A rich and cheery baked good is always welcome, and these spelt chocolate buns (sjokoladesnurrer) will surely satisfy. The smell of cardamom and buttery dough wafting through the air is like a sweet promise of heaven for your tastebuds. It’s a common scent in Norwegian homes and a comforting one at that.
For these particular sweet buns, I wanted a filling of chocolate butter and chunky chocolate pieces. The dough, which is made up of spelt flour, is hearty and rustic with nutty notes. Together, they make for a delicious treat with more texture and depth, complementing both the coarse dough and the sweetness of the filling perfectly.
Before baking, the dough is twisted and turned into knots giving them their distinctive shape. You’ll find these types of buns also referred to as ‘knuter‘ (knots) and ‘boller‘ (buns).
Feel free to adjust the ratio of whole grain to white spelt flour, depending upon how hearty you wish these to be. You can also halve the recipe or freeze the leftover buns for another time.
Hearty Spelt Chocolate Buns (sjokoladesnurrer)
Makes 18 buns
For the buns:
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (500 ml) whole milk
- 2 ounces (50 g) fresh yeast or 2/3 ounce (about 17 g) active, dry yeast
- 3 1/3 cups (400 g) whole grain spelt flour ‘sammalt speltmel’
- 3 1/3 cups (400 g) white spelt flour ‘siket speltmel’
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (125 g) butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
For the filling:
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (100 g) butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (20 g) cocoa powder
- 3 ½-ounces (100 g) dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg, beaten
For the buns, in a small saucepan, heat the milk over low heat until lukewarm. Crumble in the fresh yeast or add in the dry yeast, and whisk until the yeast dissolves. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the spelt flours, sugar, and cardamom and knead on low for 8 minutes. Add the butter and knead on medium for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and elastic. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
For the filling, in a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar and cocoa powder.
On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into two equal portions. Use a rolling pin to roll each portion into a rectangle that measures roughly 18 x 12 inches (45 x 30 cm). Using a spatula, spread the filling over one of the rectangles, all the way to the edges, and top with the chocolate pieces. Place the other dough directly on top, pinch the dough edges together, and gently roll over the whole dough with the rolling pin to seal. Cut the dough into 18 strips lengthwise. Twist each strip and then turn them into knots (they don’t have to be uniform and perfect). Divide the buns between two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and let rise for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400° F / 200° C.
Brush the tops of the dough with the beaten egg. Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve while still warm and the chocolate is cool but melted.
To store, place in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. If serving after freezing, allow to defrost at room temperature then place in the oven at 400° F / 200° C for a couple of minutes or until warm throughout.
For more sweet bun recipes, head here.
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