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Nichole Accettola’s Cardamom Morning Buns

Soon after I moved to San Francisco, I was told where to get the best morning buns, a Bay Area treat that originated at a bakery in Berkeley in the ’70s. I loved how tightly coiled the pastry remained after baking, and how the whole gooey thing got tossed in a bowl of zesty sugar. Naturally this led to a desire to create a morning bun of my own. Morning buns are shaped like cinnamon rolls but baked in muffin tins rather than on a baking tray. Because they are made of danish dough, you get endless layers of flaky, buttery goodness spread with a sweet and abundantly spiced filling that oozes out at the gooey center of the bun. To make my morning buns taste Scandinavian, I roll them in cardamom sugar, which sticks to the flaky exterior. Squeezing the buns into muffin tins keeps them nice and tidy, so this could be a fun first project for putting your danish dough to use before experimenting with more complex shapes.

Photo by Anders Schønnemann


Makes 12 buns


Danish Dough (recipe here)
1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (90 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
½ cup (100 grams) sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground decorticated cardamom
To finish:
Flour for dusting
¼ cup (50 grams) cardamom sugar (see below)



Make the dough: Follow the directions for Danish Dough, up to and including fold no. 3. The dough should be chilled and ready to use.

Make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt, and cardamom on medium for 1 to 2 minutes, until everything is well incorporated; it should be smooth and creamy. (The goal is simply to combine the ingredients, not to cream them or incorporate air.) Set the filling aside at room temperature to keep it soft and spreadable.

Generously butter a 12-cup muffin tin. Be thorough and apply the butter onto the surface of the tin as well as inside the cups so that the dough won’t stick to the surface when it puffs during proofing or baking.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Place the dough on a work surface with one of the short (6-inch/15 centimeters) ends close to you, parallel to the edge of the work surface. Roll the dough out, using vertical (up and down) motions, into a 13 by 18-inch (33 by 46 centimeters) rectangle, gently tugging and pinching at the corners to square them off as best you can. One short (13-inch/33 centimeters) end should be closest to you, parallel to the edge of the work surface. Spread the cardamom filling, using an offset spatula, evenly across the entire surface of the dough from one edge to the other in both directions. Roll the dough up widthwise, like a jelly roll, as tightly as possible. Try to keep the length close to the original 13 inches (33 cm). Using a chef’s knife, make twelve shallow cuts at 1-inch (2.5 centimeters) intervals. (Your rolls need to fit inside your muffin tin, where they will expand while proofing, so they should be about 1 inch/2.5 centimeters wide.) Then cut the roll into slices using the marks you made as a guide. Place each piece into a buttered cup of your muffin tin, with one of the cut sides down.

Proof the buns: Cover the muffin tin with a kitchen towel and set them in a warm and draft-free area until they are noticeably puffier, slightly dry looking, and the impression of a fingerprint is slow to fill in, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

When the buns are sufficiently proofed, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Place the muffin tin on a larger baking tray before baking. This is important as butter will ooze over the sides of the pan while the morning buns bake, and you want to catch it before it drips onto the bottom of the oven, where it will scorch and smoke.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry looks dark golden brown. Let the buns cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then tip the muffin tin onto its side and use an offset spatula to gently pry each bun loose, being careful not to let them uncoil.

Add the cardamom sugar to a small bowl. Roll the surface of each morning bun, top down, in the sugar. Give it a good toss, so that the cardamom sugar sticks to the entire surface. Morning buns are best eaten warm or on the day they are baked. If you have some left over, store them in an airtight container until ready to enjoy, and then remove and heat them for 5 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven. Pastries made from danish dough reheat well.

Cardamom Sugar



1 cup (200 grams) sugar

2 tablespoons freshly ground decorticated cardamom


Combine the granulated sugar with the freshly ground decorticated cardamom. Place it in a jar or airtight container and replenish often.

From Scandinavian from Scratch by Nichole Accettola. Excerpted by permission of ‎Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House.

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