These sweet tahini buns make the perfect breakfast with their cardamom scented dough and swirls of nutty tahini cinnamon sugar filling.
After making the tahini chocolate star bread last week, I wanted to use up the last bit of tahini for another yeasted dough recipe. Inspired by the sweet tahini rolls from the Falastin cookbook by Sami Tamini and tahini buns from the Middle Eastern Sweets cookbook by Salma Hage, I made sweet tahini buns, a riff on the classic cinnamon buns. The sweet dough is flavored with cardamom and layered with nutty tahini and cinnamon sugar then baked to golden perfection.
Making the tahini buns takes about 2 days but the result is worth every second! It involves making the dough, proving it twice, filling, shaping, and baking. Although there are a lot of steps, I have included a visual guide to make the process easier.
A Note on Yeast
For the tahini buns, we start with a yeasted dough that’s enriched with whole milk, eggs, and butter. Similar breads that utilize rich dough are brioche, babka, cinnamon rolls, star bread, and monkey bread. The most important thing is making sure the temperature of the milk doesn’t go above 110 degrees F or the yeast will die. Instant dry yeast or active dry yeast works for this recipe but the rise time will take a little longer if you use the latter. Always check the expiration date on your yeast package otherwise the yeast might be old and the dough won’t rise properly.
How to Shape the Buns
Roll the dough into a 12 by 18 inch rectangle.
Spread the tahini butter mixture over the dough, leaving a half inch-border.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.
Roll up the dough from the longer side so that you end up with a 18-inch log. Wrap the log in cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes to let it firm up and easier to handle.
How to Cut the Dough
Use a ruler to divide the dough log into 12 equal pieces. To cut the dough, use a piece of dental floss or sharp serrated knife for clean cuts. I like using floss when the filling doesn’t have nuts in them.
Sit each piece upright, so that its cut side is facing upwards. Use either your hands or a measuring cup 3.5 inches in diameter to gently flatten out to form a 3 inch circle. Brush the top and sides of the tahini buns with the egg yolk then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Place the tahini buns on a lined baking tray 2 inches apart and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 23-25 minutes at 350 degrees F or until they turn golden brown.
Bite into these sweet tahini buns and you can taste the tender dough scented with cardamom with swirls of nutty tahini cinnamon sugar filling. We love them still warm from the oven. They double as the perfect breakfast or midday snack that you can easily reach for. Stay tuned for a more decadent version of these tahini buns!
How to Store Tahini Buns
These tahini buns are eaten fresh on the day of baking and will keep up to three days if stored airtight at room temperature. Simply rewarm them in the oven at 350 degrees F for a few minutes. They also freeze well after baking. Transfer them straight from the oven to the freezer after they cool down.
For more baking inspiration, you might like these recipes: tahini chocolate star bread, cardamom raspberry star bread, chocolate halva tahini wreath bread, salted tahini caramel monkey bread, earl grey chocolate babka.
Sweet Tahini Buns
- 1 package instant yeast
- ¼ cup and 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ cup whole milk, warm
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
Tahini cinnamon filling
- ¾ cup tahini
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Pour milk in a small bowl and warm it in the microwave until lukewarm. Make sure the max temperature is 105-110 degrees. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and give it a quick stir before adding the yeast. Let mixture sit for 8 to 10 minutes, until foamy.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, cardamom, remaining sugar, salt, and stir until combined.
- Add in the yeast mixture and eggs until the dough comes together in a soft mass, about 5 minutes.
- Add the butter and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Continue beating until the dough is smooth and stretchy, another 5 minutes.
- Butter a clean bowl, form the dough into a ball and roll it around in the bowl so all sides are buttered. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until it puffs and rises, about 2 hours. Gently press the dough down with your hands, re-cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight for the second prove.
Tahini cinnamon filling
- Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and tahini together.
Tahini bun assembly
- Lightly flour a clean work surface. Tip the chilled dough onto it. Roll dough into large rectangle about 12 by 18 inches.
- Use an offset spatula, pread the tahini mixture over the dough, leaving a half inch border.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the tahini mixture.
- Roll the dough starting at the long side so that you have an 18-inch log. Wrap the log in cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Use a ruler as a guide to mark dough log into 12 even pieces.
- Use either a serrated knife or dental floss to cut dough log into 12 pieces.
- Sit each piece upright, so that its cut side is facing upwards, then, using your hands or a 3.5 inch measuring cup, gently flatten out to form a 3 inch-wide circle.
- Brush top and sides of buns lightly with egg wash. Sprinkle sesame over the top.
- Place buns on a lined baking sheet 2 inches apart.
- Bake buns for 23-25 minutes until gold brown and cooked through. Let them cool for 15 minutes before serving.