raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog

Hello! I come to you today with raspberry cacao nib sugar buns and a giveaway, both of which I’m terribly excited about. I’ve been baking up a storm lately;  this extended winter Minneapolis refuses to let go of is making us all stir-crazy, literally. So we’ve been kneading and rolling and folding and repeating too often for this little family of four. But! these tasty raspberry circles were worth our time, and after enjoying a few, we gladly passed them out to our neighbors.

And, speaking of stir-crazy (I know, cheesy), I am happy to be hosting a giveaway for these lovely wooden spoons by Wind and Willow Home! You may have seen Araya’s gorgeous dipped bowls all over Pinterest, as well as bunnies and planters and candle cups. Today she is giving away a set of wooden spoons – 3 lovely hand-dipped spoons to brighten your kitchen and welcome in spring. All you have to do is leave a comment below! [Giveaway open to all, and please leave an email address! I will pick a winner next Friday.]  The winner is Maria! I’ve sent you an email!

raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog

raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog

Raspberry Cacao Nib Sugar Buns

These little sugar buns are inspired by the lovely Seven Spoons, and while I’ve posted about them before, I couldn’t resist adding raspberry and cacao nibs to them. I also made this version with puff pastry (the original uses a Danish dough), and I think either would be delicious here. Originally I intended to use a cinnamon roll dough, but with the icing it all was a bit too sweet. If you do decide to go that route instead (in which case you may want to double the filling), I highly recommend The Smitten’s  version of cinnamon roll dough and icing. I did include almond paste in the filling, but if you are trying to save a trip to the store, I think you could omit it – the cream cheese, sugar, and raspberries will be delicious. And, the filling is a bit thin, but I found doubling it turned into a terrible oozy mess, and preferred to take it lighter. You could double it if you’d like.

Also,  I did use homemade puff pastry here, which I highly recommend. Store bought will work fine, but the taste of homemade is far superior. I used the recipe from Sarabeth’s Bakery, an excellent cookbook.

1 sheet of puff pastry
6 tablespoons browned butter
granulated sugar, for dusting
1 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
2 ounces almond paste
1/8 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
good pinch of salt
3 ounces fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 400.

Brown the butter (pictures and info here, if you need a visual).  Using a pastry brush, brush the wells of a muffin tin with the browned butter (about 1 tablespoon total). Generously sprinkle the wells with granulated sugar, so they are fully coated. Set the remaining brown butter aside to cool.

In a standing mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add almond paste, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, and beat until smooth. Add raspberries and mix on low until incorporated.

Lightly flour your work surface, and roll the puff pastry into an 8 x 20 inch rectangle. Brush the pastry with the remaining brown butter. Spread the raspberry filling over the surface, leaving a one inch border. Sprinkle the raspberry mixture evenly with cacao nibs. Starting with the long side, roll the pastry into a tight log. Pinch seams together and place the seam side down. With a serrated knife or a sharp scissors, cut the roll into 12 equal pieces. Place the pieces into the prepared muffin tin.

Bake buns until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes, then flip the buns onto a wire rack. When the buns are cool enough to handle, roll them in more granulated sugar, shaking off any excess. Best if eaten within a few hours.
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog


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79 Responses to raspberry cacao nib sugar buns + a giveaway!

  1. Wow! These are stunning! And I love the spoons, too! 🙂

  2. TheTine says:

    I love the contrast of the little hands and the elegant sugar buns.

  3. You have such a beautiful blog. And I’m not just saying that to enter the giveaway, honestly 🙂 I’m really glad to have found my way here – looking forward to reading through the archives!

  4. Hannah says:

    I can’t wait to try these. The almond paste sounds like a great addition!

  5. Ingrid says:

    Your photos are beautiful, I love the rolling picture with that sticky lovely filling. The rolls look divine, as do the bright lovely spoons… we are heading into winter so both would brighten up a winter kitchen!

  6. Morgan says:

    Mmmm… Soon as I get home I’m going to make me some of these buns. 🙂 and man, those spoons are beautiful: such talent!!

  7. These look so delicious – I love the pink colour and the shower of sugar on top. Those spoons look gorgeous too – I’m guessing the giveaway doesn’t extend to the UK?!

  8. Caz says:

    These sugar buns look so pretty and even though I’m gluten free I can still appreciate them. The photos are beautiful. The UK is also in the grips of an extended winter so being in the kitchen baking is the best answer. 🙂 Those spoons are just gorgesous. I love the pop of colour.

  9. amy says:

    Those look adorably delicious! I love the dreamy haze photo that comes back into focus on that last bite…irresistible. The spoons are tres cute-checking their site now-thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Anna says:

    Baking is definitely my way of making the best of the weather, too. These look amazing.

  11. Marywithgarden says:

    I have been in the same flurry of baking and these look lovely to try with GFGirl’s puff pastry! I love the colors of the spoons. Keep on baking!

