Homemade Walnut Sweet Brioche Buns

Happy to introduce to you my ultimate comfort dessert – the Walnut-filled Brioche knots! These amazing treats are so decadent and delicious, I can barely keep myself from running to the kitchen and baking up another batch before I finish writing this blog post!

This recipe draws inspiration from the traditional Romanian dessert called “mucenici,” which is typically enjoyed during a special celebration in early spring. This is one of my favorite childhood treats, reason why I couldn’t resist the idea of enjoying them year-round. Because let’s face it – why limit ourselves to enjoying such deliciousness only once a year when we can savor it whenever we please? 

While the classic recipe does not include any filling, I decided my version deserved a delicious walnut filling that complements the delicious dough to perfection!

Both the dough and filling include a combination of orange and lemon zest which gives these brioche knots a huge flavor uplift. And when coupled with the soft brioche bun, the walnut filling, and honey drizzle on top, they just hit all the right spots. Believe me,  these sweet treats are bound to become a favorite in your household. 

What makes these brioche knots so special?

Imagine sinking your teeth into a soft, fluffy bread infused with the rich sweetness of honey and the nutty crunch of walnuts. Each bite is a delightful balance of flavors, with the subtle warmth of spices adding depth to the overall experience. These breads are the epitome of comfort and indulgence, transporting your taste buds to a realm of pure bliss with every mouthful.

Why should you make this recipe?

  • These sweet brioche knotted breads are bursting with flavor, thanks to the irresistible combination of honey and walnuts. Plus, the aroma given by the lemon and orange zest bring these sweet breads to a whole new level of irresistibility.
  • Whether you enjoy them as a sweet treat for breakfast, a delightful snack with your afternoon tea, or a comforting dessert after dinner, these breads are versatile enough to be enjoyed at any time of day, any day of the year. 
  • If you like to try different cuisines around the world, these sweet breads will give you a very authentic experience of Romanian traditional sweets.



Milk – Adds moisture and richness to the dough. I used full-fat milk, but semi-skimmed can work as well. 

Butter –  Enhances the flavor and texture of the dough.

Powdered sugar – Sweetens the dough and dissolves quickly without altering the dough’s texture. 

Vanilla extract – Infuses the dough with a warm, aromatic flavor.

Lemon & orange zest – Provides bright citrus notes to the dough. 

Flour – For this recipe, I used type 000 flour because it makes the brioche top a little crispier, but all-purpose flour works just fine as well. 

Salt – Balances the sweetness and enhances the overall flavor profile. Do not skip the salt!

Instant yeast – Leavens the dough, promoting a light and airy texture.

Egg – Enriches the dough with moisture and helps bind the ingredients together.


Milk – Contributes moisture and richness to the filling.

Ground walnuts – Provide nutty flavor and texture to the filling.

Cranberries – Add a tart and fruity contrast to the filling. If you prefer, you can sub these with raisins. 

Sugar – Sweetens the filling and enhances its flavor.

Salt – Balances the flavors and enhances the overall taste.

Vanilla extract – Infuses the dough with a warm, aromatic flavor.

Lemon & orange zest – Provide bright citrus notes to the filling that match the dough flavor perfectly. 


Egg yolk & Milk – Create a glossy, golden finish and add moisture to the surface of the brioche knots.

Honey – Provides a luscious, sweet glaze that adds flavor and shine to the brioche knots. It also keeps them moist and fluffy longer!

Ground walnuts  Provide a crunchy top to the brioche knots. 

Tips for recipe success

  • Make sure to knead the dough thoroughly until it reaches a soft and non-sticky consistency. This step is crucial for developing the bread’s structure and ensuring a light and fluffy texture.
  • Pay attention to the temperature when cooking the butter mixture and proofing the dough. Avoid overheating the butter mixture, and ensure the dough rises in a warm, draft-free environment for optimal results.
  • When spreading the filling onto the dough, aim for even distribution to ensure every bite is bursting with flavor. Avoid overfilling, as this can cause the breads to burst open during baking.
  • Take care when shaping the dough into knots to ensure they hold their shape during baking. Follow the instructions carefully, and gently tuck and secure the ends to prevent unraveling.

Homemade Walnut Sweet Brioche Knots

Course: DessertCuisine: RomanianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Baking time




Total time





Introducing my (and soon-to-be your) latest obsession: Walnut-Filled Brioche Knots! These heavenly treats are my go-to comfort dessert, drawing inspiration from the beloved Romanian tradition of “mucenici.” Why wait for a special occasion when you can enjoy these sweet brioche buns year-round? With a mouthwatering walnut filling encased in soft, citrus-infused brioche dough and a generous drizzle of honey on top, each bite is pure bliss. Perfect for those seeking to expand their culinary horizons and experience the rich tapestry of flavors from around the world!


  • Dough
  • 150ml milk

  • 40g butter

  • 70g powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • zest of half a lemon + zest half an orange

  • 350g flour type 000 or all-purpose

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 5g dry yeast

  • 1 egg

  • Filling
  • 120g milk

  • 100g ground walnuts

  • 40g cranberries

  • 50g sugar

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • zest of half a lemon + zest half an orange

  • Glaze
  • 1 egg yolk

  • 2 tbsp milk

  • 60ml honey

  • 20g ground walnuts


  • In a sauce pan, whisk together the milk, butter, powder sugar, lemon and orange zests. Cook on low heat until the butter is fully melted, but make sure it doesn’t get too hot to touch.
  • Transfer the mixture into a bowl, add yeast and 2 spoons of flour, then whisk well. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add the egg and salt and whisk again.
  • Slowly add 300g of flour, one spoonful at a time, while continuously whisking until well incorporated. Reserve 50g of flour for kneading.
  • Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 15 minutes, gradually adding the remaining flour until the dough is soft and non-sticky. To test if the dough is ready, take a small piece and stretch it in front of a light. If it becomes transparent without tearing, the dough is ready.
  • Allow the dough to rest in a warm spot, covered, for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • For the filling, combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes or until most of the milk is absorbed. Let it cool before using.
  • Once the dough is ready, divide it into 8 equal parts (you can use a kitchen scale to be exact) and shape them into balls. Roll each ball into an elongated oval shape, about 15-20cm long and 6-8cm wide.
  • Divide the filling into 8 portions (again, if you want to be exact, use a kitchen scale).
  • Spread the filling onto the dough.
  • Roll the dough from the wider side to form a rope-like shape, ensuring the filling is secured inside by pinching the sides and ends. To create the knot shape, lay one end of the rope over the other to form a hollow loop, leaving two ends on each side. Pull the end that’s underneath towards the center of the loop, tucking it under the outside circle. Lift the upper end and pull it over the hole and the outside of the circle, then tuck it under the bread roll to complete shaping the knot. Repeat this process with each dough ball until you have 8 kneaded breads.
  • Place the knotted breads on a baking tray, leaving space between each one. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for another 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Mix the egg yolk with 2 tbsp of milk and brush it over the dough.
  • Bake for 5 min, then cover the breads with parchment paper to prevent the tops from burning. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Once baked, remove from the oven and brush the breads with honey and sprinkle the ground walnuts on top.
  • Allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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