    1. deb

      Marjo — You can leave whatever juice puddles on the cutting board; the rest is fine inside the buns. I mentioned that I had a little red puddle from the juices below my buns the next morning before I baked them. I thought it would be a problem, but it was delicious once baked. It partly caramelized (like cranberry-brown sugar jam!) and it partly absorbed back into the buns.

      KA — I have this one with a 6-quart bowl and do keep in mind, I’m about the only person who doesn’t like it. I’m in the minority. My quibbles are as follows: 1. The paddles do not neatly meet the bowl; there’s always a couple mm of unmixed batter gap; it’s very annoying. 2. It’s not great at single batches of things (the paddle takes forever to mix things that are small, because it barely dips into small dough/batter amounts) and I’m mostly a single-batch baker. 3. The bowl lock is a huge pain. I can’t see a thing gained by raising the bowl so that it has to be locked in. 4. I’d really looked forward to the extra openness from the “lift” mechanism and it’s barely noticeable, hardly more open than the tilt-head model was. 5. It turns out (maybe this was in the manual, maybe I missed it) the paddle and dough hook are not dishwasher safe, i.e. even once in the dishwasher and it will become corroded and be full of that black smudgy dust that never washes off. Obviously, I found out the hard way. I find this incredibly aggravating as my old KA had dishwasher-safe parts and why build something with a dishwasher-safe bowl but not paddle? It makes no sense. Anyway, as I said, loads of people adore this model; anyone else might have. It was just wrong for me. It still works; that’s what really matters.

  74. Marjo

    Hi, I just made these and have them rising for the second time. I used frozen cranberries and chopped them by hand. I had the problem that the cranberries turned into a slush when I was cutting them and of course the juice went errywhere when I was cutting the dough. I tried to be as fast as possible with the berries taking them right out of the freezer but still they melted and the result is pretty messy. Any advice?

  75. RobynB

    I have heard that a LOT of people don’t like the 6 quart model, for various reasons. But if you haven’t already, buy one of the Metro silicone replacement paddles: http://www.amazon.com/Design-Beater-KitchenAid-6-Quart-5-Plus/dp/B0015TMI28/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384448002&sr=8-1&keywords=kitchenaid+metro+design+6+quart They are the best! You’ll never use the paddle that comes with the machine again. It might solve all the issues that you are having.

  76. Carol D

    Absolutely perfect!! Well ok, I guess I would have to make a little more icing, because I really like to see heavy drizzles on the buns!

  77. Susan

    …and another thing about that mixer’s bowl; the handle on the bowl appears to favor a right handed person. It looks like you can only comfortably grab the bowl with the left hand in order to scrape the interior with the right hand. That would annoy me if I were a lefty.

  78. WifeToAnAmazingCook

    First, this recipe looks AMAZING. I’ll wait for guests, though, before I make it as my waistline shouldn’t benefit from all the fruits of the labor!

    And on the KitchenAid topic – I hate my 6 qt for all the reasons you listed (and also because the thing is so darn heavy). But I’m really liking the idea of a scraping paddle, like the one that RobynB (#131) linked to.

  79. I’d say your worst case scenario is a lot more likely than you husbands. I mean, Zombies? Really?

    I need to start making rolls. I keep seeing such wonderful concoctions. I am nervous that they will fall flat, though, since I am definitely not a bread maker.

  80. OMG. Okay the ONLY thing keeping me from making these this very instant is a little gestational diabetes, BUT come February 25th I will be all over telling Hubs how to make these from my spot on the couch! yum!

  81. HarleyDude

    Hey Deb. The reason the KA attachments are not dishwasher safe is that they are cast aluminum which reacts/rusts terribly with modern caustic dishwasher detergent. My favorite family heirloom ice-cream scoop was almost trashed by a dishwasher. Being a chemist in my former life, I’ve tried to make my own dishwasher detergent, but, trust me, it doesn’t work and the results were streaky and cloudy.

    Regarding this recipe and growing up in the state that produces the third most cranberries in the nation, New Jersey, I love all things cranberry. (Have you ever heard of a Piney?) Who would’ve thought Wisconsin produced the most cranberries ahead of Massachusetts? Thanks for a great base recipe. I can’t wait to experiment. Blueberry? Raspberry? Barbecue and Pulled Pork?

  82. E.

    Hi Deb — This is off-topic, but do you have a good stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving? I need a sure-fire recipe. Your recipes work, so I was hoping that you had one. But, alas! Your archives of barren of stuffing. Could I entice you to post a recipe? (Soon?) This is my plaintive pleal. Thanks!

    1. deb

      E — Thanks for the reminder… I made one two years ago and never got it up, then again last year… next week, okay?

      Hilary — See my response in comment #58 about how I’d freeze them.

      HarleyDude — Ugh, yeah, I’ve learned the hard way a few times. I feel like some brands didn’t have this problem (Seventh Gen?) but those same brands also didn’t work very well on our dishes. Nevertheless, once it’s done, it’s done forever. I cannot fathom why a company wouldn’t coat a cast aluminum kitchen item in a glaze or enamel that would protect it. Anyway, what’s a Piney?! I’m from Jersey… (Update, I Googled it! Didn’t know…)

  83. Hilary

    So if I decide to make these and want to freeze them, at what point do I actually freeze the dough, before or after the second rise? My teenagers, who will be home for Thanksgiving, will love these!

  84. Liza

    Inspiration! Just last night I was wondering what to do with my oranges and cranberries, already having made cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving with said ingredients and still having both ingredients in abundance. These sound scrumptious and will make it to our Christmas breakfast. I am going to make these and try the freezing trick…something to look forward to on Christmas morning. Thank you!

  85. Marcia

    So everyone is calling these “cinnamon buns,” but there is no cinnamon in the recipe, right? It seems to me that some cinnamon would be a nice addition to the cranberry and orange flavors..maybe 1/2 tsp to 1tsp of cinnamon added to the sugar? what do you think? …or would it somehow change the purity of essence of the cranberries?

    1. deb

      Marcia — There’s a note at the bottom about how to turn these into apple-cinnamon or straight cinnamon buns. I did not put cinnamon in with the cranberries because I thought I’d find it clashy.

      Lisa — I have not tried it here but I don’t see why not, however, I don’t know the correct quantity. Some recipe writers say that for every cup of flour, you should use 3 gm compressed fresh yeast (0.1 oz, 1/6 cake) (according to Maggie Glezer via The Fresh Loaf). The safest thing if making it for the first time using fresh cake yeast is to just keep an eye on it during the first rise, and consider it “done” not at 2 or 2.5 hours, but whenever it doubles, be it sooner or later.

  86. I would love to try this if I can get my hands on fresh cranberries. Having only tasted fresh ones once (last year!) and finding them incredibly sour, I’d assume these would be more on the tart side… something like lemon rolls, right?

  87. I don’t know if you’ve covered this in a post, but do you have other food bloggers who you would recommend? I’m thinking of people who cook with a similar philosophy — simplifying daunting recipes, etc. I’m always looking for more ideas for dinner. Thanks.

  88. Karen

    These sound wonderful! I’ll be sharing them with my elderly clients and co-worker!
    Is there a way to print out just the recipe? Thank you!

  89. Abbey

    Such a clever way to use beautiful, but sour, cranberries! My daughter helped me make the dough and assemble the rolls last night and I baked them early this morning for my husband to take to work with him…we decided on the cream cheese frosting because I happened to have some in my fridge. They were Dee-Lish! and not too tart at all. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

  90. Vict

    Wow, these look like the bomb. It’s too bad the nearest fresh cranberries are 3,000 miles away :) Any ideas on another fruit that could stand in place of cranberries? Maybe raspberries + dark brown sugar + sour cream glaze á la russian gratin? But what would take the place of orange zest I wonder? Blueberry and lemon would be da hydrogen bomb, but perhaps brown sugar would be too overpowering.

    1. deb

      Katie — No, not if using instant yeast, which doesn’t need to be proofed first in a warm liquid.

      Vict — Other berries would work, but I would be concerned about how juicy they’d be. (Cranberries aren’t very runny until they’re cooked because they’re so hard.) I’ve always liked the blueberry-lemon and raspberry-lemon combination. And the Russian gratin, of course, always.

      WifeToAnAmazingCook — I was thinking about doing a week of Thanksgiving sides next week. Would this be of interest to people? I’ve been on a kick of making vegetable classics lately (see above: market vegetable haul).

      Karen — There is a “Print” link at the bottom of each recipe, before the comments begin. It will take you to a print template.

      Steph — For the first seven years (until recently) I had a Good Reads page with a ton of my favorite sites. But it was generated by a program that no longer exists and I can’t find a replacement. :( Little consolation, I know.

  91. Annie K.

    Made them last night, baked them this morning! Awesome! Love the tartness, love the color, love having a new make-ahead standard for Christmas. Next time I ‘ll try cutting brown sugar down to 1cup so I get more of the bright taste of fresh cranberries. I live in FL and local navels are just coming out. Used zest of whole orange in dough and in filling. Can’t wait to make these again but won’t tell my neighbors. Love the idea of a chocolate babka-cinnamon filling. Thanks,Deb, for improving a classic!

  92. Mahtab

    These look absolutely delicious! Have you ever heard of using yukon gold potatoes in cinnamon buns? I haven’t tried it yet but have been meaning to – apparently it’s amazing!

  93. I love love love cranberry orange, and particularly appreciate that these aren’t drowned in frosting. I might need to make these for my bookclub in December instead of quiche.

