Vanilla Bean Morning Buns – Puff pastry rolled into a bun with vanilla bean sugar, a hint of cinnamon, and baked until puffed and golden brown.
There are so many things I unexpectedly learned from my college job at Starbucks – (1) what to drink when I need the most caffeine possibly, (2) there is not enough fat in half and half to make whipped cream, and (3) there are sooo many pastries that I had never even heard of.
By far, my favorite thing was learning about all the pastries. Sometimes that meant tasting a few – how else am I really going to know how I feel about these new foods?! Some pastries that I learned about while working at Starbucks include: old fashioned doughnuts, seven layer bars, cake pops, pumpkin scones, and today’s recipe…morning buns! Actually, today’s recipe is for Vanilla Bean Morning Buns because I just had to make them extra special. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these babies:
What are morning buns?
When I first had a morning bun, I remember it being a mix between a cinnamon roll and a croissants – flaky, chewy, cinnamony, sugary, delicious. And that’s exactly what it is! They’re basically cinnamon rolls made from croissant dough.
Now, I love making croissants, but that dough is a lot of work and sometimes I just don’t feel like doing all that. So I took a little shortcut with this recipe – I used frozen puff pastry dough. There are a couple other things I did to make these buns unique. Let’s discuss.
How are these vanilla bean morning buns made?
The most distinguishing ingredient in this recipe for mornings buns is the vanilla bean sugar. You can certainly buy vanilla sugar but it’s so so so easy to make so you can just do it yourself.
Vanilla bean sugar is made by scraping out the vanilla bean flecks out of a vanilla bean pod and stirring into white granulated sugar. The longer the vanilla bean sits with the sugar, the deeper the flavor becomes. And the shelf life is a few weeks so you can make the recipe here, use it for the morning buns and then keep the leftovers to use however you like – in your coffee, in your cereal, on your grapefruit, the possibilities are endless!
My favorite part about using the vanilla bean sugar is how gorgeous the vanilla bean flecks look in the dough. How beautiful is that?!
Tips and tricks
To make sure you get these morning buns done right, here are a few tips:
- Pastry dough is very sensitive to temperature. The colder the dough is, the flakier the pastry will be. Therefore, if the dough gets too warm when you’re forming the buns, stick them in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it back up.
- If you are planning ahead, make the vanilla bean sugar as soon as possible. The longer the vanilla and sugar spend together in the jar, the deeper the vanilla flavor gets.
- Do not pull the buns out of the oven until the tops are completely golden brown. The center will still be a little doughy – which is what you want! But if you pull them out too soon, the center will be too raw.
Vanilla Bean Morning Buns
For the morning buns:
- 6 tablespoons vanilla bean sugar divided, see recipe below
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry thawed
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, softened
For the vanilla bean sugar (makes 1.5 cups):
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
For the morning buns:
- Prepare vanilla bean sugar. See recipe below. Then, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick spray and dust with a little vanilla bean sugar in each cup. Tap out the excess. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons vanilla bean sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Remove 1 tablespoons of mixture and place in a separate shallow bowl. Add 2 more tablespoons of vanilla bean sugar to shallow bowl. Set both bowls aside.
- Dust 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean sugar on clean surface. Place one sheet of puff pastry on top of sugar and open it so it's flat. Spread 2 tablespoons of butter on the pastry. Dust evenly with 1/2 of brown sugar mixture. Using a rolling pin, gently roll over the sugar and press it into the dough. Starting on the long end, tightly roll the pastry to make one long log. Cut log in half and then cut each half into 3 pieces to make for 6 pieces. Repeat with other sheet of pastry.
- Place each rolled piece of dough into each cup of the prepared muffin pan, cut side up. Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, or until tops are deep golden brown. Remove from oven. Remove each bun from the pan and roll in shallow bowl with sugar mixture. Set on wire rack to cool for a couple minutes before serving. Serve warm or room temperature. Best enjoyed same day.
For the vanilla bean sugar:
- Add 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar to a glass jar. Split vanilla bean and scrape beans out and add to jar. Place bean shell in jar, as well. Close jar and shake to distribute bean flecks throughout sugar. The longer you let the sugar sit, the deeper the vanilla bean flavor will become.
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