Serious Eats

An Ode to the Morning Bun

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There are several schools of thought when it comes to breakfast pastries. There are the French loyalists, who rely on a time-honored repertoire of croissants, brioche, and pain au chocolat. Then there’s the anything-goes sweet tooth contingent—lovers of sticky buns and coffee cake, donuts and muffins, not bound by patisserie tradition but looking for a breakfast that’s gooey and satisfying.

Can these two camps ever reach across the aisle? Yes, they can—in the morning bun.

In my mind, the morning bun is the perfect synthesis of the classic croissant and the irresistible sticky bun. Call it a croissant in cinnamon roll clothing. It’s made of a buttery croissant dough, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar (and often walnuts or pecans), then rolled into spirals. Each one is baked in a muffin tin, and when the morning buns rise, they spill up and out of their little slots. Kept in close quarters, the bottom stays a bit doughy, like a sticky bun interior, while the top lifts into an appealingly flaky, cinnamon-speckled dome.

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This one, from Clear Flour Bread near Boston University, is one of the bakery’s top sellers. The cinnamon sugar winds through the flaky layers without overwhelming the buttery croissant dough—except on the bottom, where it caramelizes into a perfect sticky goo. Both the walnut-studded and walnut-free versions fly off the shelves.

Tender like a croissant, sweet like a cinnamon roll, the morning bun may well be the best of both worlds. Are there any other fans out there? Where do you find your favorite morning buns?

Clear Flour Bread, 178 Thorndike St, Brookline MA 02446 (map); 617-739-0060.

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