Each year, at this time of year, I vow to make more bread and yeasted bakes. Mornings spent in the kitchen, pottering while you wait for dough to rise then filled with the smell of baking, are a great way to force yourself to slow down. There’s something about the cold of these February days with the promise of Spring on the way that invites the spicy lightness of Scandinavian yeasted buns. I’ve experimented with cheat’s cinnamon buns and a vegan version, and after visiting Copenhagen last Summer was keen to find a chocolate bun recipe to replicate those we tried at one of our many fika spots. This delicious version combines aromatic cardamom, rich chocolate and nutty hazelnut. I know the famous spread has had bad press recently, but here a wee bit goes a long way as it melts through the middle of the buns, satiating any chocolate cravings. To make the dough, you will need:
13g dried yeast
250 ml lukewarm whole milk
80g butter, melted and cooled slightly
40g caster sugar
400 – 500g strong white flour
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 medium egg, beaten.
Add the dried yeast to the warm milk (it should be around body temperature) and whisk. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes – it should look nice and bubbly.
Pour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Mix together for one minute, then add the sugar and mix again.
Add the flour, salt and spices to the milk mixture a little at a time.
Add half the beaten egg and knead for five minutes.
The dough should be quite sticky – add a touch more flour if you think it will be too difficult to handle, but too much can make the dough dry so use sparingly.
Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, make the filling. You will need:
50g softened butter
75g light brown sugar
4 tbsp hazelnut spread
1 tbsp plain flour
50g good quality milk chocolate
1 beaten egg, for brushing
2 – 3 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing
Toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (optional).
Combine the butter, sugar, hazelnut spread and flour.
You could do this in a food processor, or by hand with a little elbow grease. Set aside and grease and line a large baking tin.
Turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a minute or so.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle – approximately 30 x 40 cm.
Spread the chocolate filling in an even layer over the top and scatter with chocolate.
Roll the dough tightly up lengthways to form a long sausage.
Cut into around 16 pieces – use a sharp knife and move quickly, but don’t worry if they’re not perfectly round.
Squash the buns tightly into your baking tray to make a tear and share traybake or bake separately, spaced apart. I did a mixture of the two and you can see the results below. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for another 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ Gas 6. Brush the buns with a beaten egg and bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and brush immediately with golden syrup to glaze.
You could decorate them with roasted chopped hazelnuts. Place a damp tea towel on top to prevent the buns going dry. You can see the two variations of the bun below – tear and share or individual. Both have their charms!
Have you made Scandinavian buns before? What are you baking this weekend?