There I was, minding my own business and quietly thinking about making some Chelsea buns when I succumbed to another chocolate challenge - I'm so easily led astray. These aren't really Chelsea buns anymore - the dough I ended up making is actually a variation on one I use for a simple brioche-style loaf, so this recipe is probably closer to a French chinois. Whatever they are, they’re suitably sticky and have now become my entry in the October “We Should Cocoa” chocolate challenge hosted by Chocolate Log Blog this month. The latest challenge is to use hazelnuts and, of course, chocolate.
This recipe uses a breadmaker to make life really easy. You could make life even easier still by replacing the filling with nutella or other such spread, but where's the fun in that?
This amount will make 8 buns.
For the dough:
¾ tsp easy bake dried yeast
240 g white bread flour
30 g ground almonds
30 g light soft brown sugar
½ tsp salt
60 g unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
50 ml milk
For the filling:
50 g hazelnut butter (see below)
40 g unsalted butter, softened
50 g icing sugar
40 g dark chocolate, in chips or small chunks
For the glaze:
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp water
1 tsp maple syrup
You could just buy some hazelnut butter, but it's easy to make if you have a little patience. I've found that it's not really practical to try making this with less than 100 g of nuts even though you only need 50 g for this recipe. Lightly toast the hazelnuts (shelled and skinned as far as possible) in a medium oven for about ten minutes, rub off any remaining skins in a cloth and add the nuts to a processor or blender. Pulse them for a while and then scrape down the sides of the processor. Repeat this sequence a number of times (possibly a large number of times) until the nuts release their oil and the contents start to look like butter rather than powder.
Add the dough ingredients to the breadmaker bucket. The order of the dough ingredients given here is correct for Panasonic breadmakers which add liquids last; other breadmakers reverse this order so it's probably best to follow the manufacturer's advice. Set the machine going on the basic dough setting.
Once the machine's done its bit, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently push and roll it into a rectangle of around 28 x 20 cm. Make the filling by mixing the unsalted butter, hazelnut butter and icing sugar together to give a thick but pliable goo and spread it over the rectangle of dough. Sprinkle over the chocolate – I prefer bashed up random bits to chocolate chips, but it doesn't make a big difference. Try to resist the temptation to add too much filling, or you might just end up with a sticky mess on the bottom of your buns after they're cooked.
Roll the dough up fairly tightly from the long side and cut the resulting dough sausage into 8 equal pieces. Thoroughly grease a 23 cm cake tin (or use silicone) and arrange the pieces of dough in it.
Place the tin somewhere reasonably warm and let the dough rise until the buns have pretty much doubled in size and are touching each other – this should only take 20 – 30 minutes.
Bake the buns at 180°C for 20 minutes or until nicely browned and cooked through. (If they seem to be browning too fast after 10 -12 minutes, then cover loosely with foil.)
While the buns are in the oven, make the glaze by adding the sugar and water to a small pan, heating gently and stirring until the sugar has dissolved and then boiling for 4 or 5 minutes to get a thickish syrup. Take off the heat and stir in the maple syrup. Brush this glaze as evenly as possible over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.
Allow the buns to cool a little in the tin, then cool completely on a wire rack before pulling apart into the eight buns. Now try to eat one without getting sticky - I don't think it's possible.