    I wanted to share this with you the other week as I was making a new batch of pickled cranberries for the season (and considered sending you some while I experiment with a gin/cranberry cocktail)–I made a cranberry orange pecan conserve that uses the whole orange (peel and pith and all) so it’s just the right balance of sour and bitter and sweet. But more interestingly, I made this cooked take on charoses (charoset?) with red wine, walnuts, and cinnamon that you could have used with your glut of apples. I don’t know Passover food at all, but I’ve been eating this for a week straight (I tell myself all the alcohol cooks out so I don’t feel like a lush having it on toast for breakfast).

  94. Liz

    Yum I must make these. I plan to use my leftover raw cranberry orange relish for the filling as I am biologically incapable of following any recipe properly. I come here for inspiration and always find it.

    On the subject of mixers, for those of us who make lots of breads, the Bosch is incomparable. I have owned one for 23 years now and bake nearly all my bread, even through raising 3 kids who are now up and out. I am a total fanatic about cooking and used to cook professionally, and nothing kneads better than a Bosch. I love that the top is open so it is easy to add things. I grew up with my grandmother’s Kitchen Aid which was still working when it arrived at my home about 15 years ago when my mom was downsizing and it still worked. As fun as it was, it really did not do quantity as well as the Bosch and I found I just did not use it. The Bosch does pretty well with small batches too. It takes up little space and all the attachments work well. Few are aluminum, but those that are must be hand washed. For me it is just the meat grinder made of amuminum. It is very easy to get parts when needed.

  95. Nancy

    What’s this talk of sulfites in dried cranberries? My sensitivity list includes wine, hard cider, canned tomatoes, dried fruit, and candied ginger (thanks to Trader Joe’s label for solving that mystery.) I’ve never had a problem with Ocean Spray Craisins and don’t see sulfites on the label. Do some brands gas their berries?

    1. deb

      Sulfites — I was under the impression that a lot of brands used sulfites; I may have read incorrect information?

      Ann — You can use either; of course salted will lead to a saltier bun if you also add the salt. Some people like that extra contrast in sweet buns.

  96. Dahlink

    Nancy (#173) I also checked the labels on my dried cranberries and cherries and did not see any sulfites listed. I have some sensitivity and have never had a problem with the Aurora natural brand. I’d love more information on this topic.

  97. Gabi

    I just put mine into the fridge. But I was dumb and just eyeballed when I rolled out the dough and it was pretty thick when I rolled it up (I must’ve rolled out 12 or 13 inches instead of 18 – dumb) and then could only really get 8 good slices. I suppose I’ll know for sure tomorrow, but do you think I’ve really messed it up with too-thick buns?

  98. AM

    Oh my lord, this looks delicious! The chopped up flurry of cranberries? Genius. My husband constantly asks for breakfast pastry-type goodies, but I’m usually no good at following through and making them. Too much prep required in the morning, I guess. I used to just hop down to the local coop bakery (Arizmendi in the Bay Area) to get some delicious pastries, but we moved to the Boston area, and now no such luck in our neighborhood.

    This is great, just like yeasted waffles (btw, I follow your recipe for yeasted waffles, and they come out perfectly in my belgian waffle maker), I can set up the entire operation in the evening and just turn on the oven and bake when I’m ready. I already set up my grocery list to get the things I need for this recipe. My only question is – no vanilla? In our house, all sweet recipes have vanilla because we make some awesome homemade bourbon vanilla extract – real bourbon, real vanilla beans, steeped forever. It’s our secret weapon. If you’re ever in Boston, stop by and I’ll decant you a portion :)

  99. Randi

    I wanted to make cranberry orange but could not for the life of me find cranberries anywhere! Made the less exciting apple cinnamon. :( It was a DISASTER but apparently my co workers aren’t as picky as I am. The dough came out SO incredibly dry! I have no stand mixer so I did it by hand and I followed the directions exactly. I ended up adding more buttermilk and kneading and adding and kneading until I just gave up and called it good enough. Then when I went to roll it out I realized the rolling pin is still packed up somewhere from our move so I just smooshed it with my hands and went with good enough :) Call it beginner’s luck but everyone liked them even though they were a little bit dry. I can’t wait to make the cranberry version. I’m sure they’ll be even better.

  100. lit prof

    Deb, you are a genius. I overcame my fear of yeast dough and made the apple cinnamon version and they were incredible. Thanks for a foolproof recipe that brightened a gloomy November morning. These are going to be our Christmas breakfast! By the way, I used active dry yeast and the recipe was fine, and I made a glaze with confectioners sugar and milk.

  101. Marisa

    I made these last night and we had the for breakfast and they were great! I especially loved that the bottoms had gotten a nice sticky glaze on them. My husband was skeptical because last time I attempted a cinnamon bun recipe, he said they needed to come with a warning to have ample amounts of liquid on hand because they turned out so dry. But he happily ate 2 of these this morning:)

    Also made the chicken stock in the crock pot last weekend and it was awesome! Love your site!

  102. Lindsey

    I don’t know if y’all have Flying Biscuit Cafe where you are, but they serve this amazing spiced-cranberry-apple butter with their biscuits. Every time I go I have to resist the temptation to just eat it out of the jar with a spoon. I might try these as written, but most likely I will add apple, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the filling. Then I won’t have to drive the whole mile to Flying Bisciut and I can lick the filling off my fingers and no one will stare at me like I’m crazy!

  103. Melinda

    Well, we just ate our first buns, and are in love. I cut back on the brown sugar (about 130 grams instead of 190), and added more orange zest than called for. Beautiful, tasty, flaky, and not too sweet. Though, I found the icing to be too cloying (I didn’t even use it all). I wonder if the cream cheese frosting would be more to our taste.

    Anyway- thanks, Deb- I’ve now got my new recipe for holiday mornings!

  104. You are pure awesome, and so are these buns! (On a side note, I wanted to thank you and your flat roasted chicken for getting me over my fear of cooking meat. I just made a version last night with leeks, cauliflower, and root vegetables, and it was pretty much the best thing ever. That squeeze of lemon is the coup de grace. Thank you, Deb!)

  105. Michelle

    I just made these and they were amazing! Thanks! I halved the recipe, which was perfect for my two housemates and me for breakfast (fyi I used an egg and a yolk in the dough and baked them in a 9″ round pyrex). I had two minor problems that might be related. When I got them out of the fridge this morning, there was a huge pool of cranberry gunk in the bottom of the pan. No big deal, I just basted it out- it was more than half a cup! I let them warm up for half an hour and stuck them in the middle of a hot oven for another 30 minutes and the tops were a beautiful dark golden brown. The insides were mushy, though- some of the dough wasn’t done all the way. Any tips on keeping the cranberries from juicing all over the place? And how can I make them bake more evenly next time? I was using a new gas oven, and the oven temp was verified with a digital thermometer.

    1. deb

      Michelle — What kind of pan were you baking in? If glass, you may have benefitted from baking them at 25 degrees less, as it tends to brown things before baking them through when baked at the same temperature as metal pans. Even if not glass (for which it’s a fairly standard recommendation, not that I remember to add it on every recipe or anything useful like that), when something browns before it bakes through, that’s the way to go — you might just have a more robust oven than most. I mentioned the cranberry juices puddle twice in the post; leave it in, it bakes up deliciously — part jammy caramel, part reabsorbing into the buns.

  106. I made these this morning and just baked them with the cranberry goo as is. They were fantastic!! I par baked half for 20 minutes (I have a slow oven) and will freeze them for future consumption. Thanks for the recipe!!

  107. Christine

    I, too, used Active Dry Yeast. Once I had the dough in the bowl to rise, I reviewed the comments and discovered my yeast error – did not proof it first (thanks for the tutorial, Deb…next time will review comments before going off script!). I just set the bowl on my stovetop while my oven was on (where it was nice and warm) and let it rise for about 4 hrs. I had no trouble, the rolls did fine on the second rise in the fridge overnight and were enjoyed at brunch this morning to rave reviews. Thanks for this delicious recipe!

  108. Kate

    I just hand kneaded these and put them to rise so I haven’t tasted them yet, but just wanted to let those out there without a stand mixer know that it was a breeze to knead by hand – pleasant, really. It was tacky I suppose but it didn’t stick even a little bit. Maybe because of the butter, but no extra flour was needed (kneaded) at all.

  109. Ruth

    What would you think about making this as a version of challah, using the techique/dough in the fig/sea salt recipe and subbing in the cranberry/orange zest?

    1. deb

      Ruth — Theoretically, it would be delicious, but I’m not sure it would be structurally ideal because the filling here is a bit more wet and the cranberries become runny, which is not a problem when you bake it in a pan but will be annoying in a bread loaf. The fig filling is very thick and spreadable, not very wet.

  110. Monica

    I made the apple version, with 3/4 cup brown sugar in the filling, as suggested in the endnotes. Perfectly sweet without being cloying. I subbed in 1 cup of white whole wheat flour (not to be virtuous; we ran out of ap flour). Absolutely delicious! Thanks for yet another winner!

  111. Adrianne

    YUM!!! Can’t wait to recover from my son’s 4th birthday weekend (we made cupcakes out of Jacob’s cake recipe – delicious!) and have enough energy to make these. And I’m with you with the swimming thing. In the long-run, it may be more practical than outrunning the zombies :)

  112. Sheryll

    We indulged ourselves in these delicious breakfast buns this morning. The dough is a dream to work with. We skipped the glaze on top and found the buns to be the perfect balance of sweet and tart. This one is a keeper. Thank you.

  113. yeasty

    hi, this looks delicious. I haven’t read through all the comments, so not sure if anyone has noted this yet, but bread machine yeast is not the same as rapid rise yeast (I know some recipes equate them, apparently spreading misinformation to unsuspecting bloggers such as yourself). Rapid rise yeast is meant to cut down on rise time and causes the yeast to rise very quickly. It’s not suitable for long rises such as the ones in this recipe. Bread machine yeast is basically instant yeast or is supposed to be. It can be replaced with instant yeast, or with active dry ( add a little more active dry).