  12. Megan says:

    These look so good! And love the spoons 🙂

  13. Leah Anne says:

    Those buns look amazing! I will have to try them once exams are over. And I’ve been looking for a nice set of wooden spoons for a while now, and haven’t found any I like. This set is so pretty!

  14. Oh man I wish I was your neighbour Sarah!!! Love the buns, love the spoons 🙂 xx

  15. Michelle L says:

    oh wow, these look perfect for a saturday treat! thanks for the recipe & giveaway

  16. tara says:

    SO gorgeous. You’re so smart with the addition of raspberry and cocoa nibs. And the almond paste! Truly inspired.

    It makes me grin to know that you’re making sugar buns. xo!

  17. Sarah, I’m in love with all your flavor combinations! I wish, wish, wish we were neighbors. And those spoons look like heaven!

  18. I just stumbled upon your blog and it’s wonderful! You have great photography and not to mention this recipe looks amazing 🙂 Glad I found this one!

  19. Caitlin says:

    these sugar buns are absolutely beautiful! and the spoons are very lovely, too!

  20. Can I win the buns?:) They look AMAZING!

  21. Maria says:

    I love cacao nibs! What a fantastic idea to pair them with raspberry in a bun! I think I might make these for my family’s April birthdays get-together! They’re so perfectly spring! As are those spoons. Sigh. Spoon envy.

  22. Lucia says:

    where do you buy cacao nibs???

    • Sarah says:

      Lucia – I’ve found them in bulk at my local co-op, and at higher-end grocery stores. I’m thinking whole foods would have them, or you could order them online. I hope that helps!

  23. Ashley says:

    Stellar! These look fantastic. I am especially in love with the 3rd photo. And I would also like to give those spoons a home in my kitchen. 🙂

  24. Kasey says:

    Sarah! These look incredible! The combination of raspberry and cocoa nibs (not to mention almond paste) sound heavenly. If only I wasn’t going back to work on Monday…I’d spend my day making these! xoxo Oh ! And the spoons! I love them!

  25. Leah B says:

    A great way to add a touch of bright Spring to the kitchen!

  26. Winnie says:

    These buns! These spoons! Swooning…

  27. Beverly says:

    These buns look so yummy!

  28. Maddie says:

    These look delicious! Raspberry and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations, and I can’t wait to try raspberry and cacao nibs! Love your blog – thanks for another great post.

  29. oh my gosh, so pretty and perfect for spring (buns and spoons!)

  30. Maggie says:

    What a great rainey day project.

  31. John says:

    It was Seven Spoons (Tara) who sent me here from Twitter and your website is now bookmarked and being admired. The spoons are fantastic, the recipe looks incredible, and the last photos is completely amazing. The way she’s looking at the bun, her little hand, and the coordination of color between her shirt and the marker (not to mention the amazing light)…all very perfect.

  32. Louise says:

    These look beautiful, can’t wait to try them out. Just found your blog (and what a find it is!) and I’ve saved it to my reading list, already created a long list of ‘to bakes’. Those woodens spoons are gorge too!

  33. Emily says:

    Sarah! I’m one of your many silent blog admirers, but good heavens these raspberry buns are too insanely gorgeous not to pipe up and say, if the roads weren’t so snowy, I’d try to drive down to snatch one! (We’re up in Duluth, and oh my word this winter is dragging on. We’re completely stir crazy too, though I’m churning my impatience for spring into batches of ice cream rather than baking.) I’ve been craving the bright flavor of raspberries, so I may well be making my own batch of these soon.

  34. Sally Mae says:

    I just discovered your site via Pinterest. I love your photography and style! I’m 90 min. east of Minneapolis…it just won’t end, this winter!! Sign me up for the spoons too. 🙂

  35. Audrey says:

    Those spoons are so cute, and your photography is gorgeous.

  36. Amanda says:

    Sarah, these are gorgeous – and you are the one who inspired me to try cacao nibs a few months back. Would love to make my next batch of muffins with these spoons!

  37. I can’t get over how pretty these are. I wish I had one for dessert right now!

  38. lyndee says:

    i stumbled across your blog through pinterest and love it! and i love the giveaway!

  39. jacquie says:

    both the spoons and your buns are lovely.

  40. Debbie Z. says:

    I sure would love to have these spoons. I’ve never really used wooden spoons and I think it is about time I started. : )

  41. Erin says:

    Everything looks so good, including the spoons!

  42. mamahay says:

    I recently found your blog and love your style (and recipes!). Thank you for sharing!

  43. Natasha says:

    Oh my, I love the idea of this filling!! Sugar buns might be the first thing I make once I’m done with school. These look so good!

  44. Julia says:

    These sugar buns look delicious and different, yum! Definitely want to try this for brunch tomorrow.

