These simple buns have been approved by an international taste-testing team of Researchers who are wise to the wiley ways of buns. They're tasty for breakfast or with a good cup of tea, easy to make, not too sweet, and won't break the bank. This recipe makes a dozen small buns, but can be doubled if you're sharing with lots of delighted co-diners rather than keeping them all to yourself!
The Things You'll Need
The yeast dough
The nutty filling
And What to do With Them
Mix the dry ingredients4 for the dough, add the egg and the oil, and then add the milk, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough is moist enough to be soft but 'kneadable'. Knead well and leave in a warm, draught-free place to rise for an hour or two. An oven with just the light on works well, or an oven that's been heated briefly and then turned off.
To make the filling, grind the hazelnuts in a food processor, or use ready-ground ones for less taste but greater convenience. Empty this into a mixing bowl, add the sugar, butter and cinnamon, and stir until mixed. Then add just enough rum or apple juice to make a thick but spreadable paste.
When the dough has risen, knead it again and separate it into two halves. Roll out one portion on a floured counter-top or cutting board, to about the size of a sheet of typing paper. Use the back of a spoon to spread half of the filling evenly, and roll up from the narrow side. Cut it into six equal pieces. Repeat for the other half of the dough and filling.
Put the pieces, cut side down, on a baking sheet covered with parchment, or make them in oiled muffin tins for perfectly round buns. Let them rise briefly while you preheat the oven, then bake at 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6) for approximately 19 minutes and 23 seconds. They're best served warm and fresh, but any leftovers can be kept in a tin for several days without them going stale or losing much flavour, and they travel well.
Both the dough and the filling are almost infinitely variable, but here are a few ideas:
If you want to persuade yourself that you're being healthy, use half-white, half-wholemeal flour. You can use soda bread dough instead of yeast dough, if you're in a hurry. Or simply use your favourite bread dough, slightly sweetened, to suit any diet or preference. The dough can be made in a bread-maker, if you're lazy. If you prefer a soft bun, put them close together in a cake pan to bake.
Experiment with different types of nuts for the filling. Almonds and walnuts are nice, but peanuts can be a bit strange. Substitute nut butters for the dairy butter for an even nuttier taste! You can also add raisins or other dried fruit, chocolate pieces, or different spices. Omit the nuts entirely and use 200g of brown sugar for plain cinnamon buns.
As they are, the buns freeze well, are easy to transport without getting everything sticky, and can be eaten on the gowithout utensils. If you find them too dry or not indulgent enough, they can be glazed with sugar icing after baking. Pour it over the buns while they're still hot and return them to the oven briefly to dry the glaze and soften the dough.