Overnight Spiced Stollen Swirl Buns

This morning, as I sat down with a notebook and a pen to make a menu plan for the week, I was filled with such a tangible sense of gratitude; how fortunate I was to be able to outline our eats straight through to Boxing Day.

Noah and I donated some time to a local food bank last week, and I saw first-hand what many people in my community will have to eat over the holidays. Not much, I’m afraid. It is a huge privilege to be able to plan party nibbles, brunch baking, and pot-luck dishes. That is not something I take for granted.

We’re having a bit of a quiet, minimalist Christmas this year. No huge parties or multi-course meals are in the plans, and most of our gift shopping was from the World Vision gift catalogue (really the coolest thing). Here and there, we’ve taken small steps to make a positive impact on our global community – something that’s so desperately needed these days. This is the season for giving, after all.

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for overnight spice swirl buns with you for a while now. I’m not sure how it fits into my feelings of gratitude and gifting today, but perhaps it will inspire you to bake up a tray of buns and share them with someone this holiday season.

All photos by Tim Chin.

When Danny and I were newly married, we didn’t have much money for Christmas presents, so we made homemade treats as gifts for our loved ones. One year, we worked side by side late into the night to produce a dozen large stollen loaves straight out of Joy of Cooking. We coated those beauties in powdered sugar, wrapped them in cellophane, gifted them far and wide—and then never made the recipe again.

In recent years, I’ve revisited the comforts of stollen over the winter holidays, but in swirl bun form. I created a lightly spiced dough, studded with dried cranberries, rum and a hint of candied orange peel. I rolled it up with sugar and spice, scattered slivered almonds and baked them up into soft round buns that are reminiscent to the Joy of Cooking’s stollen, but very much unique.

These swirl buns are heavenly on Christmas morning or any winter morning, for that matter. I first shared this recipe in my recent cookbook – but in the spirit of giving, decided you should have it for your holiday baking plans.

I’ve developed these to be overnight rolls, which is ideal for Christmas morning or New Year’s Day. It’s my Christmas Eve tradition to shape the buns with Clara helping out. She loves to sprinkle the spiced sugar over the rolled out dough and scatter the dried fruits all around.

Of course you can always do the second rise after the shaping and bake them right away, skipping the overnight rise. Just be sure to enjoy them warm from the oven with plenty of coffee.

Pair these swirl buns with a citrus salad for a festive holiday brunch. With my Citrus Salad with Honey-Cinnamon Syrup, three varieties of orange, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon tease the palate in a refreshing, tangy-sweet way. This Citrus and Pomegranate Salad with Vanilla Syrup is slightly sweeter but bursting with flavour. Both salads are seasonal and absolutely simple to make.

Overnight Spiced Stollen Swirl Buns

Fragrant and delicate, these overnight rolls are a Christmas morning favourite. A recipe from The Simple Bites Kitchen cookbook.
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Course: Bakery
Cuisine: American
Essential Ingredient: Cinnamon
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 12 buns
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour divided
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 Tablespoons candied orange peel
  • 1 Tablespoon rum
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened, divided
  • 3/4 cup raw cane sugar divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  • Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until scalded, then cool to wrist warm or around 110°F. Pour into a medium bowl and whisk in the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Beat in ½ cup of the flour, then cover the bowl with a tea towel and let stand in a warm place while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • In the same saucepan, combine dried cranberries, candied orange peel and rum. Warm gently, then turn off heat and let soak.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream ½ cup of the butter with ½ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the salt and cardamom. Tip in the yeast sponge and add ½ cup of the flour. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together.
  • Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 2¼ cups, ½ cup at a time, mixing on low speed until a soft dough forms. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Remove the dough hook, cover the dough with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • On a lightly floured counter, roll out dough to a 12- × 16-inch (30 × 40 cm) rectangle. Spread the remaining ¼ cup soft butter in an even layer over the dough, going right to the edges. Mix the remaining ¼ cup sugar with cinnamon and allspice, then sprinkle evenly over the butter. Evenly scatter slivered almonds and soaked fruit over the buttered dough. Starting from a short end, tightly roll the dough into a log. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 buns, each 1 inch thick. Gently reshape them into rounds if they get overly squashed.
  • Butter two 13- × 18-inch (32 × 45 cm) rimmed baking sheets. Place 6 buns on each sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  • In the morning, allow the buns to rise in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size. You can do this step in the oven, with the oven turned off but the oven light turned on. If you do this, make sure to remove them before preheating the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Remove plastic wrap and bake buns for 22 to 24 minutes, rotating once, until golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.


Calories: 300kcal

In case you needed further convincing…

Elizabeth of Brooklyn Supper made these swirl buns and said: “Lightly sweet, and with a beautiful, stretchy crumb, I may not wait until Christmas morning to make them again.”

Janice of Kitchen Heals Soul also made the recipe and had this to say: “I’d never thought to turn (stollen) dough into swirly buns. Genius! And the bonus is that you can make them ahead and bake them Christmas morning.”

My swirl buns are also in the National Post this week >> Cook this: Overnight spiced stollen swirl buns from the Simple Bites Kitchen.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, friends.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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