Christmas morning buns from Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Christmas morning treat: Cinnamon buns.
Christmas morning treat: Cinnamon buns. Photo: William Meppem

These cardamom and cinnamon buns are perfect for Christmas morning, served warm with a glass of cold milk as you unwrap presents. My kids love helping me make them – from pounding the cardamom pods to helping roll up the buns, they are a much-loved Christmas baking tradition. The dough can be made the night before and left to prove overnight in the fridge, making for less work in the morning.


  • 500g strong bakers flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1½ tbsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 10g dry active yeast
  • 5g fine sea salt
  • 350ml full cream milk
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease the bowl

Cinnamon filling

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • pearl sugar*, to decorate


  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Warm the milk in a small pot over a medium heat until it reaches 38C on a thermometer. Pour into the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  3. Add the butter and the dry ingredients. Mix on low until it forms a shaggy dough, then increase the speed to high and mix for 8-10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.
  4. Shape into a ball and transfer to a bowl lightly greased with butter. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm space for an hour or until doubled in size. (Alternatively, let the dough rise slowly in the fridge overnight.)
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining the butter, caster sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl, mixing with the back of a spoon.
  6. On a surface lightly dusted with flour, knock back the dough and roll out to a 40cm x 30cm rectangle.
  7. Spread the cinnamon filling over the rectangle evenly, leaving a 2cm border along one of the longest ends. Gently roll the dough from the other longest side into a log.
  8. Cut the log into 2-3cm thick pieces and place each piece, spiral side up, into patty pans. Arrange on two large baking trays and cover with a tea towel. Allow the buns to prove in a warm space for 30 minutes or until slightly risen and puffed.
  9. Preheat the oven to 220C fan-forced (240C conventional).
  10. Whisk the egg and 1 teaspoon of water in a small bowl. Brush onto the buns and sprinkle generously with pearl sugar.
  11. Place the buns in the middle rack of the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 200C fan-forced (225C conventional). Bake for 6-8 minutes until golden and just cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature with a glass of cold milk.

Makes 18

*Pearl sugar is great for decorating these buns as it gives a nice crunch and doesn't melt at high temperatures. If you cannot find any, use demerara sugar instead.

This recipe features in Good Food Christmas, screening on Channel 9 at 5.30pm on Saturday, December 4, or catch up on 9Now.