Rose and Citrus Morning Buns

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I'm truly that obnoxious New Yorker who loves to talk about how I live in the best city, packed with great food, culture and everything in between at every corner. However, I’ve been finding more and more excuses to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life to enjoy calmer weekend getaways in the Hudson Valley. Having gone to culinary school up north, I’ve fallen in love with the area, from the fall foliage to the incredible lineup of eateries. One of my favorite bakeries, Bread Alone, let me tour their space in Kingston, NY, and I’m still dreaming about their morning buns. Comprised of a perfect swirl of laminated dough, I’ve been obsessing over this pastry for the last few weeks. Needless to say, I needed to create a recipe to satisfy my cravings between visits.

Enter these rose and citrus-laced beauties! I used my favorite brioche dough base and fortified it with the zest of an orange, lemon and lime before adding floral rose water for a heavenly aroma. Instead of the classic butter insert for lamination, I used a trick from our Senior Food Editor, Molly Adams, who recommended using grated butter for a quick hack! Once folded and rolled out a schmear of butter and brown sugar was rolled into the perfect swirl. If you love the smell of baked goods perfuming your kitchen, this recipe is going to be a game changer.

The best part? You can prepare it up until you’re ready to bake and just refrigerate overnight until you’re ready to bake in the morning. Then you’ll have the perfect entertaining sweet to satisfy a crowd of sweet tooths (teeth??).

We don’t want none, unless you got morning buns, hun.


Prep time 2hrs
Cook time 30mins
Serves or Makes: 4


For the Dough

  • 1 cup whole milk, heated to 115°f
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (¼-ounce) packet active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons rose water
  • 2 Handsome Brook Pasture Raised Organic eggs
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 cups (600 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing

For the Lamination

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, frozen and grated

For the Filling and Baking

For the Rose Syrup

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rose water


  • Step 1

    Make the dough: In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine milk, sugar and yeast, then let sit until foamy, 8-10 minutes. Whisk in melted butter, rose water, eggs, citrus zests and salt. Add flour, then run mixer until a smooth dough forms, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover. Let sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size, 1 hour.

  • Step 2

    Laminate the dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll into an 16-by-13-inch rectangle. Scatter frozen butter on one half of the dough, then fold dough over to enclose it, pressing the edges to seal.

  • Step 3

    Roll the dough into a 16-by-13-inch rectangle, using flour to prevent sticking. Fold into thirds like a letter, then rotate 90° and roll out again into a 16-by-13-inch rectangle. Take the ends and meet them in the center and then close the dough like a book. Repeat this process of rolling and folding again (one time like a letter, one time like a book) for a total of 4 folds. Roll into an 18-by-11-inch rectangle. Chill dough while you make the filling.

  • Step 4

    Make the filling: In a small bowl, mix softened butter and brown sugar until smooth, then spread in an even layer and roll up the dough into a tight log from the 18-inch side. Slice into 1-inch rounds and divide buns between 2 muffin trays with swirl facing up. Cover and let proof until puffed, about 45 minutes. (Alternatively, cover and refrigerate overnight.)

  • Step 5

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush buns liberally with egg, then bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes.

  • Step 6

    Meanwhile, make the rose syrup: In a small saucepan, combine sugar with 3 tablespoons water over medium-high heat. Cook until sugar dissolves, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rose water.

  • Step 7

    When morning buns come out of the oven, brush liberally with syrup. Let cool slightly, then serve warm.