Chocolate Swirly Easter Buns

by Claudia Anton – The Sugarologist

Easter and Passover are very different celebrations, but these buns are inspired by Babka Cake, meaning they are suited to both. Recipe and images by Claudia Anton – winner of the Great Australian Bake Off

I’ve kicked off the Easter season with a bun to please everyone.

In fact this is really a compromise bun for my family who love the babka I’ve featured earlier but simply cannot agree on either fruit or the less traditional chocolate chips (my kids are voting for the latter) in their Easter hot cross buns.
So here is a delicious little experiment.
It’s an orange scented yeast bun, enriched with butter, filled with a swirls of chocolate and drenched in spiced orange syrup. This way you get fruit, chocolate, bun, sticky syrup and spice – just delivered a little differently.

Claudia Anton – The Sugarologist

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 500g Tipo ’00’ flour
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 250ml lukewarm milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 60g raw caster sugar
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 150g soft unsalted butter

For the chocolate spread:

  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 50g rapadura sugar
  • 25g dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 pinch of salt

For the syrup:

  • 100g raw sugar
  • 50ml water
  • Rind of one orange
  • 5 cardamon pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 60ml fresh orange juice

For the cross pattern:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 120ml water
  • Extra milk to brush the buns
Buns ready to go into the oven! Image: Claudia Anton

Method

To make dough:

Whisk together the flour and yeast in a large bowl (ie the large bowl of a stand mixer if using)

Mix the warm milk, eggs, vanilla, salt and zest in a jug.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the sugar along with the milk mixture.

Knead the dough using a stand mixer for 6-7 minutes until smooth.

Add the soft butter bit by bit and knead in until completely combined and smooth. (about 5 minutes more)

Allow the dough to prove in a warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled. Make sure the bowl is covered in a warm tea towel, silicon lid or cling film to stop it drying out.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate spread:

Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave or over a double boiler.

Stir in the softened butter, sugar, sifted cocoa, vanilla and salt and mix well until everything is smoothly blended together. There may be some small grains of sugar but this is ok.

Keep the mixture at room temperature. If it becomes solid, warm it slightly in the microwave or over a double boiler until it is of a spreadable consistency again.

Buns ready to go into the oven! Image: Claudia Anton

To assemble the buns:

Empty the dough onto a lightly floured bench.

Press and roll out the dough to a large rectangle  – 40 x 50cm, sprinkling a little more flour on the bench as needed if it starts to stick.

Spread the chocolate mixture all over the dough using the back of a tablespoon.

Roll up the dough into a long sausage starting from the long edge of the rectangle.

Cut into 5cm lengths using a sharp knife of the edge of a bench scraper.
Arrange in a 9 inch deep round tin which has been buttered. Make sure the smooth part of the buns are on top and the rolled edges stay on the sides. Fit them snuggly together.

Place one the buns in the middle.

 Brush all of the buns with milk, then allow to prove, covered with a tea towel until visibly risen.

To make the cross pattern:

Add water to the flour and stir well until you have a smooth paste that is thin enough to pipe, but thick enough to hold its shape.

Empty this into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle with a small round hole. Alternatively you can use a zip lock bag with the corner snipped off, or a disposable piping bag with the end snipped off.

Pipe the cross pattern over the risen buns.

Bake the buns:

Bake at 200 degrees C (fan forced) for 5 minutes before turning the oven down to 180 degrees C for 10 minutes, then 170 degrees C for another 10-15 minutes until risen and golden.

While the buns are baking, prepare the syrup:

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan.

Bring to boil then allow to simmer for a minute or two.

Turn off the heat and let the orange and spices infuse into the syrup.

Serve:

Brush the syrup generously over the hot buns, just after they have come out of the oven

Serve warm and gooey!

Ready to serve. Image: Claudia Anton

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