I like chocolate. I like warm chocolate a lot. What I adore is a bun full of warm chocolate and with a crunchy topping and this is exactly what this recipe delivers.
I would really recommend eating these still warm from the oven and with a nice hot cup of coffee which suits this sudden turn in weather that September has brought us. We’ve been looking longingly at the central heating button since the beginning of this week! It’s just so windy and so chilly. I feel myself leaning towards scarves but have to remind myself that it’s really not that cold yet!
These buns are actually very simple to make. The yeasty part slightly concerned me as I’m a bit dense when it comes to complicated recipes but it’s extremely easy and the most complicated part is making sure the buttery milk is lukewarm and not hot or cold. I used dark chocolate buttons to make these and I like the effect they create and the little bursts of chocolate that they lend to the buns. I’m sure using broken up dark chocolate wouldn’t make much difference but if you can buy the dark chocolate cooking drops, they do melt beautifully and they are easy to regulate and spread. The egg wash and brown sugar is also really important for a crispy top. You’ll notice in the oven that after a certain while, the tops bronze and the crust forms.
We ate some the next day and while still very nice when they had gone cold, we popped one in a warm oven for a couple of minutes and they were like new.
This recipe makes quite a lot but it’s worth it! You could of course share some of these or you could keep this recipe up your sleeve for ‘Share the Love’ day on September 24th which is a wonderful idea whereby you bake two of something and give the other away. The idea is that you would bake an apple crumble and give an apple crumble away but as long as you’re gifting, any cake is good cake! More information available from here.
So enough of this chattering and on with the buns! The original recipe comes from the most exhaustingly beautiful Irish man I have ever seen. I have already planned our wedding such is the level of my obsession with him. I discovered him recently on This Morning (who said being unemployed was a waste of time!!) and have been obsessed since. However, his website is here, should you wish to visit him and drool. Please do remember he’s mine, however!
I suppose these are rather like chelsea buns, quite briochey in texture, but I have named mine ‘Charlbury buns’ because that’s where I live. Simples.
Chocolate Charlbury Buns
makes about 30
you will need: muffin cases and muffin trays
for the dough and topping:
- 400ml milk
- 110g butter
- 14g yeast (about a heaped teaspoon)
- 110g caster sugar
- 750g cream flour (cream flour appears to be an Irish invention and there’s no real equivalent here. It’s a superfine flour with an element of raising agent so I used our very fine self raising flour and added a teaspoon of baking powder. Any more and you can taste the baking powder)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 beaten egg
for the innards of your buns:
- 110g butter
- 90g caster sugar
- 100g dark chocolate
- Melt your butter in a thick bottomed saucepan over a low heat and add the milk. Leave this on the heat and when the mixture has become lukewarm, add the caster sugar (from the first list of ingredients), salt and yeast. Stir this and remove from the heat.
- Tip this mixture into a large bowl and incorporate your flour slowly, bit by bit. It will seem like it’s going to be really dry but it will eventually combine to make a lovely silky dough and your arm may ache a little bit.
- When the dough has come together and is no longer sticky, turn out of the bowl and knead for 5 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl and leave to rise for 45 minutes covered with a clean tea towel.
- While this is rising, beat the sugar and butter (from the second list) together until these are a spreadable mix. I used the magimix to do this because it’s super quick and because, as always, I’d forgotten to take my butter out of the fridge and it was rock solid.
- When the dough has risen, cut it in half and roll into two rectangles about 5mm thick and even sided.
- Spread the buttery sugar filling over the d0ugh and sprinkle evenly with dark chocolate.
- Roll the dough from one side in to the middle (like a snail) and cut, with a sharp knife, into 2-3 cm slices.
- Place these face up in cupcake wrappers and coat the surface with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the tops with brown sugar.
- Bake at 220C for about 1o minutes.
You will then be very hard pressed not to eat about 100 of them because they smell chocolatey and like warm bread and well, because it would be a shame not to eat them while they’re warm. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now all you need is a cup of tea…