No matter how hard I try, our Easter chocolate mountain is showing no sign of shrinking. I've a feeling chocolate rabbits are as prolific breeders as their furry counterparts - though I'm not sure how they produced the chocolate seahorses lurking in the pantry. In a bid to both use up some of the chocolate and make us a weekend breakfast treat, I've devised the following recipe. It's also handily suitable for April's We Should Cocoa challenge, in which honey is the special guest star ingredient.
Chocolate Honey Buns
I had all sorts experimenting with hiding different sorts of chocolate inside the dough when I made these, though not as much fun as my little assistant, who managed to swipe two buns off the bench while I was hunting for the camera.
Little, solid chocolate Easter eggs worked well, but anything with a truffle-y, toffee-y centre was less successful and tended to ooze out everywhere. 'Normal' dark chocolate is probably best in terms of flavour and keeping its shape..
This is a very sticky dough, so it's best handled in a freestanding mixer with a dough hook. If you've got forearms of steel and lots of patience, by all means do it by hand.
450g strong white flour
1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1 large or 2 small eggs
70g butter, at room temperature, cut into small slices
12 - 24 squares of good chocolate - or small Easter eggs, seahorses, bits of bunny or other random chocolates
50ml milk, for glazing
Put the milk in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in the honey and let cool to blood temperature.
Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in the bowl of a freestanding mixer. When the milk and honey mixture has sufficiently cooled, add it and the egg(s) to the dry ingredients. Beat well with a wooden spoon, then turn on the mixer and mix at medium speed for five minutes until a smooth and shiny dough forms. Add a slice of butter and wait for it to be amalgamated into the dough, then repeat with the rest until it is all in.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside in a warm place until it has nearly doubled - about an hour or so.
Heat the oven to 180C and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and punch down lightly. Divide into 12 pieces. Roll each one into a ball, inserting a piece of chocolate as you go. Place in the muffin tins.
Brush the buns with milk and bake for 20-25 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Leave in the tin for five minutes, then turn out onto a rack. These are at their very best eaten hot, while the chocolate is still molten, but they're still good at room temperature. They also freeze well, but I doubt you'll have many left over.
Have a great weekend, everyone