Sticky Saffron Buns with Vanilla & Maple Syrup

With Valentine's Day around the corner, this treat is a perfect treat to make for a loved one or for yourself! The vanilla and maple syrup coating alone makes this dessert worth making. Expect your home to fill with the smell of warm vanilla and cardamom. I know, the horror! :)

These sweet buns can be enjoyed alone, but I find them enjoyed best with a slab of butter, or even better, some jelly. I may have enjoyed a few for breakfast this morning. Just throw in a piece of fruit and call it balance (hehe).

The directions might seem a little long, but it's mostly waiting for the dough to rise that takes the longest. The actual baking is only 20-25 minutes!


For the dough

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces

  • 2 tbsp granulated or superfine sugar

  • a pinch of crushed saffron strands

  • 1.5 tsp fast acting yeast

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/3 cups bread flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the syrup

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 3 cardamom pods

  • 1 vanilla bean (pod)


  1. In a small pot, add milk, butter, sugar, and 1/3 cup water over medium heat for about 1 minute until butter is melted and the mixture is lukewarm.

  2. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add saffron and yeast, whisk to combine. Set aside until mixture is yellow and slightly frothy, about 15-30 minutes. (make sure mixture from step 1 is not too hot or it will kill the yeast)

  3. Using either a stand mixer or a hand mixture with dough hooks, combine both flours, salt, and the mixture from step 2. Knead for about 3 minutes on low speed, slowly increasing it to medium. If the flour is being difficult, add 1-2 tsp of water.

  4. Move dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  5. Grease a cake pan. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Place 1 dough ball in the center of the pan and arrange the other pieces in a circle around it, leaving a little space on all sides of each ball if possible. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place for about 1.5 hours, allowing it to double in size.*

  6. When the 1.5 hours of rising is almost up, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the risen buns for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Insert a skewer or toothpick in the middle and make sure it comes out clean.

*If the area isn't warm enough or your dough just needs a little more time to rise, I found that mine sometimes do best if I let them rise overnight.

While buns are baking, make the syrup.

  1. Crush the cardamom seeds and remove the outer pods. Lightly crush the seeds. With a knife, slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and with the tip of the knife, scrape out the seeds.

  2. In a small pot, add the maple syrup, butter, cardamom and vanilla seeds over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until butter has melted and syrup has thickened. Reduce the heat to avoid scorching it. Set aside and keep warm.

  3. Once the buns are baked, use a pastry brush to coat them evenly with the syrup. Let them cook for 10 minutes before serving.

Recommend: slice them open, add some butter and jelly and enjoy!

Like I mentioned earlier, these would be a perfect treat to make for Valentine's Day. Of course, I recommend making these for any occasion, even for a lazy Saturday at home, because of the comfort and warmness these buns provide.

Maybe it is the vanilla or cardamom smells, or the warm buns straight out of the oven, but this recipe makes me want to curl up in front of a fireplace and shove all 8 pieces in my face.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try and don't forget to use #nibblesandbits if sharing them on social media!

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