    BTW, both instant yeast and active dry yeast work fine in bread machines, making “bread machine yeast” unnecessary for bread machine kneading and baking. Bread machine yeast is promoted for the bread machine on the theory that because ingredients for dough, including yeast, are just dumped into the machine canister before hitting start to mix up the dough, one should use instant yeast because it needn’t be proofed or dissolved before use. But as long as the active dry is not expired, one can skip the proofing, and the bread machine also mixes the ingredients sufficiently to dissolve active dry yeast.

    1. deb

      yeasty — Aaaah! I am so happy you’re here. Thanks for all of the extra information. It’s really great to hear some of this stuff outside my head, and also to clarify things I was unclear on.

  114. yeasty

    In case the comment above was not clear due to the digression about bread machines and bread machine yeast… rapid rise is not instant yeast OR bread machine yeast. Rapid rise yeast causes rapid rises – it also cuts down on flavor development due to the rising time/flavor development tradeoff – and if one attempts a long rise like the one in this recipe with dough made with rapid rise yeast, one is flirting with a dough that will rise and collapse.
    Instant yeast just doesn’t need proofing or dissolving in water. One can just mix it in with the dry ingredients and skip the dissolving and proofing step.
    As already noted, unexpired active dry yeast also doesn’t really need to be proofed – instructions to proof yeast are mostly a relic of the days when yeast was more unreliable – but if kneading by hand or with a mixer, ideally one would dissolve the active dry in liquid to make sure it’s fully dissolved and will be distribute evenly in the dough (my experience, also as noted, is that this happens with active dry of its own accord in the bread machine, but I wouldn’t skip dissolving active dry yeast if kneading by hand or standard mixer.)

  115. Gina

    I Hope this is ok. I am actually sending a message to Alex! Congrats on your first 5K!!! Enjoy your running and beware! One 5K turns into 10K, Half, and then Marathon!! It’s a great road to start down!!! Happy running!!

  116. yeasty

    Hopefully my final yeasty comment. Up until today, I thought the reason that rapid riseand bread machine and instant yeast might be equated is that none of these need to be proofed or dissolved and that some bread machines have a rapid rise (quick) cycle that calls for rapid rise yeast and a regular cycle for regular yeast (Instant yeast or active dry yeast). But I am thinking that the first comment in the discussion at the link below is correct and there is variation between manufacters in how they label their yeasts:
    http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2815/active-yeast-vs-instant-yeast

    the fleishman’s yeast website says that rapid rise and bread machine and instant yeast are all the same yeast! Red star yeast says, if I understand them, otherwise, as does king arthur flour, as does my experience (I confess to rarely using fleishman’s brand yeast). So there may be a labeling issue and manufacturer differences to deal with also, goody.

  117. ConflictedPrimal

    Absolutely delicious, even with my substitutions and my odd rising times, for the apple-cinnamon version: used 2 c whole wheat flour, so only needed an additional 1.5 c white flour (I think whole wheat absorbs more moisture?); 3/4 c almond milk plus 2 & 1/4 tsp lemon juice in place of the buttermilk; and coconut oil instead of butter. Mixed it up by hand and kneaded without a problem–dough was just moist, not sticky. The house was cold, so I let the dough rise for 1 hr in warm oven covered with damp towel, then 1 hr on counter covered by same damp towel–then life got in the way (ie, I was too tired to roll it out before bed), so I put it in the fridge for an additional 8.5 hours while I slept. Rolled dough out the next morning (discovered I was short on cinnamon, so used 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and heaping 1/4 tsp allspice). Accidentally minced instead of diced the apples, which came out so small I can’t really taste them–oops! I put the assembled buns in the fridge for the 2nd rise but cut it short (only did 5 hrs 35 min), then baked them. The buns still rose beautifully in the oven. Mmm, amazing!

  118. Shelly

    I took your advice and made these this weekend-divine!! I love the sour-sweet combo. I gave half the recipe in a gorgeous pan as a housewarming gift. They’re now making them for Christmas morning-boom, you are famous ;). Thank you!!

    I love Gail’s idea of sour cherries and lemon-my husband would love that!

  119. Vidya

    I saw these and had to have them TODAY. I however did not have half the required ingredients on hand – including butter – and it’s too rainy to go out to get groceries. So I used the Pioneer Woman cinnamon roll dough and worked in some orange zest, and filled it with a mixture of ground cinnamon, sugar and some rhubarb vanilla bean compote from my freezer. And then I used your orange icing to finish. Infinitely messier and completely different to yours, but thanks for the inspiration!

  120. Margie

    These buns are fabulous! Re: equivalents – I substituted plain Greek yogurt for the buttermilk (because that’s what was in the fridge) and it was fine. Also, I totally agree with you about the KA Pro – it was a special gift from my husband but the bowl rattles and I can’t stand trying to pour flour, etc. into a stationary bowl. I wind up with some mess around and on the mixer. I’d take the old KA back in a heartbeat.

  121. Ellen

    I made the cranberry version for a Saturday morning meeting, proofing them overnight in the frig, and they were outstanding. Only had regular yeast so decreased the buttermilk by 1/4 cup and dissolved it in water. Thanks for this great recipe!

  122. Patty in STL

    I made these Saturday – and didn’t read the comments until AFTER I put them together about proofing the yeast if it wasn’t “instant.” Thought they would be good but short (maybe hockey pucks). After leaving them out for an hour before baking, they rose to the occasion and were amazing! Taste, looks, height, everything!

    I was nominated for baking sainthood by my family! Thanks for the great recipe, as usual.

  123. Lucy B.

    I made these over the weekend and they were OUTSTANDING! The dough was very tender, the rolls moist & just the perfect combination of sweet & tart. I make my dough in my Zojirushi bread machine by dumping in all of the dough ingredients, setting it on the “dough” setting and walking away for 2 hours. When I come back the dough is ready for me to move onto the next step. [Note: I never, ever bake in my bread machine and truly consider it a “dough machine”. I’ve been making my dough this way for nearly 25 years and couldn’t live without it.]

  124. Just curious…how’d you get the frosting on yours so white? Not that it’s a big deal since flavor-wise my light-orange frosting is good…but it’s definitely not a pretty white.

    And thanks for all the great recipes! This is my first time making anything using yeast, and it was SUCH a pleasure.

  125. Betsy

    Kristine, I know the answer to that question. As an ex wedding cake baker, the secret is to use (artificial) vanilla flavoring. It isn’t as tasty, frankly, but you do get a white, white frosting.

  126. Gabi

    Update on my too-short-too-thick dough: it was good! Needed a bit more cooking time to get it really toasty and puffed, but overall fantastic. I’ll roll it out properly next time, only because it will look much prettier.

  127. First, these look fabulous. Second, I’m a swimmer! But, even after a year & a half, I haven’t found a good pool in Manhattan that fits my budget. Help! So I’ve been forced to try the running-without-being-chased thing. And I hate it. Although, I suppose running AND being chased would be worse. Any pool suggestions in the city?

  128. deb

    Kristine — Actually, it’s because I’m a jerk and I realize that I forgot to tell you guys (I mean, this post was so long, it’s amazing that I left anything out, ha) that I used lemon juice because I thought I wanted a sharp lemon icing. But it wasn’t that special, maybe even a little clashy, and orange made more sense. Plus, using the juice of a lemon and the zest of an orange felt… inefficient.

    P.S. I’ve heard the artificial vanilla tip before but I never, ever use it. It’s one of those flavors I’m incredibly sensitive to, can taste it a mile away, and it makes me sad that many bakeries would rather use something artificial that (for me) ruins it rather than just skipping it so the frosting can taste like not-bad-at-all butter and sugar. I know, I’m such a pill. :)

    Kelsamur — The city has a whole bunch of pretty good (some Olympic) pools that residents can join for much, much less than a gym. Here’s the list.

  129. judy

    This was my first foray into making buns from scratch…….amazing! My husband and I road tested these on a snowy saturday and decided this IS christmas breakfast for 2013.
    Love your recipes in fact we were so smitten we just bought the book!
    Thanks Deb

  130. kathy

    I live in San Francisco and just went to Lucky, Andronico (upscale, pricey) .. no instant yeast. One big produce place had a packet of instant by a Dr. O…something for $2. Why is it so hard to find? I already have a really BIG red star active dry yeast that I haven’t even opened yet; guess I’ll just use that. Should I do like Ellen above and decrease buttermilk by 1/4 cup and dissolve the red star in 1/4 cup water?

  131. Lori

    Yes! I must bake these before the season ends! Thanks for the great idea!
    And, your son could not get any cuter. Those brown eyes! >Swoon<

  132. I only discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and have spent the time since trawling back through the years of posts, salivating over some of the recipes you have provided. What makes this blog such a pleasure to peruse is the quality of every one of the photos you use to illustrate each recipe. You have a knack for conveying though this medium alone the mouthwatering qualities of your recipes and tempting me to leave off reading to satisfy my tastebuds by recreating some of these inspiring recipes. Thank you!

  133. Heidi N.

    Made these last night/this morning with a couple of errors, but they turned out fine anyway:
    #1 I bake a lot but rarely with yeast, so I made the mistake of buying active dry and did not know to proof it first–just mixed it right in (had no idea there was a difference). It rose fine…not as well as it should have, I think. My dough was very dry (possibly because I overcooked the butter a bit when melting, and some of it may have cooked off), so I added 1 tsp almond oil to moisten the dough and finish incorporating the flour. No stand mixer, so kneading by hand with dry dough took a long time, and I was afraid the dough would be tough, but they turned out fine.
    Mistake # 2 I rolled the dough the wrong way (rolled the 12″ edge, not the 18″ edge), so they were shorter and wider but much more swirly. All these minor mishaps aside, they tasted really good, and my coworkers gobbled them up joyfully this morning. And now I know better for next time. :)

  134. I made this for my class on Monday and they came out fantastic. The combination of the flavors is perfect!

    The rise didn’t equal what I see here, though; the first rise, the dough didn’t fully double even after two and a half hours, and of course the overnight rise didn’t fix that problem. Could it be that I underkneaded it? I was doing it by hand, and the dough came together relatively quickly and was no longer sticky more like four minutes into the knead than five or six. It wasn’t a huge problem either way. They still rose, just not dramatically.

