Helloooo, sunshine. These gigantic orange buns are soft, sweet, and full of bright flavor. With an gooey orange filling that oozes out while they bake and then gets drizzled back all over the top when you flip the pan over, these orange buns are perfect for a weekend treat.
If you’re not a stranger here, you know that I love making breakfast treats, and especially rolls and buns. They may take a little bit of time and effort, but for me that’s part of the appeal. Making a yeasted dough, rolling it out, and filling it with buttery and sugary goodness is a little labor of love. Plus I get to eat one.
This recipe comes from my grandmother’s The Anniversary Slovak-American Cookbook. This was my first time making morning rolls or buns in a muffin pan rather than nestled together in a regular baking pan, and I’ve got to say, I’m a fan. These buns rise a ton in the oven, so you get this delightful snail-like shape as the buns rise and expand once the dough gets above the edges of the pan. I love that each bun ends up being a slightly different shape, to the point that my kids were staking out which bun was theirs before I’d even flipped them out of the pan. The filling here is bright and sweet, so that you don’t really need an extra icing or frosting on top. Would I judge you if you added it? Absolutely not. But I decided to leave these buns au naturel, and everyone at casa Today We Bake gobbled them up. Including the dog, who got the three that were left on the plate while I wasn’t looking. Like I tell him every day, he’s lucky he’s cute.
A few notes on these orange buns:
- The filling here is a combination of butter, sugar, honey, orange juice, and orange zest. I used fresh oranges for the juice, but if you don’t have any on hand, you could skip the zest and used bottled orange juice instead.
- This recipe is part of a Sunday series here on the blog, where I cook from my grandmother’s Slovak cookbooks. You can see all of the recipes in the series here.
- To make sure you get all of that orange flavor in the rolls, carefully turn the pan upside down onto a cooling rack placed over a cutting board or baking pan. This lets any excess filling that dripped down into the bottom of the muffin pan to drip back over the rolls.
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons), softened
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Zest of 1 orange, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- Pour the milk in a small saucepan over high heat. Heat until just starting to boil, then remove from the heat. Add the sugar, salt, and butter and allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast over it. Add the milk mixture and beaten egg and stir well with a wooden spoon.
- Add the flour and stir the mixture together, then turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it until it is smooth and satiny, between 8 and 10 minutes.
- Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Punch down the dough and let it rise again for another 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Add the softened butter, honey, sugar, orange zest, and orange juice to a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Generously butter a muffin pan.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it slightly, then roll it out into a rectangle until it is ⅓ inch thick. The rectangle should be 12 inches long and 8 to 10 inches tall.
- Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a small ¼ inch margin on the sides. Roll the dough up along the long side and pinch the seam together.
- Cut the dough into 12 pieces, each 1" wide. Place each roll into the muffin pan, then cover the pan with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Bake the rolls at 400°F for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown. Take the rolls out of the oven and flip the pan over onto a cutting board or cooling rack placed over a baking sheet. This will allow any filling that settled in the bottom of the pan to drip back over the buns. Serve warm and enjoy.