There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning to the scent of freshly-baked cinnamon buns. Throw in the excitement and merriment of Christmas morning, and you have the makings for something truly special. Lisa Wong Jackson, the designer behind the paper goods company Good On Paper shared her family’s favorite cinnamon bun recipe with us, a delicious update that features apples and pears. Covered in an apple cider icing and able to be prepared the night before, baking these might just be our new favorite Christmas tradition. Happy holidays and happy eating!
Overnight Apple and Pear Cinnamon Morning Buns
(makes about 12-14 buns depending on how wide you cut them)
For the dough
5 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
¼ cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter melted, plus more to grease the pan
¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
1 packet instant dry yeast
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon oil for coating bowl
For the filling
1 ½ tablespoons butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 apples (I used Fuji which are a bit sweeter so I used less brown sugar in the filling)
2 pears (I used D’Anjou)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the icing
3 ½ tablespoons apple cider
2 cups powdered sugar
Make the dough: In the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter and buttermilk. 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 ¾ 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 sticky. Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough double in volume at room temperature, about 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Prepare the filling: Melt the butter and set it aside. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Finely dice the apples and pears.
Assemble the buns: Butter a 9×13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently roll it into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle with the longest side nearest you. Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle it with the brown sugar/cinnamon/salt mixture. Scatter the diced apples and pears over it.
Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight, 18-inch long spiral. Using a sharp serrated knife, gently saw the log into 1 1/2-inch sections; you should get about 12-14. Arrange the buns evenly spread out in your baking dish. Cover tightly 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. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden, approximately 30-35 minutes.
Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool slightly. Make the icing by whisking the apple cider and powdered sugar together. Drizzle it over the whole pan. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Photography by Sarah Hebenstreit and Lisa Wong Jackson