Orange Cranberry Honey Stick Buns

Orange Cranberry Honey Stick Buns Barbara Bakes

Gooey honey bun sweet rolls dripping with a stick orange honey topping and crowned with pecans. These cinnamon roll style buns are filled with orange sugar and tart dried cranberries.

Today’s recipe is another one I adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Chocolate Snowball: and Other Fabulous Pastries from Deer Valley Bakery. Letty, the cookbook author and pastry chef at Deer Valley Resort, and I are friends. After I posted my version of her Chocolate Snowballs, Letty invited me to come up to Deer Valley to practice piping whipped cream stars on Chocolate Snowballs in the Snow Park Bakery. (I mentioned in my Snowball post I struggled with piping.)


Letty and her staff were so gracious. They taught me how to pipe whipped cream stars, shared samples of the luscious desserts they were serving, as well as taste the tantalizing new desserts they’re developing.

The bakery fridge was overflowing with desserts. It made me smile that they had to rearrange the desserts just to fit everything in, just like I have to do at home.


The bakery was such a busy place, and I’m not sure I could handle the rigors of it every day. My hand got tired after piping just one tray of snowballs. I have a new appreciation for the chefs who work at the bakery. Letty was very complimentary of the other bakers in her kitchen. They make a great team.


The first time I leafed through Letty’s cookbook, I marked this honey bun recipe so I’d remember to make it soon. She described them as gorgeous and gooey and said the honey keeps the caramel topping softer.

I brought home some orange honey from Winco, so I thought it would be fun to change up the flavor of the honey buns a bit to highlight the orange flavor of the honey. I eliminated the cinnamon in the recipe, substituted orange sugar, and sprinkled dried cranberries over the dough to add a little tartness and extra texture. I also substituted a little whole wheat pastry flour which adds a nice texture to the rolls.


When the rolls were done baking, I asked my husband to flip them onto the serving platter. I wanted it on a big white platter so it would look pretty in the pictures. The only platter I had that was big enough had sloped edges and was really awkward to flip.


He asked if he could use a different platter, but I said I really wanted it on the white platter for the pictures. So he did it for me even though it was a pain and some of the hot syrup slopped onto the table. But don’t they look pretty on the white platter dripping with the sticky orange honey goo!

Although, they might look even prettier on a plate set in front of you.


Thanks again Letty for inviting me in to your bakery kitchen and for sharing your delicious recipes in Chocolate Snowball. Letty also has a passion for gourmet vegetarian cooking. When she’s not busy in the Deer Valley Bakery, she shares her vegetarian cooking on her blog, Muffin Talk.

Orange Cranberry Honey Stick Buns

Orange Cranberry Honey Stick Buns

Adapted from Chocolate Snowball


  • Orange Cranberry Honey Stick Bun
  • Ingredients:
  • Dough
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, finely grated
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • Sticky goo:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey (I use orange honey)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, optional


To make the dough:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine whole wheat pastry flour, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, yeast, and salt.

In saucepan or microwave safe dish, heat milk and butter until warm (120° – 130°F). Add heated milk and butter to flour mixture. Mix in eggs and honey. Blend at low speed until moistened.

Switch to the dough hook and mix in the remaining flour a little at a time, to make a soft smooth dough, adding more or less flour as needed. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising mix granulated sugar with orange zest in a small bowl; set aside.

To prepare the sticky goo:

Mix the butter, honey and brown sugar until smooth. Brush a 9x13-inch pan with butter of spray with cooking spray. Spread the sticky goo into the pan. Sprinkle with the pecans, if using.

To assemble and bake:

Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface (I like to use a Silpat) roll into a 16x11-inch rectangle. Sprinkle evenly with orange sugar mixture. Sprinkle cranberries evenly on top of the orange sugar.

With the long edge of the rectangle facing you, roll it into a tight, long cylinder, like a jelly roll. Pinch the top edge to seal so it can't unroll. Cut into 12 slices. Arrange evenly, cut side down, in the prepared pan spread with goo; they should be almost touching. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room tempearature for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375º.

Place the pan of buns on a baking sheet to catch any overflowing goo. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are light golden brown. Immediately invert onto a clean tray or serving platter, taking care not to spatter yourself with hot goo. If there is goo left in the pan, scrape it up and spread it back onto the buns.

High Altitude: The dough will rise faster; check sooner for double. Put the rolls in the oven just before they double in size. This allows for more oven spring (the immediate rising of the dough in the hot oven, before it begins to brown).

More sweet roll recipes you might like:

Bake Shop Cherry Sweet Rolls, Barbara Bakes
Blackberry and Cherry Kolaches, Barbara Bakes
Citrus Cream Cheese Pull Apart Rolls, Barbara Bakes
Overnight Buttermilk Soft and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls, Averie Cookie
Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls, Cheeky Kitchen
Raspberry Sweet Rolls, Buns in My Oven

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    Leave a Comment:

  1. says

    What a *wonderful* documentation of your adventures–we’re all cooking vicariously through you, Barbara 😉 and these buns look mm-mazing!

  2. says

    They look delicious no matter what you do with them!!! Honey buns always remind me of my grandmother! I keep meaning to make my own version… maybe soon:)

  3. Carol says

    Mmmmmmm! Those rolls look so good. I love orange and cranberry…..and honey……you sure can’t go wrong with that combination.

    Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  4. says

    omg. I want one (or 2 or 3) right now. But I think I will go make a chocolate cake for dinner. Very nice photos you took and we did have fun–come back any time.

  5. says

    Thanks for linking up my Overnight Buttermilk Soft and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls and these are truly gorgeous looking, Barbara! I love the orange + honey combo and it was worth it to use the white platter…they look perfect on that. I make choices like that all the time…how would the food look best, not always what’s easiest :)

    And your photos at Deer Valley are awesome. What a GREAT time that must have been!