More chocolate and more spices. I just can’t get enough. And another post so quickly after the last one, but I really wanted you to have this for Christmas.
Before we begin, cast aside any ideas about a traditional cinnamon roll recipe that you might have. Their dough is firm and easily manipulated, and yes, they are a joy. But these are different. These are based loosely on the idea of a Swedish kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon roll) but the dough is very loose and very sticky, so that the buns will be gorgeously soft.
I have been playing around with cinnamon rolls for some time now, and I wondered what a chocolate one might be like. I pushed the dough until it was as loose and as sticky as it could be to yield a soft bun when cooked. It also makes them so easy to put together. I chose cardamom over cinnamon, because I love the chocolate and cardamom combination, and felt cinnamon did not need to be involved.
These are simple, and not too sweet. They are very messy too, but this is a little liberating. When the dough is ready, you just slap it out, and squish it, spread the butter, gently roll and slice. They are wonderful fresh out of the oven, but like all pastries of this type, they fade and toughen up fast. The best thing to do is eat the ones you want on the day, and once cool immediately freeze all of the others, bringing them back to life in a medium oven when you want one. They won’t be quite the same as fresh, but they will be better than most from the shop.
I topped these with a very simple runny ganache which works very well, especially when the buns are hot. I had planned to make a cream cheese icing to go on top, with maple and rum and candied clementines. Lets save that for next time, it is too good not to appear here. For now, we will stick with chocolate, which is perfect in its own way.
Enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas!
Recipe: Chocolate and Cardamom Sticky Buns
450g plain flour
50g good cocoa
1 tsp dried yeast
75g brown sugar
300ml full fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
spiced butter filling: 16 cardamom pods, 100g butter, 75g light brown sugar, 50g dark chocolate (in chips or grated)
glaze: 75ml single cream, 50g dark chocolate (chopped small)
1 beaten egg, to glaze
2 x 10 inch circular cake tins, greased with butter or lined with baking parchment
Heat the milk and butter in the same pan until it is just comfortable to put your finger in it, neither hot nor cold, body temperature. Any hotter and the milk will kill the yeast.
Combine the flour, dried yeast and cocoa. Create a well in the centre and add the milk and butter mixture, and the egg, mixing with the flour as you do. Mix well in the bowl (you can do all of this in a mixer too).
Leave the dough to rise in a warm part of your kitchen or your home. While the dough is rising, prepare the spiced butter filling. Lightly bash the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar, remove the seeds and discard the pods, then grind the seeds as fine as you can. Add the sugar to this, and grind gently. Empty the spiced sugar into a bowl and mix well with the butter so that it is soft and pliable.
When the dough has doubled in size (this should take no longer than an hour), knock the dough back, knocking any air out. Lightly oil the surface that you plan to shape the rolls on and turn the tough on to it. Flatten the dough out until it is about 45 cm long and 3o cm deep.
Spread the spiced butter evenly over the dough and sprinkle the chocolate over it. Gently roll the chocolate dough, as you would for a swiss roll. Don’t worry if it is very squishy. Cut into 14 equal pieces, gently pulling them apart to expose the layers, as you lay them flat. Arrange the buns with 7 in each tin, 6 in a circle and one in the middle.
Preheat your oven to 200 deg C. Allow the buns to rest and rise for half an hour, then bake for 15 minutes. They will be done when the top is crisp. Some of the spiced sugar and chocolate will have settled and caramelised at the bottom, making them gorgeously sticky.
When the buns are done, prepare the ganache. Heat the cream in a pan until it is hot but not boiling. Take off the heat and add the chocolate, stirring through until melted. Drizzle over the buns, and pull apart to eat.
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