Sticky Toffee Morning Buns recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Sticky Toffee Morning Buns

Morning buns are created from croissant dough which makes them different from cinnamon buns. They are also baked in jumbo muffin tins so that the bottom keeps the shape of muffins, and the top puffs out and remains in the signature pinwheel like cinnamon buns. This recipe is inspired by the English favorite, sticky toffee pudding. I took the flavors from the dessert and turned them into a sweet and flakey breakfast treat. The buttery croissant dough is rolled with a mix of brown sugar, butter, orange zest, and chopped dates. Then, after baking, the pastries are drizzled with a sticky glaze made from maple syrup, cream and brown sugar.  

When making the dough, if the yeast doesn’t foam,then start over – either the yeast was too hot and it killed it or it was too cold and it didn’t activate. This recipe does take time to make, but it is worth the extra work and the wait. I like to make these on a relaxing weekend – I start the dough on Saturday then after letting it rise overnight I can fill the morning buns and bake them Sunday morning for breakfast. 



For the croissant dough: 

1½ cups whole milk, warmed (105ºF- 110ºF)

¼ (packed) cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast 

4 cups all-purpose flour 

1 tablespoon kosher salt 

1½ cups cold unsalted butter 


For the filling: 

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for buttering the pan

2 tablespoons granulated sugar 

1 (packed) cup dark brown sugar 

6 ounces pitted dates, preferably Medjool dates, finely chopped 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

2 teaspoons orange zest 


For the toffee sauce: 

1 cup heavy cream 

¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes 

1 (packed) cup dark brown sugar  

½ cup maple syrup 



For the croissant dough: 

Add the warm milk, brown sugar and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and let sit until the yeast becomes foamy, about 10 minutes. Add 3½ cups of the flour and the salt. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together and is smooth and soft, about 7 minutes. Add additional flour if needed. 

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead the dough for about 2 minutes so the dough is soft and slightly sticky, adding additional flour a little at a time if needed. Form the dough into a 1½” thick rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  

Arrange the sticks of butter horizontally on a clean work surface. Use a rolling pin to pound the butter so that it is pliable. Scrape butter into a block and put on a sheet of plastic wrap then cover with another sheet. Pound and roll out the butter until it forms an 8” x 5” rectangle. 

Roll the dough out into a 16” x 10” rectangle. Arrange the dough with the short side facing you. Put the butter in the center of the dough then fold the bottom third over the butter then the top third down over the dough, as you would a letter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour. 

Repeat the previous steps to make 3 more folds, chilling after each fold. Wrap and chill at least 8 hours. 


For the filling: 

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Butter and sugar two jumbo (6-cup) muffin tins. In a small bowl stir together the butter, brown sugar, dates, cinnamon and orange zest. 

Roll out the dough into a 16” x 20” rectangle. Spread the sugar mixture over the dough. Start at the longest side away from you and roll the dough towards you into a long tube. Cut the tube into 1” pieces and add each to a cup of the prepared muffin tin. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour then bake until golden brown and flakey, about 35 minutes. Let cool.


For the toffee sauce: 

Add the cream, butter, brown sugar and maple syrup to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Simmer the mixture until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 6 minutes then remove from heat. Blend the mixture using an immersion blender or in a stand blender until the mixture is emulsified. 

 Drizzle the sauce over the morning buns and serve. 


Makes 10 morning buns. 






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