  135. Stefanie

    Don’t laugh, but my estician (sp?) told me to try using egg whites as a facial mask. Let it dry on, and it tightens and firms your skin while also reducing pores. I tried it, and it actually felt pretty good!

  136. Hi, made the orange rolls, and wanted to find out why the cranberry juice leaked out.
    When I took the 9 x 13 pan out of the fridge the next morning, they were sitting in a pool of cranberry juice. Did I do something wrong?

  137. Chrissy

    Swimmer solidarity! I swam for years and years, all through college, and now fumble through occasional laps at my neighborhood pool. It’s such a treat in the cold weather, when a run sounds as enticing as artificial vanilla (solidarity there too) (I am just going to fist bump you for all of the above, if that’s cool?) Plus, regulars-at-the-pool retired ladies might be my most favorite population to peoplewatch.

    Now, to get down to business–the most serious sort, that of must. make. these. rolls. now.–I’m trying to finagle bringing this with me on a weekend away where there’ll be a pretty ill-equipped kitchen. I’d like to make them ahead of time, but that means they’ll be in transit for at least 3 hours during their refrigeration time. Will this totally screw up the dough’s rising? Yeast, it intimidates me!

    I hope it won’t. I’ll be on an island in the Puget Sound where all will be wrapped in gray and mist and evergreen and waking up to these sounds like a dream, and a must.

    1. deb

      Chrissy — The retired ladies are the best… until you realize that one swims quite a bit faster than you, as I have recently. She’s about 70. ;) What about bringing the dough and letting it rise in the car (or the trunk, so it’s cooler, and may not rise as/too much in 3 hours)… then preparing the filling when you get there (or bringing it in a separate container) and letting them sit overnight in the fridge where you’re going?

  138. Katie

    I made these last night through to putting them in the pans and then put them in the freezer to bake on Thanksgiving, but I had to taste so I baked off the end pieces and WOW. So good! I didn’t even wait for those to rise a second time and they didn’t have nearly as much filling as the others and they were still great. I’m so excited for the real deal next week!

  139. Chrissy

    Thanks for the reply, Deb! Will do. I’ll be shuttling the dough from bus to ferry to bus again and am just going to hope the wonky shift in temperatures does minimal damage. Buns or bust. The hero status I’ll gain surprising everyone with these tomorrow morning is indebted to you.

  140. shannon

    Delicious! Nice and “fresh” tasting. Very light. The only change I made was no icing. Instead I made it a “sticky bun” by mixing butter, brown sugar, cranberry and orange juices in a saucepan. Poured into bottom of pan, with buns on top. Flipped them out and very “cranberry/orangish”. What a wonderful addition to holiday brunch table.

  141. Terrie

    HI, I would like to make these for Thanksgiving morning. My dilemma is that we are headed to Oregon on Tuesday. We are going to friends in Vancouver and then head to the beach on Wed. to my husband’s family reunion at a Christian camp. I will have access to a commercial oven to bake them, but I will not be able to put the dough together at either location. My plan is to make them before we leave. Should I freeze the dough an then bake there? Or bake them and then freeze them and warm them up Thursday morning. I really want to do these, but I am not sure its feasible.
    Thank you.

    1. deb

      Terrie — Is it cold where you are? If so, I think you can consider time that the buns are in the trunk as part of the refrigerator rising time, just baking them when you get there.

  142. Mai Lowe

    Hi Deb, In the recipe you don’t indicate any temperature for the liquids before they get added to the yeast. Can everything just be room/fridge temperature since you don’t indicate? I thought that the yeast needs the warmth to get activated? Can you clarify? I actually just tried to make your chocolate chip brioche pretzels from your cookbook and it also didn’t indicate a temp. I wasn’t sure what to do and in the end the dough never rose :(. Thanks in advance and thank you for all the DELICIOUSNESS you share with us!

  143. Alexandra

    hi, I made these and they are so precious (the good part). But I made a mistake: Instead of preparing the buns and then let them refrigerate, I refrigerated the dough and then prepare the buns and then put them in the oven. Why read all the post carefully – I mean I had 16 hrs to read…?! well I don’t know if because of this, but the sugar just melted while cooking and made a big burned caramel mess at the bottom of the pan. In the end I removed the bottom of the buns and they were very good. I will do it again just to prove that I can be carefull:).

  144. Anna

    Just made these and it’s so hard to stop after eating just one. They are delicious! And a note about yeast from my experience: it is not necessary to proof the yeast, as Deb recently “proofed” (sorry) with her excellent pizza crust recipe. I just threw all the ingredients together and it rose beautifully and perfectly (I did let it rise in a barely warm oven for the first rise.) Yum!

  145. Steph M

    I made these this morning. Absolutely amazing! I was a bit lazy and let the bread machine make the dough for me last night. I also deviated and made an orange cream cheese glaze and it was phenomenal. These will be making regular appearances around my home!

  146. Jessica

    I made these this morning and they were incredible! I did a half batch and baked them in a 9″ round white ceramic baking dish. I had to use zest from clementines because my grocery store had NO oranges (weird) and I used the half milk half orange juice substitution for the buttermilk. For eggs I used 3 yolks and a little bit of one egg white.

    Anyway, Deb, thank you for sharing. I’m relatively new to cooking and this is one of those things that I feel pretty amazed to have made from scratch!

  147. Madeline

    So, I’ve tried these 3 times now and while the first two times I know where I messed up, I’m not sure exactly what happened on the third time, which I was hoping was the charm. What am I doing wrong? I feel like now I need to repeat them until I get it right! (why yes, I am a little bit of a keener, why do you ask?)

    I should say first that I don’t have a mixer, although I desperately want one (maybe for my birthday this year….). They just didn’t puff up well. They rose fine the first time (although it was more than 2.5 hours), and I let them rise a bit outside the fridge before putting them in for overnight. Was this my mistake? Maybe my fridge is too cold? I took them out of the fridge for about 45 minutes before putting them in the oven and while they are not bad, they are not super soft and puffy – I made the pumpkin ones you posted a while back and those turned out AWESOME – I was hoping for the same thing with these. Is it just that I really need a mixer to get everything worked in?

  148. Harv

    Just made these last night/ this morning… WOW!!!
    A couple tweaks/tips I did:
    – I used the juice from the orange I zested and added equal amount of whole milk to make 3/4 cup of buttermilk. I used active dry yeast and warmed the buttermilk mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds until just warm to touch, then added the yeast and let it sit for a few minutes while I melted the butter and cracked the eggs.
    – After mixing the dough I let it set at room temperature for 2 hours with barely any visible rise in the dough, so I turned on the oven to 200 degrees F then turned it off, covered the dough bowl with a damp tea towel, and set it in there to rise for an hour or so with excellent results in doubling size.
    – I mixed the rest of the orange zest in with the cranberry rubble (love that term!) to make sure it distributed evenly and after rolling out the dough direct from the bowl, sprinkled on the brown sugar then cranberry mixture.
    – I cut the buns with about an 18-inch length of unflavored dental floss which worked perfectly – slide it under the end, cross over the top, wrap extra around your fingers and pull steadily to get a nice non-squished bun.
    – This morning, the buns didn’t seem to rise much despite sitting outside the fridge for 2 hours, but I put them in the oven (325 for glass pyrex pan) anyways for about 25-27 minutes and they puffed up nicely! Perhaps it was because my yeast is on the older side that it didn’t rise as I expected. There was just enough cranberry juice at the bottom of the pan that it soaked up while cooking. I ended up using orange juice from a carton for the frosting. These buns have an absolutely amazing taste and a light, fluffy texture!
    I’m contemplating how I can tweak these to show off at Thanksgiving dinner/ dessert. Perhaps cutting the long rolled out dough in half lengthwise to make two 6×18 inch flats, then rolling up smaller mini-buns that could be near bite-sized. Cooking time would be shorter, and would need two pans. I may also try a cream cheese frosting to balance out the sweetness. Definitely added this to the “to be repeated” recipe file!!

  149. deb

    Mai Lowe — Instant yeast doesn’t need to be proofed in warm liquids first. Technically speaking, neither does Active Dry, but it’s typical to do so (in warm liquids, looking for it to foam a bit before starting) to make sure it hasn’t gone bad. For Active Dry, it also speeds it up how fast it works.

  150. AndreaC

    Made these this morning, just added a double handful of finely chopped walnuts ’cause I had them left over from another recipe. Nummy nummy!!

  151. Leigh

    Glad to see that yours also had the cranberry juice leaking out. Mine are in the fridge for the final rise. I’m baking them for grandparents day at my son’s school. It’s our first year at the school and I’ve heard that the grandparents are very judgie about the baked goods.

  152. Terrie

    It will be cold. It may be sitting in a cooler in the back of our truck. Its a 10 hour drive from Sacramento, CA to Vancouver, WA. The 2 hours the next day from Vancouver to Rockaway Beach, OR. I am thinking it will stay pretty cold, because temperatures will be in the low forties to high thirties. Thanks for the feedback. Can’t wait to try them.

  153. Jamie

    These were absolutely delicious! I was wondering how different would the flavor be if allowed to proof the second time on the counter for a couple hours versus in the fridge overnight?

