Persian Buns Recipe

Photograph: Alexandra Penfold

These chocolate frosted deep-fried cinnamon rolls were a favorite treat of mine growing up. As a kid we used to get them one every summer from a small bakery in Camden, Maine. Alas, that bakery closed many years ago and I haven't been able to find a similar treat for sale since (though I've heard word that a bakery in Belfast, Maine now makes their own version of Persians). To recreate them I took my inspiration from this "crispy creamy" doughnut recipe for the dough and slathered them with a rich dark chocolate frosting.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 0 mins
Serves: 24 buns

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For the Buns:

  • 1/4 cup warm water (at 105 to 115°F)

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, lukewarm

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

  • Cooking spray

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 6 ounces 72% cacao chocolate, melted in a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl


  1. Add warm water to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water then sprinkle the mixture with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir to mix, cover with plastic wrap and set someone warm for 5 minutes or until foamy.

  2. Fit mixer with a dough hook. Once yeast has activated, add sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, eggs, butter, and 2 cups of flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are thoroughly combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn mixer to medium then beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary until fully incorporated. Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Note: this is a very sticky dough and will not completely pull away from the sides of the bowl during kneading. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap then set in a warm place until dough doubles, about 1 hour.

  3. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Prepare two large jelly roll pans or baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  4. Generously flour your hands and a large, flat workspace. Lightly sprinkle the dough with flour then remove it from the bowl. Roll the dough out into a 13 x 18 inch rectangle. Cover the surface of the dough with the brown sugar mixture then roll it up—you will be rolling along the long side so you end up with an 18-inch long rectangle. Dust a sharp knife with flour and cut 24 rolls from your log. Place the rolls on the prepared pans or baking sheets a couple inches apart—you should be able to fit one dozen rolls per pan. Cover with plastic wrap that's been covered in cooking spray. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

  5. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer beat butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined, scraping down the sides as necessary. Then add melted chocolate, beating until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

  6. Fill a Dutch oven or deep fryer with 2 inches of oil. Heat oil over medium heat to 350°F. Using a heat-resistant spatula or shallow, heat resistant strainer, carefully drop cinnamon rolls in the oil. Be careful not to crowd the rolls in the Dutch oven (no more than 2 to 3 cinnamon rolls at a time). Use wooden chopsticks or heat resistant tongs to turn the cinnamon rolls and fry until deep golden brown on both sides (about 1-2 minutes per side, use the color as your guide keeping a close eye on keeping the oil temperature as constant as possible). Remove cinnamon rolls immediately from the pan using a heat resistant strainer or tongs. Set on paper towel lined baking racks to cool. Once cooled slightly, frost and serve immediately.

Special Equipment

Electric stand mixer, large jelly roll pans or baking sheets, Dutch oven or electric fryer, frying thermometer

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
348 Calories
19g Fat
38g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 348
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 26mg 9%
Sodium 59mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 36mg 3%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 75mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)