Pumpkin spice morning buns are an awesome Fall weekend baking project that are easy to make with my step-by-step photos an shortcut use of a food processor! (Jump directly to the recipe.)
It’s hard for me to accept that it’s already November, an entire year since my book Marbled, Swirled, and Layered came out. I feel like I have simultaneously been talking about it forever and also only talking about it for a few weeks. But even though I worked on the book for over three years and then spent the past year promoting it, I’m still not tired of the recipes I made over and over again. In fact, I still use my book in my kitchen, referring to it when I want to develop a recipe, like these pumpkin spice morning buns.
There’s a more traditionally flavored morning bun (cinnamon and orange) in my cookbook which is inspired by the morning buns from Tartine Bakery, which is around the corner from my apartment here in San Francisco. But unlike Tartine’s buns, my recipe is a bit of a “shortcut” recipe, similar to the kouign amann recipe you’ll find here on my blog. And, funny enough, there’s actually a more traditionally laminated dough version of the classic kouign amann recipe in my cookbook which has the multiple folks and turns that so many folks find challenging (I try to explain it as fully as I can in the book though! It’s not as hard as folks think it is).
But these morning buns (both the ones in the book and the one below) is an easier version than the traditional laminated/croissant method. I basically use a modified “blitz” puff pastry method that I learned from Nick Malgeri that requires a food processor. The result is a slightly less flaky, but more rich, almost muffin-like bun, still quite fantastic but with significantly less effort. As I said with my kouign amann recipe, if you can making pie crust, you can make these morning buns.
Of course, my book is still available and would be the perfect gift for Christmas. You can get it at all the regular places online like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local independent bookstore. But if you want a signed copy, you can reach out to Omnivore Books here in San Francisco and order it from them. I’m happy to run over there and sign a copy to you (or whomever you are gifting it to), just tell the folks there who you want me to sign it for! In the book you’ll find my original morning bun recipe in the book, along with 150 other recipes that are great (if I do say so myself). But if you still want a sampling of recipes from the book, here are some recipes from around the web that folks have shared, including the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Design Sponge, Food 52 and numerous other blogger friends of mine. Happy November everyone! I hope your holiday season is off to a great start.
Blondies with Strawberry Balsamic Swirl on New York Times, Leite’s Culinaria and The Food Poet
Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Cream Cheese Chewy Cookies on Washington Post
Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Cobbler on San Francisco Chronicle
White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha Popcorn Brownies (gluten free) on Smith Bites and not gluten free on Oprah Magazine
8 Layer Orange Scented Smith Island Cake on Food 52
Chocolate Cinnamon Babka on Design Sponge
Chocolate Vanilla Checkerboard Cookies on The Ellsworth American
Classic Vanilla and Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake on Simply Recipes and Foodie Crush
Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Brownies on David Lebovitz
Banana Crunch Brownies on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Chocolate and Brown Sugar Buttercream Rolled Cake on Sunday Supper
Apple Spice Brown Butter Tart on Use Real Butter and A Brown Table
Lemon Blackberry Chess Pie on Barbara Bakes
Butterscotch Pumpkin Zebra Pie on Good Food Stories
Malted Chocolate and Reverse Chip Cookies on West of the Loop and Completely Delicious
Cinnamon Honey Bun Cookies on Add a Pinch
Pistachio Swirled Fudge Brownies on Art of the Pie
Triple Chocolate Layer Pie (gluten free) on Bojon Gourmet and not gluten free on That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Jumbo Arnold Palmer Cookies on Sprinkle Bakes
Homemade Ding Dong Cake on Culinary Hill
Rhubarb White Chocolate Tart with Candied Kumquats (gluten free) on Snixy Kitchen
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies on Foodness Gracious
Mango Passion Fruit Italian Cream Cake with Kiwi Buttercream on Pineapple and Coconut
Apple Cinnamon Roll Cobbler on Dessert for Two
Grapefruit and Earl Grey Bread on Kale and Caramel
Pumpkin Spice Morning Buns
By Irvin Lin
Traditional morning buns are basically croissant dough rolled in cinnamon orange sugar and baked in a muffin tin. I use a pumpkin pie spice blend in place of the cinnamon and simplified the croissant dough by using a food processor. You can, of course, use a store-bought pumpkin pie spice blend or use my homemade pumpkin spice blend recipe to make your own. And, because canned pumpkin makes the dough difficult to work with, I use an ingenious substitute, carrot juice! You can get carrot juice at health food stores and specialty stores like Trader Joe’s. Just look for 100% carrot juice. Don’t use blends that have orange or other juices in them, as they have too much sugar and will mess with the chemistry of the dough. No one will know you used carrot juice in the morning buns, but they’ll come out a golden orange color when you bite into them!
