Week 2: Cinnamon walnut and chocolate roll

This time with salted caramel glaze. I never thought I would attempt to bake bread so soon, but, this cinnamon nut bun recipe from Martha Stewart seemed manageable.

Unfortunately, my first attempt was not too successful, and the buns came out too dense, prompting me to bin the whole batch. Thankfully, after some research, and a bit of experiment, I managed to adapt these to something I can see myself baking more of in the future.

I like my cinnamon rolls with more “punch”, so, more cinnamon, more chocolate and more walnuts. Also, toast the walnuts to give it more flavor and aroma. You won’t regret it. Below is my version of the recipe:

Makes 12 rolls

INGREDIENTS

For dough

2 teaspoons instant yeast

¾ cup warm whole milk (115 degrees)

30g unsalted butter, melted, plus more for bowl and pans

1 ½ tablespoon sugar

¾ teaspoons salt

1 large

3 to 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

vegetable oil (to coat hand)

For filling

30g unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans

½ cup packed dark-brown sugar

½ cup walnuts

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt

All-purpose flour, for work surface

For glaze

1 cup salted caramel sauce

DIRECTIONS

1) For tangzhong, add ¼ cup of flour to 1 ¼ cup of water. Mix until smooth (no more lumps). Heat up the flour and water mixture in a pan until it becomes thick and sticky (you should see lines in the mixture as you stir). If a thermometer is available, heat it up to 65 degrees.

2) Warm up milk and add in butter. Then, whisk in salt, sugar and egg. Ensure mixture is smooth, then, add in yeast, followed by tangzhong.

3) Using a wooden spoon, stir in 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, until you have a soft, shaggy dough (if necessary, add up to ½ cup more flour). If dough is too sticky, add some vegetable oil onto hand before handling the dough. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes. Butter the inside of a large bowl; place dough in bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 1 ¼ hours.

4) Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. In a food processor, combine brown sugar, nuts, chocolate, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Pulse until coarsely ground; set nut mixture aside.

5) Roll dough out to a 16-by-10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Spread 4 tablespoons butter over dough, leaving a ½-inch border all around. Sprinkle nut mixture over butter. Leave a border around the filling so it doesn’t seep. Starting at a long end, roll up dough like a jellyroll; with a sharp knife, cut crosswise into 12 equal pieces.

6) Place buns, cut side down, in prepared pans. Cover pans loosely with plastic; let stand in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 ¼ hours.

7) Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Bake buns for 10 minutes. Then, rotate pan, and bake for another 15 minutes.

8) Prepare glaze: In a small saucepan, heat salted caramel sauce so that it is warm and runny. Drizzle glaze over buns; let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I decided to use my leftover salted caramel sauce as the glaze instead of the original glaze from Martha Stewart using dark brown sugar. I thought the slightly salted taste helps to balance the otherwise sweet bun fillings quite nicely.

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