Rosie’s Recipes: Time to rise and shine with Rosie’s orange sunrise buns

By on January 3, 2021

If you’re lucky enough to live at the beach, you’re lucky enough. (Photos by Rosie Hawthorne)

By Rosie Hawthorne

I’m lucky enough to start off almost every day by going to the beach and watching the sunrise.  It’s the perfect way to begin one’s day.   My day only gets better when I come home to a special treat for breakfast.   My sweet orange breakfast buns are a wonderful way to start off your day and the new year.  With a buttery cake-like base, a nutty cinnamon filling, and an orange cream cheese glaze, they’re a little bit sweet, a little bit doughy, a little bit zesty, and a whole lotta yummy.  They’re the perfect antidote to 2020 and a lovely welcome to 2021.

(Rosie Hawthorne)

Rosie’s Orange Sunrise Buns

For the dough:

  • ¼ cup skim milk, warmed
  • ¼ cup cream, warmed
  • 1 package yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 TB unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • About 3 ¼ cups flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the warm milk and cream with the yeast and sugar.  Let it sit for a few minutes until it “proofs,” or gets bubbly and foamy.  This means the yeast has “proved” it’s alive and your dough will rise.  With machine on low speed, add in orange juice, zest, egg, butter, and salt.  Gradually add in flour, incorporating it into the dough and increasing speed to medium.  You want enough flour so the dough pulls away from the sides but is still soft and tacky.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured working surface and finish by kneading by hand, sprinkling more flour if needed.  You want a soft, elastic dough.  Transfer to a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Rosie Note:  If all you have is whole milk, that’s fine to use.  I use a combination of skim and cream because that’s what I always have on hand.


For the filling:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup crumbled pecans

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 12 x 18-inch rectangle.

Using an offset spatula, spread the butter over surface of dough.  Evenly sprinkle rest of filling ingredients over top.

Tightly roll up dough lengthwise and slice into 12 even pieces.

Place slices (swirl facing up) in a buttered 9 x 13-inch pan.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled – an hour or so.

Bake in a 350° oven until rolls are light golden brown on top – about 22 minutes.

Frost the rolls while still warm.

For the glaze:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 TB unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Combine cream cheese and butter.  Whisk in rest of ingredients until smooth.  Pour over warm buns.

(Rosie Hawthorne)

For a special zesty treat (and because they’re available now), sprinkle pomegranate arils over the buns.


For more recipes, please visit with Rosie at 

For any culinary questions, feel free to e-mail me at Bon appétit! For more Rosie’s Recipes on the Outer Banks Voice click here





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