  45. JRoz says:

    My first visit to your blog – looks fabulous and I *will* be back! I have quite a wooden spoon collection (would NOT be without them; I use every one) and I love colour-coding – I think I require those spoons 🙂 Thx for the chance!

  46. Nickie Gorsky says:

    Miss VB, you have outdone yourself with these dear little yummy buns AND I LOVE THE SPOONS…the better to scoop you with! nickie@gorsky.org

  47. Truth time: never made puff pastry dough from scratch. This has got me feeling inspired. And I need a change of pace from cake batter! But as much as may bitch about sugar o.d….truth time part II: I just want more the next day. Baked goods 4eva. But mostly what I wanted to say about this post was that your beautiful daughter is upstaging the lovely spoons. When she gets older…. you’re gonna have your hands full, lady!

  48. Zainab says:

    Georgous post! Those spoons look so cute.

  49. carey says:

    Oh my, what a great flavor combo! You had me at raspberry + cacao nib, and then almond paste and browned butter too…..yes. Beautiful photos, as always, Sarah. (:

  50. Rachel says:

    Those spoons are so simple and cheerful-looking!

  51. Chelsea Dowdell says:

    These flavors have me itching to make this! I can definitely impress my teacher in culinary school with this in bakeshop class! And with the spoons too 😉

  52. a says:

    Golly! I think that I just fell in love! This is the first time that I have been to your blog (via Pinterest), and both this recipe and the spoons are magically tied to my heart! Carob and raspberry is one of my fave (recently discovered) combos! And wow! You have so many other gorgeous posts that I think I need to make a coffee and stay a while.

    Good luck to everyone entering to win those gorgeous spoons (although I am secretly hoping to be their new owner very soon 🙂 )!

  53. Mariah says:

    Those spoons are so cute! Nearly as cute as the pastries 🙂

  54. Sarah says:

    I love the spoons-and as always your photos make everything beautiful!

  55. Tina says:

    I love raspberries. You do them a great justice.

  56. Christine says:

    Mmmm, you are killing me! I am off sugar and gluten at the moment and when I visit, I feel more and more deprived! Your photos are lovely as always and I am certain your buns are delish! So since I can’t have the yummy buns, maybe the pretty spoons will be mine? : )

  57. Stacia says:

    Can’t wait to make these and i have had some of these items on my etsy faves!

  58. Joy says:

    Thanks for the beautiful and inspiring post! This is my first exposure to your blog and I am hooked. 🙂

  59. rachel says:

    My stomach is growling, looking at these photos

  60. Heather says:

    Those are so pretty — inside and out!

  61. Sara Martin says:

    Beautiful spoons & photography!
    I cannot wait to try this recipe!

  62. Kyna Marie says:

    i’ve been lusting over those spoons for weeks!

  63. Lindsey says:

    I’m looking to do a graduation brunch for my friends and these would look stunning and be pretty simple for me to make! So excited and gorgeous photography! love your blog…so much

  64. Katie L says:

    What a beautiful post. I’m hosting a party this weekend and may try these out!! Thank you for the recipe, and for the opportunity to [hopefully] win these awesome spoons!

  65. Stephanie says:

    Goodness, that picture of the raspberry and cocoa nibs about to be rolled up is like a total dream– I think I literally sighed out loud seeing it, so vibrant and delicious it looked! I wish I was having this for breakfast right now! And holy cow, homemade puff pastry? Doesn’t that take like an entire day to make? I’ve never tried only because I’ve heard of the horror stories but maybe I’ll need to check out that cookbook you mentioned.

  66. Tara says:

    I love everything you make and photograph! These look totally amazing

  67. This recipes looks divine and the spoons are adorable!

  68. Melody says:

    These look amazing. How do you not all get extremely fat?!

  69. Shirley says:

    Thrilled to have stumbled upon your blog. Lovely photography and delicious food. Thank you for sharing your talents. Would love those wooden spoons. Keep doing what you are doing. 😉

  70. Ariffa says:

    I love it when a blogger posts a beautiful recipe and I have all the ingredients on hands. Also. SPOONS. I’m moving into a new place soon and these would be a wonderful addition to my tiny kitchen

  71. autumn says:

    I love the flavors that you use here! And the spoons are just as lovely 🙂

  72. These sugar buns are gorgeous! So lovely. Love the spoons too:)

  73. I also really love your blog it’s gorgeous! I would love to win these!

  74. Jeannie Van Popta says:


  75. Cheryl says:

    I love everything about your blog — the fonts, the design, the photography, the stories…
    Glad I discovered your blog! Wouldn’t mind winning the lovely spoons — a nice little way to stir some sunshine into the day!

  76. Kelli says:

    Lovely buns and spoons!!

  77. Virginia says:

    I cant wait to try the onion dip and theses little raspberry buns also looking forward to try more great recipes!

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