Easter Bubble Buns – Fun Projects with Kids


Tomorrow is the first day of April, April Fool’s Day, and it seems only fitting that Mother Nature is about to play a big trick on us here in New England. After the winter we’ve had, it has finally felt a tiny bit like spring. Bright, sunny, and with the thermometer slowly creeping upwards I actually got out to the park yesterday with my son, and it was glorious. But now they are calling for a Nor’easter tomorrow. You’ve heard of our famous Nor’easters, yes? Wind, rain, snow. The joke’s on us! Mother Nature just wanted to see us put away our gloves and hats before she decided to dump on us again. She wanted to seduce us with a tiny taste of spring before blasting us with one last (oh lordy, please let it be the last!) round of snow.

Nevertheless, time marches on and in advance of Easter, my kids and I had some fun in the kitchen. I saw this idea in the April issue of Disney Family Fun, a magazine that neither my husband nor I recall ever signing up for. It just started coming to us, so it must have come free with some other subscription. It’s not exactly the sort of magazine we would seek out, but I always flip through it a bit before tossing it in the recycling bin, and these cute cinnamon buns caught my eye. Much like monkey bread, you take sweet dough and make little balls rolled in cinnamon sugar. But in this instance, you arrange them carefully in muffin tins, so that they come out looking like little flowers, with a center ball surrounded by five petals.

Or at least, that’s the idea. The ones in the magazine all look lovely and uniform. But you try letting a 6 year old and a 4 year old have their way with balls of dough, some melted butter and some cinnamon sugar and see what yours end up looking like! I couldn’t quite get the kids to understand how to fit the first five balls of dough at the bottom and then make a hole to fit in the sixth ball in the center. In most cases, the center ball was just plopped on top of the others. But we had a lot of fun and made an unholy mess in the kitchen. I made the dough ahead of time but then let the kids go to town on dipping the balls in butter and sugar, and then drizzling in glaze and sprinkles afterwards. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I have to say, it was worth all the clean-up afterwards.

Easter Bubble Buns

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp butter, melted
2/3 cup sour cream
3 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
sprinkles (optional)

Place water in bowl of stand mixer and sprinkle yeast over. Let stand until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in butter, sour cream, sugar, egg and vanilla. Beat in 2 cups of flour, the salt and baking soda until incorporated. Add remaining flour and continue to mix until a smooth, soft dough forms.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface, reserving mixing bowl. Knead dough until smooth, about 3 minutes, adding in more flour if dough is sticky. Do not exceed 2 additional tablespoons of flour.

Place dough back in mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar for coating. Place melted butter in a small, shallow dish.

Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan, and then flour the cups and tap out excess flour.

Punch down dough to deflate. Form into a long cylinder and then divide into 12 equal portions. Divide each portion into 6 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

For each bun, coat six balls with melted butter and then roll them in cinnamon sugar. Arrange five balls in the bottom of a prepared muffin cup. Using your fingertip, make a small well in the center and press in the sixth ball.

Repeat with remaining dough and muffin cups. Cover buns loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until puffy and have doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake buns until golden, 20-22 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 to 10 minutes and then tilt pan and gentil tap on a work surface to release buns. If needed, use a knife to help release them.

Place buns on a wire rack over a cookie sheet (line with waxed or parchment paper for easy clean up). In a small bowl, mix glaze ingredients and stir until smooth. Drizzle each bun with glaze and sprinkles, if using.

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  1. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom says

    Everyone can have their own mini-monkey bread – how cute! Great project for keeping the kids busy while you check to see if the Easter Bunny is ready.

  2. Jill@MadAboutMacarons says

    What an brilliant idea. I can just imagine the scene in your kitchen rolling these dough balls! Great fun. Have to get my girls doing that over the hols soon. Fingers crossed that the snow was an early joke!
    Stunning photos as always, Carolyn (love the bunny 😉

  3. sara826 says

    This is perfect! My children will eat anything that has the word bubble in it. Bubble tea, bubble pizza, bubble salad. We even have a Grandma Bubble. We are definitely trying this one!

  4. Pretend Chef says

    I've seen my niece in the kitchen so I can only imagine the mess you had on your hands. Itty bitty takes no interest in what I'm doing in the kitchen until it's time to eat. These are so cute! I would love to receive that magazine just to flip through for ideas.

  5. Emily @ A Cambridge Story says

    yum! it's like monkey bread meets muffins. I'm not a kid (nor do I have any of my own) but I'm making these!