  154. Kirsten

    I made these last night and baked them off this morning. They were excellent and extremely tender- thanks to the egg yolks, I think, which also contributed a beautiful color.
    My only remark is that mine did not brown up like those pictured- they were golden when done, not golden brown. I baked in stoneware and they took less than 30 minutes to reach 190. I left them in a few minutes longer than I should have to try to get the right color, and some of the bottoms got a bit “carmelized”, shall we say. But still delicious. I am going to make another double batch tomorrow, half apple cinnamon and half cranberry orange. Thanks, Deb!

  155. Alison W

    This morning I made these breakfast buns (but used the cinnamon/brown sugar variation) as a thank you for my son’s wrestling coaches. They are offering extra morning practices during this week’s school vacation so I baked them and gave them out to the coaches after practices finished. The orange zest made the dough smell so good! We’re having a cold snap so these hot breakfast buns were a big winner! Thanks for the easy to read instructions for us first timers and I really appreciate the pictures.

  156. Jennifer. M

    Deb,

    Made these on Sunday for a baby shower brunch. They were amazing! I found that the first rise didn’t take the entire 2.5 hours, more like an hour…the dough sat on top of my stove which was cooling from an earlier use…perhaps the warmth sped up the process. also, I misread the recipe and combined the cranberries, sugar and butter while it was rising so I had a delicious soupy concoction to spread on the dough…a bit messier, but totally delicious! Thanks for your amazing- ness…it’s on to sweet potato cake tonight!!!

  157. Courtney P

    Oh wow! This has been permanent tab in my browser since you posted it. I finally was brave enough last night and everything turned out beautifully! I’ve never made my own dough before so I was super intimidated- but now that I’ve seen how easy it is, I’ll be making these many more times! Even my lack of cutting uniform 1.5 inch buns and having these weird end pieces, they all baked up beautifully to my surprise. I look like a pro!

    Thanks Deb for once again giving me a perfect recipe to impress my husband (and our respective coworkers) with! :)

  158. Will definitely be trying these. I once made a version of your dreamy cream scones with orange zest and chopped fresh cranberries and they were terrific– I, too, am weary of dried cranberries.
    I have made the cinnamon swirl buns from the post where Jacob was announced twice in the last month and am sure that my friends will enjoy these just as much if not more than their cinnamon scented cousins. Thank you for sharing and may you have a very happy Thanksgivukkah;)

  159. NancyR

    Happy Thanksgiving, and today I’d like to say that I am thankful for the smitten kitchen. I have these buns in the oven for breakfast, the apple slab pie is made, green bean casserole is prepped, and zucchini galette and apple-herb stuffing are happening, too. Deb taught me how to Cook.

  160. Andy

    These are in rising on the counter getting ready to be baked. You, Deb, are making our Thanksgiving wonderful.

    Thank you for all you do, and for the wonderful flavors you’ve brought to our home. We are thankful!

  161. Sadie

    I made these for Thanksgiving breakfast, yum. The dough didn’t stick( I hand kneaded it) and I made 8 large buns instead of 12, there was a little too much icing, but really, mhmmmmm:)
    Thanks!

  162. Pilar

    I also made these for Thanksgiving morning. I went with the cream cheese frosting and added a bit of orange zest. They were totally unbelieveably fabulous! A HUGE hit. How many different ways can I say thank you for this lovely treat? MMMMMMMMM!!

  163. KentuckyKate

    Thank you so much for these! Big, Big hit with our Thanksgiving Houseguests (not to mention their host and hostess!). Definitely, a keeper.

  164. jennifer

    I made these for Thanksgiving day breakfast with the cream cheese frosting – they were absolutely gorgeous and sinfully delicious. So delicious, in fact, that my mother asked for your cookbook for her Christmas gift! :) These will definitely become part of our family tradition – thank you!

  165. Coleen

    Hi, I’ve tried this recipe and just put active dried yeast (which generally people reconstitute in warm liquid) straight into the mixture-I do this when I’m baking bread dough and it works well-but the dough just looks like a very inactive lump in the bowl after two hours. This is my 3rd time trying a sweet dough recipe with thus result. Temp of room is good, same temp yields good results for bread dough. What could be going wrong?

  166. ExperimentalBaker23

    Hi Deb!

    Love this recipe so much! I used the dough minus the orange zest to make pumpkin rolls, classic cinnamon rolls and for a savory twist I cut up some leftover ham, cheddar cheese, green onions, slathered the dough with Dijon mustard, rolled it all up and voila! Ham and cheese rolls! They were amazing, thanks so much for the recipe. This will now be my go to dough!

  167. Kate

    Deb,
    These were absolutely amazing…thanks for all the details in the recipe and for the fantastic results. I made these for my family the day before Thanksgiving, and they didn’t last long.

  168. Cera

    Deb, is there any dairy free alternative to buttermilk that would work in this recipe? My son has a dairy allergy, and while we have an alternative for butter, I do not know of one for buttermilk. Thanks!

  169. Carrie

    Oh. My. These were amazing! We made ours with clementines rather than oranges, because that’s all we had on hand. Loved every bite! Also, I only had dry active yeast, and used my baker grandfather’s proofing method. .. rather than warming the buttermilk, just place the room temp milk and yeast in a bowl, and place that bowl in a second larger bowl of hot water for a few minutes (think double boiler without the boiling). You don’t get a foamy result, but it’s enough to wake the yeast up without scalding the milk and changing the
    flavor. The first rise was slower… maybe 4 hours to double, but the second rise was perfect.

  170. Kat

    These were soooooo delicious!! Thank you, Deb! I’m always wary of cranberry in pastries because they seem to always contain icky “craisins”.

    To Cera at comment 272: In addition to the regular buns, I also made a vegan batch (7 people for brunch, one of them vegan. Didn’t want him to be left out), using the dough from this recipe:
    http://minimalistbaker.com/the-worlds-easiest-cinnamon-rolls/

    It’s not nearly as rich a dough (obviously, as it doesn’t contain 5 egg yolks!!), but still soft and sweet and yeasty. I added the orange zest to the dough, as Deb instructs, and then followed Deb’s directions for the rest of the filling/assembly

  171. Theresa

    I made these over the weekend and they were a hit. I’ve also made several of your recipes. Gnocchi, YUM!! Bolognese, OMG, the Best! So, I haven’t bought a cookbook in more than 13 years and swore I would not buy one again since I have a rather large collection. Well, never say never. I purchased your cookbook over the weekend and now have several new recipes to try. I also enjoy reading how you came about each recipe. Thanks for such a great blog and cookbook.

  172. Randi

    They are in the fridge right now rising for Christmas breakfast and I am SO EXCITED! I made the apple version a few months ago but they came out EXTREMELY dry. I don’t know what happened but they were still pretty tasty. This time though everything seems to have worked perfectly. I can’t wait! Merry Christmas!

  173. Ariel

    Okay, it’s Christmas morning and I made these last night, stuck them in the fridge, and they didn’t rise a second time. :-(
    Right now I have the tray in the oven with the light on hoping it will warm up a bit and they will rise soon. I’m using active dry yeast (oops… I had some selective reading of your ingredients list), and I’m hoping this didn’t mess things up too much.

  174. Ariel

    Turning the oven on low and shutting it off worked :-) They were delicious! I wonder how many I could have while still saving room for Christmas dinner…

  175. Catherine

    Just made a double batch of these for a 15 person christmas breakfast. They were SO SO good and totally stole the show. Thanks Deb!!!

  176. Meg

    Made these last night and had them for Christmas morning brunch. Delicious! I wanted to comment about freezing: I made the cinnamon version a few weeks ago an only baked half. The other half I had frozen. I let them sit in the fridge for 24 hours, then took them out. I think I let them warm up on the counter for 2 hours (was busy baking cookies), as after half an hour they didn’t seem fully risen. They baked up just as nice as the first half.

  177. Christine

    I made these for Christmas morning, and while they were quite good, I think they were a bit on the sweet side. The dough itself was very easy to work with and very nice and soft and tasty. I think next time, I would swap some of the flour for white whole wheat flour and add some cinnamon and other spices….I just found the cranberry/orange combination a bit lackluster….and I used wild cranberries that are quite tart.

  178. Amy

    Oh, Deb! I whipped these up on Christmas Eve, to bake for breakfast Christmas morning, and they are beyond divine. My husband, who is not a big sweets guy, loved them, and all three of my littles inhaled them and asked for seconds. It was my first successful endeavor baking with yeast, and for that I thank you for such great instructions…I no longer feel intimidated by all my past failures. As for the ahem, judgmental, commenter above who asked why anyone would eat such a thing for breakfast, I say live a little! All things in moderation, and why in the world are you reading this blog if that’s what you have to say about such an inspired recipe!

    I adore you, this blog, and your cookbook! The fact that you’re anti-running and pro-swimming only makes me adore you more :-) Happy new year!

  179. I must report that, for the filling, if you substitute half of the light brown sugar with light muscovado sugar (ya know, for extra heartiness), and then pack them in little bamboo steamers, followed by wrapping the whole ensemble with the usual ribbon-y fuss, and then give them away as Christmas gifts with the strict instruction to eat during the lazy morning of December six and twenty – there can only be tidings of great joy in every home where these buns have exerted their jolly presence.

  180. Mellybrown

    I made these for Christmas morning breakfast and wow, so yummy. The cranberries get all jammy and they are just delightful. I preferred mine without any glaze. And the dough is just dreamy to work with. Thanks for a great recipe!

  181. Danica

    I also made these for Christmas morning – and they were very popular! I was glad I made a double batch, especially since at least one person said they were their favorite food of the holiday. Success! :) It looks like none of the other commenters who made a double batch mentioned this, but I ended up not adding all the flour the “doubled” recipe called for as it would have been too much/tough. (I was left with nearly a cup extra flour.) Is it possible that this is a factor of doubling the recipe?

