I really don't like Sundays. Well, Mondays are no better really, but Sundays put me in a really strange mood - I know I can't get another sleep in, Monday is fast approaching and everything gets a tad overwhelming. Cue baking - it always helps with the Sunday melancholy and the smell of freshly baked buns from the oven makes the prospect of the coming week a bit more bearable. Plus, seeing a small ball of dough magically double in size is incredibly satisfying. Yes yeast, victory is mine! Again :)
Today was a day for Chelsea buns. The recipe I used is for cinnamon rolls and I first found it on one of my favourite blogs, Shutterbean. It was the middle of winter and the sticky cinammony rolls were calling my name from the screen - who could resist the temptation to try them out? I initially followed the recipe and used cream cheese which resulted in the aforementioned cream cheese spread all over my kitchen worktop. Never one to indulge in scraping all surfaces for hours to get rid of sticky mess I happily skipped the cream cheese stage next time I made the rolls and well, wouldn't you know it, they turned out delicious and I couldn't really tell the difference.
I digress. The recipe makes a batch of incredibly soft fluffy dough which is easy to roll out and can be stuffed with a variety of goodness. I decided to use dried currants and almonds.
To make about 10-12 buns you'll need (the recipe uses American cup measurements, but can be converted into grams - Delia's conversion tables to the rescue!):
1 1/4 sachet of dry active yeast (I use sachets of 7g)
1/2 tsp + 1/2 of sugar
1/2 cup milk (room temperature - I usually heat mine up a bit)
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 whole egg and 1egg yolk
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp melted unsalted butter
Ok, ready? First you need to prepare the yeast mixture: combine yeast, 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl, stir until combined and set aside for about 10 minutes until it gets nice and frothy. While the yeast is doing what it does best, you can start preparing the rest of the dough ingredients. In a big bowl mix sugar, brown sugar, egg and egg yolk, milk and vanilla - stir with a whisk or a food mixer until combined. Melt butter in a small pan and set aside to let it cool (I usually use just over 125 grams of butter).
By now your yeast mix should be frothy - add it to the egg, sugar and milk, stir and add flour and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate all the flour.
Now, in an ideal world I would have a shiny KitchenAid to do all the work for me, but as it's currently out of my reach I use an electric handheld mixer with dough hooks - it certainly does the trick! If you don't have dough hooks you need to knead the dough by hand (bit of elbow grease = nice muscly arms!).
As the dough starts coming together add melted butter (a tablespoon at a time). The kneading takes about 10-15 minutes and you should end up with a nice smooth soft ball - sticky, but coming away from the sides of the bowl. That's the laborious bit done - cover the bowl with clingfilm and a clean tea towel, put aside in a warm place for about 1.5-2 hours and give yourself a pat on the back. And make some tea.
About 1/2 cup of melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup currants or raisins (soaked in some warm water to make them soft)
3/4 cup flaked toasted almonds
After about two hours the dough should have doubled in size (magic!) - take it out of the bowl and place on a lightly floured worktop. Gently knead the dough for about a minute to get rid of the air and make it more pliable. Now take a rolling pin and roll the dough out into a large rectangle (less than 1cm thick). Spread some melted butter on top, sprinkle brown sugar, currants and almonds. Now roll the dough into a long sausage (along the longer side of the rectangle). Take a sharp knife and cut into 10-12 slices. Place into a shallow baking tray, buttered or lined with greaseproof paper. Cover with cling film and a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for about an hour until they double in size. There's a lot of waiting around but the result is so worth it, trust me!
Once the rolls have doubled in size they are ready for baking. Finally! - I hear you say. They go into the oven heated to 190 C for about 30 minutes or until they are golden brown.
While the rolls are cooling you can prepare the icing. Whisk a cup of icing sugar with 2-3 tablespoons water/milk to achieve a slightly runny, pourable consistency (think double cream consistency - that's about right). Pour over the rolls, sprinkle some almonds on top and eat (or devour - no one will blame you - you deserve it!).
PS. I didn't take pictures of the process, but I promise try and do that with the next recipe - I'm still learning here!