Make Ahead Cinnamon Buns and Christmas Macarons


Make Ahead Cinnamon Buns and Christmas Macarons

My family absolutely loves this recipe for cinnamon buns. They are softer and a bit smaller than a traditional cinnamon roll. My husband prefers them this way! Every Christmas, I make these using the “to freeze” method for my mommy friends. What better gift to give my busy, exhausted mommy friends than the gift of not having to make breakfast at Christmas time?

I package up the rolls in round paper baking pans along with a container of powdered sugar and cinnamon  for the glaze and a tag with directions to bake the buns and make the glaze. It is one of my favorite gifts to give! I also keep one batch in our chest freezer to have a simple Christmas morning breakfast.

Table of Contents



3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 oz.) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons (3/4 oz.) potato flour or 1/4 cup instant potato flakes
2 tablespoons (3/4 oz.) nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons  (1 1/4 oz.) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (Check out our recommended salt and pepper grinder sets!)
4 tablespoons (2 oz.)  soft or room-temperature butter
2/3 cup  (5 3/8 oz.) lukewarm water
1/2 cup (4 oz.) lukewarm milk


2 teaspoons cinnamon


2 tablespoons  ( 1 oz.) melted butter


1 cup (4 oz.)  confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons (1 1/2-2oz. ) cream or 2 to 3 tablespoons (1-1 1/2oz.) milk


Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a hand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased container — an 8-cup measure works well here — and allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s just about doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

Roll the dough into a 20″ long rectangle, about 12″ wide. This soft dough rolls easily, so you shouldn’t have much trouble with shrinking or “push back.”

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cinnamon over the surface of the dough. A small sieve or tea strainer works well here.

Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a 24″ log; it’ll naturally stretch from its original 20″ to about 24″ as you roll. In order to make the neatest job of cutting out the buns, use the best kitchen utility knife to mark the log at 1 1/2″ intervals.

Slice the dough into 1 1/2″-thick buns. The neatest way to do this, by far, is by looping a piece of dental floss underneath the dough where you want to cut it, then pulling the ends in opposite directions. The floss will cut the dough neatly, without squashing it.

Lightly grease two 8″ round cake pans. Divide the buns between the two pans, spacing 8 in each pan.

Cover the pans, and allow the buns to rise till they’re crowded against one another and quite puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Uncover the buns, and bake them for 20 to 23 minutes, until they’re golden brown on top and the edges of the center bun spring back lightly when you touch it.

To serve buns now: Just before the buns are done, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and cream or milk to make the glaze. Turn the hot buns out of the pan onto a rack, and brush with the melted butter. Spread with the glaze, and serve immediately.

To serve buns later: Turn the hot buns out of the pan onto a rack, and brush with the melted butter. Cool completely. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature for a couple of days; for longer storage, freeze. Just before serving, tent the buns lightly with foil, and rewarm in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes (a bit longer, for frozen buns). Stir together the glaze, brush over the buns, and serve warm.

To freeze buns: Bake the buns in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

  1. Wrap tightly and freeze.
  2. Take the buns out of the freezer the night before you want to bake them.
  3. Let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. In the morning, let them rest on the counter while you preheat the oven to 350.
  5. Bake the buns for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
  7. Spread with glaze and serve immediately.

Yield: 16 glazed cinnamon buns.

To give the cinnamon buns to my friends, I bake them in pretty round paper pans. These pans can be ordered online, or I can find them at Home Goods most of the time. After  I bake them for the first 15 minutes, I let them completely cool, wrap them tightly in saran wrap, then put them in a large twist tie baggie. Now they are ready for the freezer. I put the powdered sugar and cinnamon for the icing in small plastic containers. I finish it off with a ribbon and tag with baking directions. If you’re serving at home, try placing them on a low-temperature warming tray!

My friends love receiving this annual gift!!!!

I also wanted to quickly share the macarons I made for my kids teachers and our neighbors. I made red velvet with cream cheese buttercream macarons and gingerbread spice with eggnog buttercream macarons. I found clear macarons boxes to package them in.

I loved seeing the teacher’s faces light up when they received the pretty box of macarons. I am always sure to include the hardworking principal, nurse, and secretaries along with all of my kids teachers. I am so appreciative of all of the hard work that they do to teach  my children and keep them safe at school.

For my neighbors, I delivered the macarons and our Christmas card to their mailboxes.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! Enjoy baking with your family, giving gifts, and spending time with loved ones throughout this next week. Merry Christmas to all and happy baking!


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