chai spiced breakfast buns (cruffins)

how to make chai spiced breakfast buns

These flaky breakfast buns are croissant muffins (cruffins) made out of a buttery brioche dough and rolled up with chai spiced sugar. Then they’re tossed in even more spiced sugar when hot!



butter block

brioche dough

chai spiced sugar


make the butter block

  1. Pull the butter out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, prepare a parchment paper packet to shape the butter block. Cut off a 15” x 18” piece of parchment paper and fold in half to 15” x 9”. Measure 4” from the top and bottom edge (or what were the long edges) and fold along the mark to make a 7” x 9” packet. Finally, measure 2” from the open edge and fold along the mark to make a 7” x 7” packet. Set aside while you prepare the butter.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until it is soft, malleable and smooth (we’re not trying to beat air into it), 1- 2 minutes.
  4. Unfold the parchment paper packet and scoop the butter onto one of the 7” x 7” squares. Fold the parchment back along the original creases to enclose the butter in the packet. Use your fingers or a rolling pin to smoosh the butter evenly into the packet so the corners and edges are filled and the butter is a perfect 7” x 7” square. Place in the refrigerator while you make the dough.

make the brioche dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the dry ingredients and whisk by hand to briefly mix. Pour in the eggs, milk and butter and mix on low speed for about 1 minute until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough cleans up the bowl and is smooth and shiny, 20- 25 minutes.
  2. Form the dough into a ball (it’ll be very soft), place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour. Refrigerate for several hours, or overnight, until well chilled.

laminate the dough

  1. Remove the butter block from the refrigerator to soften slightly. When it’s cold but malleable, begin to roll out the dough. 
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 7 1/2” x 14 1/2” rectangle then use a pastry brush to brush off any extra flour. Place the butter block on the left half of the dough, leaving a 1/2” border on the top, left side and bottom. Use your fingers to smoosh the butter to within 1/2” of the edges, if needed. Fold the right side of the dough over the butter block and firmly pinch the three edges to seal. 
  3. Lightly flour the surface, then rotate the dough so the folded edge is on the top of the rectangle, furthest away from you. Roll the dough out to an 8” x 16” rectangle so the long edges are parallel with the countertop edge. 
  4. Use a pastry brush to dust off flour from the surface, then fold the dough in thirds, starting with the right side. Dust flour off the surface of the folded right side, then fold the left side over top. Make sure all of the edges line up and the corners are directly on top of each other. This is one turn. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface with the long folded edge furthest away from you. Repeat the rolling and folding to complete a second turn. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes, then repeat the third and final fold. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour. 

At this point, the dough can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 3 months. 

shape and bake

  1. To make the spiced sugar mixture, combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of spiced sugar for topping. 
  2. Roll out the laminated dough to an 8” x 18” rectangle. Brush egg wash over the entire surface, then sprinkle spiced sugar mixture over all but 1/2” along one long edge. Start with the long edge that’s covered with sugar and roll up the dough into tight log. Let it rest on the seam to prevent it from unrolling. 
  3. Use a sharp knife to trim an inch off each end of the roll and discard. Then slice the roll into eight 2” pieces. Place the buns in a muffin pan, loosely cover and let proof 1- 1 1/2 hours, until very puffy but not double in size. Towards the end of the rising, preheat the oven to 400°F. 
  4. Gently brush tops and exposed sides with egg wash and bake for 18- 20 minutes, or until golden brown and the internal temperature at the center  is 190°F.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes, then carefully remove from the pan and toss in reserved spiced sugar mixture. The warmer they are when you toss them, the better the sugar will stick (but don’t burn yourself!). Set aside on a rack to cool.



Keywords: breakfast buns, cruffins