  6. Sandra says

    Carolyn those are so beautiful and sound really tasty! I think my kids would enjoy them very much…will try this soon!

  7. Mary says

    This is a really cute idea. I've passed it on to my daughters. This is my first visit to your blog and I've spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  8. Elle says

    Oh, how sweet! I have everything on hand to make these, too. Sounds like a fun Saturday afternoon project.

  9. A little bit of everything says

    I think they turned out perfect.
    So much fun to make them and of course, eating them. I have to look for some Spring-y sprinkles and make them. Can't wait.
    Thanks Carolyn

  10. Karen says

    These are precious! Just what you need to put some cheer into a stormy day. Fun idea…so bright and festive.

  11. Kate@Diethood.com says

    oh wow! how cute is that?!?! I love it! I am really digging that coating…sounds ammmmazing.
    I want them all for me!!

  12. Wilde in the Kitchen says

    Oh I know, can I call in with a Nor'easter and not go to work tomorrow? The Northeast is ready for spring! On happy notes, these muffins look so good! Love the pull-apart dough :)

  13. Steph says

    I love these! I don't have any kids (yet) but I act like a kid all the time, so these get me excited! Especially the sprinkles :)

  14. sara @ CaffeIna says

    These buns are just a.do.ra.ble! I must try them with Carla. I'm sure she will have a lot of fun!

  15. egb says

    Good luck with the snow! My family is in New England and they are more than ready for it to end! These look like an awesome project to try out with my mini sous chef! Thanks for the idea!

  16. Brandie says

    CAROLYN – how awesome are these?!?! I love this recipe! So yummy looking.
    Oh, I passed your blog info. to a friend of mine. She was needing help with some gluten free recipes. I know she will love many of the ideas you have on here! :o)

  17. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says

    These are SO cute, I absolutely love them! I have to make these for myself. :) Thanks so much for the recipe, it looks like fun.

  18. susan says

    Levi looked at this screen and said, "mommy, will you please make those". His wish is my command. These look fun and yummy!

  19. Susi's Kochen und Backen says

    Carolyn I love these bubble buns. I will have to bookmark to make them with my kids for Easter. I know they will have a blast helping!
    Sorry to hear about your crappy weather, but you could always fly in for a visit, it is supposed to be sunny and upper 90's today ;o)

  20. Velva says

    Sending sunshine from Florida your way. It has been quite the winter, and it does not seem to want to end in the north east.

    Your bubble buns are delightful. Awesome.


  21. Fashion Meets Food says

    What a great recipe and how amazing do these bubble buns look! Definitely going to give this a try! Thanks for sharing. I am a new follower!


  22. MikeVFMK says

    I love how crazy delicious these look. They might not be uniform but your kids will have memories to last a lifetime. I love that.

  23. Cookin' Canuck says

    These are adorable! I think they look even better because the kids put the balls of dough where they wanted to – full of fun.

  24. Meagan says

    These are absolutely adorable!

    I even like saying the name… Bubble Buns. Bubble Buns. Bubble Buns.

    Thanks so much for this recipe – I can't wait to give it a shot!

  25. Maria @ Oh Healthy Day says

    Oh my goodness – anything with sprinkles on top gets my vote! These looks amazing. They remind me of monkey bread, but I like how they are in muffin form, so they are already portioned out into serving sizes. Genius!

  26. Lizzy says

    Snow last week, 80º and chance of tornadoes tonight…wow.

    Love your darling bubble buns! My kids wouldn't want to help make them, just help eat them!

  27. Kim - Liv Life says

    I made something similar to this when my kids were little, but it was all in one big pan, I really like the smaller servings you have here!

  28. Foodiva says

    These bubble buns are simply adorable! I've got to get the kids on these soon, I'm sure they'll enjoy making and decorating them. And yes, I'll enjoy eating them afterwards!

  29. The Mom Chef says

    Yup, these are perfect. I love the recipes that have kid fingerprints all over them (even when you can't literally see them). They look fun; they feel fun; and I bet they taste delicious.

  30. Terra says

    What a cute idea! I love finding fun new ideas:-) AND I love love recipes where kids can help in the kitchen. Maybe getting that magazine was a sign the kids want to cook with you more in the kitchen, LOL;-)
    Take care,

  31. Fisher Boy Food says

    What a great recipe for kids and parents alike! The rainbow sprinkles make this tasty treat a load of fun. We agree with Terra, the best family recipes are the ones where kids can get involved. Thank you for sharing this!

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