  182. Rachael M.

    I also made these for Christmas morning, to great acclaim. I made an orange-cream cheese glaze, and I successfully froze the dough immediately after making it, then let it thaw and proceeded with the rest of the recipe as directed. I’m already dreaming of other flavor combinations to use with the dough. Nutella next, maybe? Thanks for this amazing recipe.

  183. Dan

    I made these breakfast buns on Christmas Eve and baked them Christmas morning for my wife and daughters. They were a huge hit! They all said they were the best they have ever tasted. These have now become part of our Christmas tradition along with Prime Rib for dinner and Chocolate Soufflé for dessert. Thank you for sharing!

  184. Nancy

    I still had some fresh cranberries in the fridge from a trip through Wisconsin, then found this recipe. I prepared the buns on New Years Eve, and baked them this morning when we got up. Everything about them was perfect! What a delicious way to start 2014. Happy New Year!

  185. Marigold J

    This is the recipe that quelled my fear of yeast. I made the braided lemon bread when that recipe was first published and it turned out great…and I thought it was just a fluke, because when my mom tried to teach me how to make bread when I was a kid, I ALWAYS ran into problems. Bread made by childhood me was flat, tasted dull and never came out of the oven looking like bread. I quietly went back to cooking anything that did not contain yeast and thought no more of putting the dough hook on my stand mixer to use.

    Fast forward four years, and I decided to try this recipe. If this recipe turned out well, I swore that I would never be weighed down by the shackles of fear again. And, no surprises here, it turned out amazing. I used an apple and walnut filling and a vanilla glaze. It took me to the age of 30, but with the good Lord (and all the internet) as my witness, I will NEVER be afraid of yeast again! Thank you, Deb, for making these recipes so approachable, easy to understand and luring enough that even the most timid of cooks is willing to try them out.

  186. Julie

    Words can’t express how gorgeous this recipe is. We are big big fans of the orange-cranberry combination in our household, and I was so excited when I saw this recipe that I screeched out loud at my computer. The rolls didn’t disappoint. I even messed them up a little — I mis-read the instructions and ground up the cranberries, sugar, and orange zest together in the food processor instead of just the berries, which made the filling much more liquidy than in yours. When I realized what I’d done I was worried that the juice would all just drain out to the bottom of the pan, but it really didn’t — the filling stayed in and made the rolls delicious and tender with a beautiful even layer of cranberries. I might even do it that way again in the future! And I’ve been dreaming up all kinds of variations to try…

  187. tarchin

    Hi, I’ve been following this blog for about 3 three years, tried so many recipes that I enjoy making them. So thanks for this great recipes, photos and sincere writing. Here in Turkey we have buns like this which is made with poppyseed paste and when I see this post I immediately made with it, of cource just the dough. Our buns are not supposed to be a dessert so I didn’t put sugar, but used some mollases instead for the flavor. And also I replaced one fourth of the flour with whole rye flour just to give it a try on my third baking of theese. And I have to say that this was the best one. I also skipped the orange zest, halved the recipe and used one egg yolk and one whole egg, and replaced the buttermilk with homemade yogurt. It is just wonderful with freshly brewed tea. If you could find poopyseed paste over there I strickly recommend it that way. And I only can envy yours, since we can’t find cranberries here.

  188. Christine

    So. Good. Thank you so much for providing weights for dry ingredients too– it does NOT go unappreciated. You’re the bomb.

  189. Cara

    This fabulous recipe was the hands down favorite of my Christmas brunch. I saw there was a lot of interest in freezing rolls, so I thought I’d come back to share how I successfully did so. The weekend before, I made the rolls right up until the point you’d normally put them in the fridge for the overnight rise. Instead, I wrapped the pan well and froze it. On Christmas eve, I pulled the entire thing out of the freezer at about six pm and left the rolls at room temperature overnight. (I loosened the wrapping to allow space for them to rise.) The next morning they had risen beautifully, and I successfully baked them off.

    Also, because I am weak-willed, I am currently making a cinnamon batch. I don’t ever have buttermilk in the house and again used your alternative suggestion (which is different from my normal substitute). A quick taste of the dough revealed a lovely hint of orange to the dough even without the zest. I think its going to be a great addition to my cinnamon rolls.

  190. mary

    I also made these for our family’s Christmas brunch and they were a HUGE success! everyone loved them. I accidentally doubled the cranberries (i got a bit overexcited about cranberries and diced the whole package) and they still turned out delicious–maybe slightly jammy-er and stickier, but still amazing!

  191. Lynne

    I”ve made these twice – for Thanksgiving morning and for Christmas morning. They were a hit with everyone! Thanks so much! Next time – I’m going to give cream cheese frosting with a bit of orange zest a try.

  192. I used to make cinnamon/raisin/pecan sticky buns for Christmas morning. My daughter is now allergic to cinnamon so my quest for another breakfast roll led me here. I made the cinnamon ones (using your dough minus the orange zest) for Christmas morning and when my daughter & her husband came made the cranberry orange buns— wonderful!! Think next year will try the cream cheese icing with the zest.

  193. Virginia

    DELICIOUS!! Per your suggestion, I used this dough recipe to make your “cinnamon swirl buns” on Christmas day. Everyone went crazy over them! I made them immediately after attempting a Croquembouche (which was a disaster… I cried), so I was feeling pessimistic about my ability to make these. They actually were incredibly simple to make! They don’t require great baking skills, just planning ahead. They’re not a whip-up-at-the-last-moment dish but are so delicious and dramatically high that they’re sure to impress. I did get nervous that mine didn’t appear to rise as much as yours on my 2nd rise, but they got just as big in the oven! This was my first attempt at making cinnamon rolls, and I’m so glad to have this in my arsenal of impressive recipes! Thanks Deb!

  194. Gayle

    I have a lot of trouble getting bread to rise. I think maybe my water/milk is too hot. Can you tell me what thermometer to use to check temps before I add the yeast into the liquid?

    1. deb

      Gayle — Any food thermometer should work. Try to keep it between 110 and 116 degrees. After you’ve checked it a bunch of times with a thermometer, you’ll probably then be able to guess when it’s too hot by touching it. If you’re ever unsure and don’t have a thermometer, err on the cooler/lukewarm side.

    1. deb

      Sure. I have three.

      1. A deep-fry candy thermometer, something like this; it clips to the side of a pot and is good for higher temperatures.

      2. A basic thermometer that I’d recommend to anyone (though digital ones are inexpensively available these days and are easier to read). This is perfect for checking the temperature of meat or that liquid you’re heating up for your yeast.

      3. I have a professional ThermaPen. It’s expensive (though I paid just over half as much as it lists for now, when they had a freak sale) but as I develop a *few* recipes a year for you guys, I wanted to make sure I was getting very precise measurements in my kitchen. It’s wonderful, but I don’t think any home cook should feel that they need one. The $6 thermometer will tell you what you need to know. Enjoy!

  195. Chiara

    Geez, I should’ve read through some of these posts beforehand. I used Active Dry Yeast thinking it was the same as instant and didn’t proof it. I also forgot to add the buttermilk until after I added all the flour so hopefully this dough rises as it should.

  196. Sahar

    Hey Deb, I have made these (with cinnamon), they came out really nice but with a bit taste of yeast.
    I used instant like you said, and they rose really good. The only thing I can think of is that I haven’t spaced them enough. Any ideas why the yeasty taste??

    1. deb

      Sahar — I’m unfamiliar with the yeasty taste, but in general, things that rise faster use more yeast. Things that rise more slowly (as these largely do) use less yeast. The way to use less yeast, and theoretically be less able to taste it, is to dial it back further and give the dough more time to grow.

  197. Chiara

    Update- I had to toss out the first batch of dough that never rose after hours set aside. Tried again but this time proofed the active dry yeast in the buttermilk & it worked wonders. The buns were delicious! Note: the buttermilk did curdle when heated but stirred it up & no big problems.

  198. Carrie

    I couldn’t find frozen cranberries anywhere this time of year, so I decided to take one for the team and try it with raspberries — success! I lined the pan with parchment paper to keep the juices from caramelizing on the pan. For the filling, I brushed on the butter and sprinkled 1/4c sugar on the dough, then ~10-12oz frozen raspberries (broken up with my fingers into smaller pieces) + 1 tablespoon cornstarch sprinkled over the top. It got pretty juicy in the fridge overnight, but the juiced seemed to be soaked up by the buns in the oven. The buns aren’t soggy at all (even a day later), and the raspberry/orange combo is really tasty!

  199. Carrie

    Gayle, my rolls weren’t doubled when I removed them from the fridge either, so I stuck them in a barely warm oven for about 30 minutes and they got a bit bigger. They puff up while they bake. Don’t be discouraged!

  200. ConflictedPrimal

    FYI if interested in freezing these: bake them within the month! I found this out the hard way: when I made this recipe (apple-cinn. variation) for the second time, I divided the buns into two 8 x 8 pans, wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap (used PressNSeal), and froze both pans before the second rise. Four days later, I took the first pan out of the freezer and thawed it in the fridge for a little more than 24 hours. The buns rose beautifully in the fridge, rose a little more while baking, and were absolutely delicious–you’d never guess they’d been frozen. The second pan stayed in the freezer for 2 months, and when I transferred them to the fridge, they thawed but refused to rise for 29 hours in the refrigerator. I baked them anyway and they didn’t rise in the oven either. They still tasted good, so we ate them, but the buns were small and the dough was thin and tough. After that, I did a little research, and found this chart (http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn579.pdf) from the North Dakota State University Extension Service, which says that unbaked rolls should not be frozen for longer than 1 month, because “Longer storage causes yeast to become inactivated and the gluten weakened.” That fits with my experience. I’ll know better next time!

