I just made a discovery for myself – Tartine morning buns are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I cannot believe I have not baked them till this day, though I have seen the images and the Tartine Morning Bun recipe floating around the Internet for quite some time. I just did not think of them too much, I guess, as I am somewhat partial to cinnamon buns. This recipe was not included into Chad Robertson’s famous Tartine Bread book, or any other Tartine books for that matter, but it was made available online by the Tartine bakery upon many requests.
So, what makes Tartine morning buns different from cinnamon buns? A lot, actually. They use laminated croissant dough, like croissant and kouign-amman recipes, though the ratio of butter to dough is not as high as in kouign-ammans. They are slightly crusty on the outside and buttery, flaky and tender on the inside, like a perfect croissant. Caramelized sugar makes the crust even more flavorful and exciting to bite into.
Orange zest (or lemon zest) – why no one though of adding it to cinnamon buns? – nicely balances out the sweetness. It’s a perfection that came in the form of a hybrid that incorporates the best qualities of a cinnamon bun, a croissant, and a kouign-amman.
The Tartine morning bun recipe does not use cream cheese frosting, which, in my opinion, is an oversight. I don’t like dollops of cream cheese frosting on anything, but a little bit of not-too-sweet frosting makes these buns taste more balanced by adding some more tangy-ness. They also look more elegant and interesting that way, no question about that. The original recipe, though, calls for coating baked buns in sugar after a 5-10 minute rest. You may try that if you want your buns sweeter and more sugary, or use a little bit of cream cheese frosting, like I did.
I have to tell you, if you want the ultimate, authentic Tartine Morning Bun, you must use the dough for Tartine Croissants which I posted about not long ago. Yes, it takes hours to make it and you need to use sourdough starter, but it’s totally worth it. At least once in a lifetime. But, I am sure, using any other good croissant dough will work very well.
- 2 pounds croissant dough
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- Finely grated zest of 2 medium oranges (I used lemon zest and found it to be a great substitution)
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 tsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, ½ cup white sugar, orange (or lemon) zest, cinnamon and salt. Mixture will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or in the freezer for a month.
- Prepare a 12-muffin capacity muffin tin by generously brushing bottom and sides of each cup with melted butter. Put a teaspoon of sugar in each muffin cup and swirl around to evenly coat. Tap out excess sugar.
- Roll out croissant dough into a ¼-inch thick, 6-inch-by-18-inch rectangle, with the long side in front of you. Brush dough with melted butter, and sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over the whole rectangle—the sugar layer should be about ⅛-inch thick. You may have some of the mixture left over.
- Starting with the long side of the dough, roll rectangle into a cylinder. Cut cylinder into 1½-inch discs. Fit each disc into the buttered and sugared muffin tins so that the swirl pattern is visible on top. You may have some extra rolled bun dough left over or just choose to bake fewer buns (if you do, cut them all and freeze individually on a pan). Once frozen, place in a resealable plastic bag and store in freezer.To bake buns that are frozen: Prepare pan as above, let buns defrost in the prepared cups (this will depend on how warm your kitchen is, about 45 minutes), then continue with step 5.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let rolls rise in a warm but not hot place for approximately 45 minutes. The rising time will vary depending on how cold your dough was to start and how warm a place they are put to rise. They should rise approximately to 1½ times their original size. Place the muffin tin on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or foil to catch any drips while baking.
- Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour or longer, depending on your oven. When done, the tops should be well browned and the sugar melted. Remove pan from oven and immediately turn buns out onto a clean baking sheet or work surface. Let the buns set for 5 to 10 minutes, then frost lightly with cream cheese frosting.
- To prepare the cream cheese frosting, in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Using a had mixer, mix until all ingredients are combined will and the frosting is light an fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- These buns are best eaten the day they are made. If eating the next day, heat them up first in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes before serving.