Chocolate Cranberry Sticky Buns

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: 12 sticky buns
Recipe: 58/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 233

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   The third and last dessert I made this past weekend were the scrumptious-looking chocolate cranberry buns. As always, I was craving chocolate when I was baking, thus my primary motivation for making these pull-apart sticky buns. Unfortunately, however, what I obtained was not so scrumptious-looking and definitely not pull-awart gooeyness. I don’t know at what step I could have made a mistake, but something definitely happened with this recipe. Although I re-read it two times, something didn’t add up. When preparing to roll, the dough was extremely wet and soft, not anything that could be folded. I had a feeling at this point that I would not obtain sticky buns, but I went ahead with the recipe anyway since it was mostly done. The dough never raised and was always very soft, wet and sticky. What I achieved in the end were things that looked like muffins and were a bit dry. I am mostly annoyed with this as I have no idea where I went wrong. I triple-checked that I used the correct yeast. The taste itself is not even so good to me, but perhaps I am biased by the unsavoury look of the chocolate muffins. I will undoubtedly add this recipe to the list of those I want to repeat to improve. Perhaps you will have better results (let me know if you do!). 

Ingredients for starter:

  • 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for base:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Ingredients for brushing:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

  1. For the starter, stir all the ingredients together and set aside while preparing the base.
  2. For the base, using a hand or stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and blending after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Start and finish with the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the side of the bowl after each addition.
  5. Stir in the starter, the dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Mix well to combine.
  6. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise, refrigerated, overnight. (Note: at this point the dough will be very wet and very sticky).
  7. Prepare the filling by creaming the butter until fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Grease a muffin tin.
  8. On a generously floured work surface, turn out the dough. Flour the surface of the dough and roll it to a rectangle of about 20 inches by 12 inches. The dough will be very easy to roll since it is so soft.
  9. Spread the filing over the surface of the dough and sprinkle it with the dried cranberries. Roll up the dough from the long slide and slice into 12 buns. Place each bun into a muffin cup, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  11. Whisk the egg with the water and brush the buns with the mixture. Bake for about 50 minutes until they are cooked though (you can tell by peeking through the layers of dough. Let the buns cool completely in the pan.

Valerie

Currant Scones

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: 16 scones
Recipe: 57/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 226

Currant scones

   The second baked goods I made during my baking day were these cute-looking currant scones. I actually did not know exactly what currants were, but I assumed that they were probably a dried fruit of some sort. They are dried red grapes, as it is (probably everyone except me knows that, oh well). I found out when making the white chocolate and pepper scones that I love scones, and the texture of these were similar: a crusty outside and a moist, warm and flaky inside. Although the texture of these scones were on point, I found the taste to be a bit lacking. Maybe I am not a fan of currants, after all. The scones were missing something sweet for me, personally. 

Edit: I actually find that these scones taste better when reheated the next day! The flavor of the currants come out more, somehow.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces and chilled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup cold milk, plus extra for brushing
  • 1/2 cup dried currants

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and nutmeg to combine.
  3. Cut in the chilled butter using the mixer or using your fingers until the mixture is crumble but pieces of butter are still visible.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the whole egg and egg yolk together. Whisk in the milk.
  5. Add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until the dough begins to come together. The dough will be a bit wet and sticky, this is normal.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the currants on top of the dough. Work them in the dough by flattening the dough out with your hand and then folding it in half, pressing in the currants at the same time. You will need to fold the dough in two about 4-5 times.
  7. Shape the dough into a square and gently roll it out to an 8-inch square, lightly dusting with flour if needed. Cut the dough into 16 squares and place them onto the prepared baking tray.
  8. Brush the scones with milk and bake for 14-16 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Note from Anna:

  • The scones are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be reheated for 5 minutes in a 300°F oven to refresh them.

Valerie