Despite getting home late on Sunday I couldn't wait to have a crack at something from 'Warm Bread and Honey Cake' so duly set out to make chocolate and hazelnut buns. It turned into rather a fraught experience. The first check was realising that my flour bin had been infested with aphids (escapees from a nearby mint plant). They were everywhere and, whilst possibly tempting for ladybirds, quite off putting. After a bit if searching I unearthed an unopened packet of flour which was bug free, and a bottle of bleach for dealing with the flour bin. Distracted by the insects I then forgot to add salt to my dough, something I only remembered when I had added the filling. I now know exactly what it is that salt does in bread - it's important. Irritation factor aside it was quite interesting to see what a difference it makes, without the salt the dough had no elasticity. In the end the buns went in the bin (bake off style).
Monday night I had another go after work, and was rewarded by a perfect bun in time to retire to bed with in the company of a cup if tea and the latest Slightly Foxed Quarterly - not a bad end to an otherwise challenging day. I love cinnamon buns (with a passion) but am prepared to agree with Gaitri when she says a chocolaty version makes a pleasant change - they do, and these are delicious, they're not to sweet and the chocolate flavour isn't overpowering, the nuts give a fantastic texture.
The dough needs 350g white bread flour, 1 sachet of instant yeast, 2tsp sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 55g butter, 1 egg, and 150mls of milk. Warm the milk and melt the butter in it, then let come down to luke warm whilst chucking everything else in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and butter and mix (it's a sticky dough so dough hooks are best) until smooth and supple. Cover with cling film or similar and put somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size.
Meanwhile take 100g of hazelnuts, 75g of granulated sugar, 25g of cocoa and blitz in a blender until the nuts are well chopped. When the dough has risen knock it back then shape it into a rectangle about 40x30 cm and slather it with 50g of well softened butter (next time I'm going to see what happens if I just make it all into a paste because the chocolate mix was keen to escape) sprinkle the chocolate nut mix over the dough and roll up to make a long roll. Have a 20cm square baking tin to hand (buttered and lined) cut the roll into 9 pieces, arrange in the tin, cover and allow to rise until they press cosily together (double in size) heat the oven to 180/gas4 and bake for 25 mins or until golden brown. Cool and eat.