  201. Stephanie

    I have made these twice, both with slight modifications since I can’t find fresh cranberries where I live in Australia. I use a mixture of oranges and lemons and blueberries and raspberries instead and the result is simply DELICIOUS. I found that, in order to reach 190 degrees, I have had to bake the dough to 45 minutes or even a bit longer. I do cover the buns with foil for the last 15 minutes, and nothing seems to dry out or burn even with the extended baking time. Thank you for posting what will be a family favourite for years to come!

  202. Your recipes are my favorite ones to mess with. You’re so precise that they’re very forgiving. I used the dough and apple variation to make bourbon caramel pecan cinnamon buns to use up some leftover caramel from making ice cream. I subbed chopped pecans for the apples and poured a quarter-cup of caramel in the bottom of the pan. It actually worked, which seems like a minor miracle. Anyway, just wanted to reaffirm my love and devotion! Thanks!

  203. Helen

    Like a few others here, this recipe has helped me conquer my fear of baking with yeast. I made one batch of the apple cinnamon version on my husband’s birthday – I did a pastry flour/hard (bread) flour sub because we don’t have AP at the moment. Delicious flavour, but a bit dry for my taste – I’ll adjust baking time or add a bit more liquid next time. Because there will be a next time, oh yes.

    For this morning’s batch I wanted to try a chocolate bun/babka type filling. So I tweaked your chocolate swirl bun filling: instead of 225 g semisweet I used the bittersweet chocolate I had on hand (about 180 g) and added about 60 g semisweet chocolate chips. Then I added about 50g chopped, toasted pecans, and about 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus a smidge more salt, cinnamon and butter too. The idea was to make a bit more filling than your recipe called for because these rolls have more dough than the chocolate swirls do.

    Also, still no AP in the house, so I subbed 7/8 cup hard flour per cup of AP called for.

    FABULOUS. The bittersweet chocolate is so rich, the bun so tender. It wasn’t overly sweet and I watched the baking time closely (about 25 minutes did the trick).

    Thanks so much for the inspiration!! These are our favourite buns now.

  204. PPS: Something else I forgot (sorry – clearly I’m bad at keeping my responses to blog posts short) – the chocolate/nut filling I tried today was very tasty. I’d like it to and a bit more cohesive. Would using brown instead of granulated sugar help, do you think? Would it be fudgy? I think I will have to try this next.

  205. Teodora

    I’ve been looking at this recipe for 2 months now, made this beautiful dough today, waited for 3 hours for it to proof, and realised my dry yeast has expired a month ago… You have no idea how annoyed I am. No. Idea.

  206. Jaclyn

    Thank you for this! Did a practice run with a friend in town this weekend and now have the confidence to make these for the whole family on Christmas morning!

  207. Leah

    I made these several times last year. If I could have gotten away with it, I wouldn’t have shared with my husband and son. I honestly cried last winter when my grocer told me they wouldn’t be getting in any more fresh cranberries. These will be on the thanksgiving breakfast table this year and I can’t wait! (I share this recipe with EVERYone!)

  208. Janai

    Hi Deb, I’m a huge fan of yours! How do you think these would turn out as mini breakfast buns? (24 small vs. 12 regular). Would they be ridiculously small and not worth it?

  209. emily

    Hi Deb, I’m way overdue thanking you for this recipe! I made it last year for Thanksgiving breakfast and it was a huge hit. I do a bulk of the cooking for my family every year, and this is the only thing I’ve ever made that was requested again by every member of my family – independantly of each other! My mom even declared they could take the place of the entire Thanksgiving meal, she liked them so much. In our house breakfast and lunch have always been minor light snacks to satisfy the hunger while waiting for the main event of Thanksgiving dinner. Now we have two exciting meals to celebrate together. Thank you for giving my family a new tradition!

  210. Lynne

    Deb-
    I made these last year for Thanksgiving morning and then again on Christmas morning – and this year’s Thanksgiving batch is in the oven. My family’s new favorite special roll.

    Great job! Thanks for sharing

  211. Amy

    I baked these this morning, and was stunned by how much they puffed in the oven! As a novice cook, I learned an important lesson about rack placement… with a lovely eggy dough, the tops of these rolls are a dark, crusty brown after 15 minutes at 350 (if one doesn’t intuit that the rack needs to be low). Now I know. They aren’t likely to win any beauty contests with the tops carefully sawed off, but they were tall enough and moist enough to still be delicious with a light drizzle of frosting and a cup of tea. I’ll try these again soon, so that I can honestly boast a baking repertoire of two recipes.

  212. Meghan

    These are delicious! I was already a fan of Alton’s overnight cinnamon rolls, and these just take it to a while new level. Next time, instead of apple cinnamon rolls, make apple pecan sticky buns. I put a handful of the chopped apples in the glaze as it cooks, and the rest in the buns with the brown sugar filling. Delicious and a great texture combination with the soft dough, crunchy pecans, and apples that melt in your mouth!

  213. Vickie

    These were delish yesterday at your demo I had to run and make them today. Dough is proofing now! Can’t wait to eat these again. Was so nice meeting you yesterday! Hope you do another demo soon..

  214. Lindsay

    What are your thoughts on making these into muffins, similar to your chocolate swirl buns? Do I need to make the rolls smaller to fit a muffin cup? Thanks!

  215. HACB

    Deb – do you think I could sub eggnog for the buttermilk?

    I plan to use this dough to make cinnamon buns (my mom’s favorite). I also have milk or sour cream on hand. But, was curious if eggnog might add a festive touch to the dough?

    Thank you!!!

    I’ve made these buns a couple of times since you posted and they are delicious!

  216. THESE WERE SO GOOD. I did not make any changes, and I don’t have any “will these work if I use pencil shavings instead of flour” questions – I just want to tell you that this is a damn fine recipe, and thank you.

  217. Jennifer

    I agree with the poster above. I was looking for cinnamon roll recipes for Xmas morning (our tradition) when I came across this one. I went with my original plan and made the cinnamon rolls but was haunted by this one. So last night, I made the dough and this morning, I tasted them. So delicious!!! I know what I’m making next year for Xmas. A new tradition!

  218. Jessica

    I love the flavor of these buns and have made them two New Years Day(s) in a row. But they don’t rise at all overnight in the fridge, nor does the dough really double in size during the first proof. I made sure to buy instant yeast (the first time I made them, I realize I didn’t and just attributed the flat dough to that). But this time around, I followed the recipe to the letter and they still came out dense. Delicious cranberry-orange flavor, but dense dough. Mixing bowl too cold? 70 degrees not room temperature enough? Just curious where my misstep might be, because the dough itself is delicious and I could see baking it as a loaf…?
    Thank you!

  219. deb

    Jessica — I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble. I just scrolled and scrolled because I thought I’d remembered to mention that they’re not going to look doubled or fully proofed when they come out of the fridge in the morning, but not to worry. By the time they’ve been out for a bit and baked, they’re always pillowy and lovely for me. But it doesn’t sound like that happened for you. How long did you do the first rise for? Doesn’t sound like temperature should have been an issue.

  220. Jessica

    Thanks for your comment, Deb. I let them proof the first time for about 2.5 hours, then put them in the fridge for about 14 hours. I let them sit out for almost an hour before I finally got them in the oven. They did rise a little bit better in the oven this time around–not as dense as last time–but nothing like your gorgeous photo. I’m going to give them another shot (this is not a hardship at all). I always store flour in the fridge to prevent bugs, and this time I’ll make sure all my ingredients and my mixing bowl are room temperature, just in case that’s an issue. But I appreciate knowing that they aren’t going to look fully proofed out of the fridge. BTW, my husband ate three right out of the pan, so we really do love them.

  221. Veronica

    Just made these! They were so delicious! The whole family loved them. I have wanted to make these for a while, but was lazy about it. I want instant gratification and don’t want to wait overnight. lol I am glad I finally did it, they were well worth the wait. =D

  222. Mary

    I just found this recipe. Easy and delicious. I’ve made 4 batches in the last two weeks (had to make sure I was doing it right!!) I tweaked this slightly this way….
    1. I didn’t have fresh orange rind so used the dried & let it soak in the buttermilk first – no problem.
    2. I ground FROZEN cranberries in the food processor & was able to get them fine without a big mess. Just stirred in the dried orange rind to soften while rolling out the dough.
    3. I cut the buns only an inch high and got almost 2 doz – a better size for most people.
    4. I used oj concentrate for the icing – gives a wonderful zing & a lovely contrast to the cranberries.

    BTW, mine sat out an hour before baking and came out perfect.

  223. I made these for the first time on thanksgiving for dessert. They were a HUGE hit; everyone loved them. I made a few modifications:
    I used whole eggs, regular sugar, regular yeast, no icing and I reduced the amount of sugar. I had to roll out half the dough at a time because of space so I made 24 small buns instead of the 13 that you made.I also prepared the buns and then froze them for several days before baking. I let them defrost overnight in the fridge, took them out 30 minutes before baking, and they were perfect.

    My second batch is about to come out of the oven. I used the same modifications but did not freeze them this time. The only difference was that they did not seem to rise overnight. I just left them on the counter for a few hours in the morning and they looked good.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  224. Dee

    Hi :) Been following you for a while and I’m always so busy cooking what you post that I never write. Sorry!! But, I had to write you and thank you that your recipes are ALWAYS failproof and delish! You’ve earned me many a kudos and I just had to take a second to send some back your way. These rolls were amazing! Thanks for helping me surprise my family with a yummy breakfast this morning!! You’re the best!