1 cup carrot juice, divided
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packages, 14 g) active yeast
3 1/2 cups (490 g) all-purpose flour</span>
1/4 cup (50 g) white granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend
1 1/4 cups (285 g or 2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, refrigerator cold
4 tablespoons (57 g or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons (75 g) white granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest (from one large or two medium oranges)
2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice blend
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup (100 to 150 g) granulated white sugar
1. Make the dough first by pouring 1/2 cup of the carrot juice in a small pot and heating it on high for 10 to 15 seconds until the chill of the carrot juice has been taken off and it is at roughly room temperature or a slightly warmer (don’t bring it to a boil). Sprinkle the yeast over the warm juice and stir to dissolve. Set aside for about 5 minutes or until it starts to bubble.
2. While the yeast proofs, place the flour, both sugars, salt and pumpkin pie spice blend into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the dry ingredients are uniform in color. Cut up 1/4 cup (57 g or 1/2 stick) of butter into 1/2-inch chunks and add to the food processor bowl. Pulse in 1-second increments until the butter is mostly broken up into pebble size bits (it’s ok if a few pieces are bigger). Cut the remaining butter into 1/2-inch chunks and add to the bowl. Pulse twice in 1-second increments. The butter will still be chunky; that’s ok.
3. Once the yeast is bubbly add the remaining carrot juice to the pot and stir together (if the liquid isn’t bubbly, dump it and start over with fresh yeast and new carrot juice). Pour the yeasty juice into the food processor bowl, then pulse an additional 3 times in 1-second increments. Again the butter will still be chunky. A dough won’t form yet, so don’t worry. Empty the entire content on a clean surface and remove the processor blade carefully.
4. Gather all the ingredients together with your hand and start to fold, massage and knead it together until a ball forms. You should only have to do this a few times. Push the dough into a rough rectangle and then sprinkle some flour under the dough and on top of it. Roll the dough out to a 12 x 15 rectangle so the long side is facing you (it should be “landscape” orientation). Fold the top 1/3 of the dough down and then fold the bottom 1/3 of the dough up over that fold, creating a long and skinny 4 x 15 inch rectangle.
5. From the short end, roll the dough up as if you were forming a giant cinnamon bun. You’ll end up with a tall skinny roll with the spiral facing you. Flatten the roll down from the top with the palm of your hand until the dough is roughly 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. Place in a gallon zip-top plastic bag and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Move the bag with the dough in it to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
6. To assemble, brush about 1/2 of the melted butter in the cups of a standard 12 muffin tin. Generously dust the inside of the muffin cups with sugar, about 1 teaspoon per cup, using about 2 tablespoons of sugar total. Place the tin on a rimmed baking sheet. Combine the remaining sugar, brown sugar, orange zest, pumpkin pie spice blend and salt in a bowl with a fork.
7. Once the dough has chilled, take it out of the bag and place it on a clean floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 15 x 21 inch rectangle, with the long side is facing you (again it should be “landscape” orientation). Try to make the corners as “square” as possible. Fold the left edge of the dough 1/3 of the way toward the center, then fold the right edge over the first fold, forming a 7 x 15 inch rectangle with three layers. Turn 90 degrees and roll out until you have an 8 x 18 inch rectangle.
8. Brush the top of the dough with the reserve melted butter then sprinkle the filling over the dough evenly. Tightly roll the dough up from the bottom edge form a long and skinny 18-inch long roll. Slice the dough into 1 1/2-inch pieces and place each bun into the prepared muffin tin swirl side up. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour at room temperature.
9. About 15 minutes before the buns have finished rising, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Once the buns have risen (they won’t have risen much, just about 1 1/2 times and look a little more puffy), remove the plastic wrap and bake in the oven until they are golden brown on top, about 35 to 40 minutes.
10. Once the buns are out of the oven, immediately remove them from the pan with two forks to a wire cooling rack. Don’t touch them with your fingers (they’ll be really hot!) but don’t wait for them to cool, as the sugar will harden and it will be impossible to remove them. Let cool on the rack for a minute or two and then finish them by pour 1/2 cup of granulated sugar into a large heatproof bowl and adding a bun to the sugar. Roll it around the sugar to coat it and then move it back to the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining buns, adding more sugar if needed. Serve immediately.
Makes 12 buns.