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Coconut Sweet Rolls

August 24, 2023
Coconut Sweet Rolls


  • 3 ¼cups all-purpose flour
  • 2sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 4egg yolks
  • 1cup whole or 2% milk
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 3teaspoons instant yeast (or a packet, and then a pinch)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract, or about 1/8 of a teaspoon of fresh vanilla
  • ¼cup cinnamon sugar
  • A cup of sweetened toasted coconut shreds


  • Step 1

    Mix the yeast, the tablespoon of sugar, the pinch of salt, and the flour together.

  • Step 2

    In a separate large bowl, mash the butter down until smooth. This can be done in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer.

  • Step 3

    Add the egg yolks to the butter and combine them. Once combined, add the flour mixture and mix together until you have a crumbly, barely cohesive dough.

  • Step 4

    Put 3/4 cup of milk into the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. If you are using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, slowly stream the milk into the dough as you mix on low. If working by hand, use a spatula to incorporate the warm milk, and stir until the dough is fully incorporated, then begin kneading. (NB: The dough will appear too soft and sticky, almost concerningly so. Don’t panic. As you knead the dough, it will slowly begin to come together.)

  • Step 5

    Once the dough lifts off the side of the bowl effortlessly, cover it and set it aside to rise, roughly doubling in size. This can be done in a cool room for about 4-5 hours (a warm room will melt the butter in the dough), or in the fridge overnight, with a brief rise on the counter for about an hour.

  • Step 6

    On a large work surface (I used a large baking sheet), roll the dough into the shape of a rectangle, roughly half an inch thick (thinner is also fine).

  • Step 7

    Sprinkle the whole surface of the dough with the cinnamon sugar.

  • Step 8

    Begin folding the dough onto itself. To do this, take the end of the dough, and make an initial fold that is about 2 inches long. Fold that onto itself until you reach the end.

  • Step 9

    Slice the dough log into segments that are about 1 1/4 inches long. Place each piece, cut side down, into a baking pan. Put each piece so that it is no more than 1/8 of an inch away from the other.

  • Step 10

    Cover the pan and let it rise for about 30 minutes.

  • Step 11

    Preheat your oven to 350.

  • Step 12

    While the dough is rising, heat 3 tablespoons of milk until they are boiling, remove it from heat, and mix in your vanilla.

  • Step 13

    Add three cups of powdered sugar to the milk mixture, and stir until it comes together in a smooth frosting. Refrigerate it.

  • Step 14

    If you aren’t able to find toasted coconut, take your shredded coconut and put it on a baking sheet in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, monitoring it until it just starts to turn brown.

  • Step 15

    Once the buns have risen, put them in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges (another tell is the smell of cinnamon wafting through your house).

  • Step 16

    Remove the buns from a pan and immediately scoop out a tablespoon of frosting and dress each roll, and sprinkle coconut on top once the glaze has softened.