  225. Elizabeth

    I just wanted to add that making these with regular active yeast and no special provision for that substitution (Oops.) still yields a pan of 12 perfectly-risen rolls. In fact, my husband has requested I NOT correct the error because he’s afraid that if they were any puffier they’d be “too bread-y.”

  226. Emily

    I’ve made these numerous times using both the cranberry version and the traditional
    Cinnamon version. My mom has requested these for Easter brunch, but was wondering if they could be made into a mini version. In order to do that, would I just divide the dough in half and roll into two logs, or would I simply cut them 3/4 inch wide? Thanks!

  227. AmyB

    Hey Deb! I’m thinking about a springtime riff on these for Easter brunch, maybe blueberry/lemon? Are there other flavor combinations you’ve tried besides the fall/winter versions? Also, I’m with Emily-what’s the best option for reducing the size of the rolls? Cheers!

  228. deb

    Maybe raspberry-lemon? Definitely like the lemon idea. Raspberries are not going to chop up as dry/crumbly as cranberries, maybe just coarsely puree some and dab it all over the rolled-out dough with the sugar.

    To make minis, I vote for rolling the dough as wide as suggested, but less deep…. maybe just 8 inches so you’ll have smaller spirals. You can cut them into 1-inch segments instead of 1 1/2.

  229. These are so lovely. Like another commenter above, I doubled the amount of cranberries, which was wonderful. The only oranges I had were blood oranges, so the orange zest flavour was maybe a little muted, but the juice for the glaze was a wonderful cranberry colour.

  230. Natasha

    Hi
    Love your recipes and your website :-)

    Kosher salt is not common place in the UK. Is there any way I can substitute with normal table salt? Have you ever tried the recipe with it?

    Looking forward to making your cinnamon rolls this weekend!

    Kind regards
    Natasha

  231. Marlana

    Deb, I came to this recipe because you said it was your current favorite bun dough. I have to tell you, it’s now my favorite too! I halved the recipe, which required a little extra flour, but was otherwise a dream to work with. I froze the rolled buns in a pan, and then let them defrost and rise in a cooler on a camping trip. The best part: I baked them at camp in a cast iron Dutch oven using only charcoal for heat. They were perfect and delicious! Best camping breakfast ever. Thanks. P.S. Your daughter is every bit as scrumptious in your pictures as these buns.

  232. Abbie

    These have become my standard cinnamon rolls, and they’re delicious. I’ve made them many times, so I was not nervous when I decided to make them for friends this past weekend. All was well until I remembered that I definitely did not put in yeast. Not sure how the dough would take to the late involvement of yeast, the rolls became cinnamon roll flat bread. I rolled the dough out thinly, like I would for rolls, and then kept it as a full flat sheet of dough on the pan. I added the butter, cinnamon and sugar, and then when it was done baking, the frosting. And they were really good, more like a cookie, but also not like any cookie that I’ve had. Disaster redeemed!

  233. Linda

    Hi Deb,

    I’m making these and they didn’t rise at all over night (first rise was great). I took them out and they are starting to rise nicely but I’m wondering how much I should allow them to rise before baking? Should the be puffy enough to touch each other, or just puffier than they were when they went in to the fridge last night?

    Thanks!,
    Linda

  234. I tried making the dough in my bread machine (omitting the 2 hour rise since it rises in the machine), and the dough turned out beautifully. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!!

  235. Linda

    Hi Deb, I took them out and let them rise at room temperature and they were AMAZING, thanks for the follow up. Presumably, though, they should have risen overnight in the fridge?

    Sidenote – I love your site and your cookbook. Just picked up a copy for myself and a friend, who is also a fan. She made the red wine chocolate cake for me – wa sit wrong that I ate it for breakfast? :)

  236. Brianna D

    I tried reading all of the comments to find the answer, but it’s late and i want to make these for the morning.. could i let the dough rise overnight in the fridge, then roll them out, and then do a 2.5 hour rise before baking? i REALLY dont want to stay up 2 more hours….hahaha

  237. teri c

    I really like the apple ones so much that tonight I pulled the recipe out to make for Thanksgiving then I see THIS one..you are killing me! I’m gluten free and the rest of the gang is not! Guess they get the goodies! Thanks for the great post and wonderful T.day to you

  238. Rochelle

    I used active dry yeast instead of rapid release.. but I didn’t proof it first. Tried an hour on the counter, then an hour on top of a warm oven. Then a half hour inside of a very low warm oven… and I got worried so it’s sitting back on the top of the oven again. I’m hoping that a longer proof time and it will still rise. Thankfully I’m doing this tonight to test out for thanksgiving morning. Will most likely not make this mistake again….

  239. Kate

    I made these again, but this time I had to make the dough in the morning before work, and put it in the fridge for over 12 hours. I rolled it out cold which worked GREAT! Made the rolls, put them back in the fridge overnight and through the next day and cooked them for a ‘breakfast for dinner’ party that night and they turned out perfectly! LOVE this recipe. I make sure to buy enough cranberries in the fall and freeze them so I will have them all year and then I have to decide if the event warrants using my cranberry stash. For those of us old enough to remember, it is on the Seinfeld shown when Elaine had to decide if men were ‘sponge worthy!’ Ha! Have a great holiday and remember, it is always better with anything you make from The Smitten Kitchen! Peace Joy and Love.

  240. Holmes Ayer

    Curious how long the dough would keep in frig after the first rise? Hoping to make a 2-3 days in advance…any thoughts? Apologies if you’ve already addressed this. Thx!

  241. Shannon

    Deb–cinnamon too clashy but what about cardamom? I had the holiday spice flat white at SBUX a few weeks ago and bells were ringing (for me at least)

  242. These were my first EVER yeasted project, and they were a huge hit.

    Made the recipe as written, except I didn’t have buttermilk and everything was closed by 9 PM on Christmas Eve. After some research, subbed milk with a teaspoon of white vinegar.

    I suspect my oven runs very hot because they were done and on the verge of too-brown at 20 minutes, but thankfully I was watching closely and pulled them out.

    When I make them next, I will use at least 50% more cranberry. But even as written, they caused the family to fight over them :)

  243. pmm

    Just another thank you for this recipe. It is now firmly the Christmas morning breakfast/brunch/I’m not making something elaborate after getting up at the crack of dawn because I did the elaborate meal yesterday staple.

  244. deb

    Holmes — Sorry for the delay. If you’re looking for a longer rise, I might go ahead and do the first rise over a couple days in the fridge, and then a shorter rise for the second. I think the first is more flexible, less at risk to over-rise and collapse. Regardless, should your overnight turn into 1 to 2 days, you’ll probably be fine. It was the 3rd day that made me a little nervous.

  245. Tawni

    Hey Deb, I’m not sure if you are still having trouble with your KA mixer attachments not reaching the bottom of your bowl. But there is a way to lower them closer to the bowl. I can’t remember how exactly, but I have done it before on mine.

  246. deb

    Tawni — Thanks. I did make the adjustment a couple times after writing this and still had trouble with it meeting the bowl, and remained frustrated with the whole purchase (too big for small stuff, attachments not dishwasher safe, plus the tiny gap that was never mixed). Not proud of this (not an ideal way to spend money) but I ended up giving it away and then buying a new 5-quart tilt-head, like I’d always had before. It’s been a little over a year and I’m so happy with it. Live and learn, I guess.

  247. Jessica

    These were my snow day baking adventure! Delish! I made them a bit sweeter with more sugar spread on the dough and baked them in a tray that was just smaller than what you suggested — worked great and got excellent reviews from the snow-bound family. Thanks for a great recipe!

  248. Renee

    Do you think I could use this dough for something like a king cake? Will it stand up to being formed as a big ring and cook through? I’m mostly disappointed with other recipes I’ve tried over the years as I don’t like that slightly dry texture that many enriched breads have.

  249. Lora

    These are a special occasion family favorite! I make the icing with blood orange juice. It cuts the sweetness a tiny bit, and makes for a gorgeous deep pink icing.

  250. Chris

    I have made these several times. The recipe is so solid, works wonderfully every time. My only big change is adding copious amounts of cinnamon, a good bit of nutmeg and a pinch of salt to the brown sugar filling. I just have to. I also add a bit of dried meringue powder to the OJ + powdered sugar icing. Thanks for this gem Deb!

  251. LF

    Just want to chime in on how great and forgiving a recipe this is. I halved the recipe per your guidance but somehow read 4 yolks + 1 egg as 4 eggs + 1 yolk. I used 2 extra large eggs but didn’t realize my mistake until later. (I may have added a bit too much buttermilk too). After 5 minutes of kneading I started adding 1 Tbsp at a a time but not wanting to over knead the dough, stopped after 7 minutes. Still quite sticky I let it proof and figured if it were too wet to make rolls I could make a loaf. (I make a lot of no-knead bread). Well, it was so easy to work with, and made the most delicious soft rolls. This will definitely be my go to recipe for this type of bread. I think it will make a great chocolate babka.

  252. Nell

    Hi Deb, revisiting this recipe as it’s basically my favourite. However – question: how much sugar could you cut out (in order to make a savoury bun) before it loses its lovely soft texture? Here in Australia we have stuff called Vegemite (it’s brilliant, don’t listen to any Americans who tell you otherwise), and cheese and vegemite scrolls are essentially a staple that I am itching to try to make myself.
    Thanks so much!

    1. deb

      Nell — I haven’t tested this without sugar in the dough but as it’s not a huge amount, I suspect you’ll be fine. I have definitely been curious to try Vegemite!

  253. Michaela

    I’ve made these several times and they’re great, with the following notes:

    – double the cranberries. I LOVE cranberries.
    – the hell with slicing the log with a serrated knife; use unflavored unwaxed dental floss.
    – the overnight rise doesn’t seem to do much, so I take them out of the fridge in the morning and let them rise for ninety minutes before baking.