Chelsea and cinnamon buns
I do love a nice Chelsea bun. It brings back memories of going to the dentist. My Mother who was usually very health conscious would take us to the baker’s shop to buy a treat before taking us back to school – usually a Chelsea bun or a dripper. My sister and I would gingerly eat the doughy mouthfuls, our gums still frozen and tingling from the anesthetic. My children, however, do not relate to this at all. Brought up as ex-pats all their lives, the patchwork of their childhood food experiences is very multi-cultural but they were aghast that this ‘boring’ bun was my first choice when we visited a baker this Summer in the UK. They are drawn to sweet treats from brands that seem to be taking over the world and making every city into a carbon copy. I can’t help feeling rather sad about this as though a bit of their English heritage is being lost. In fact I can feel a ‘History of the Chelsea Bun’ session coming on (and there is a really good one on Baking for Britain).
This month’s Fresh From The Oven Challenge was set by Wendy from the Quirky Kitchen and while delighted to make Chelsea buns, as the only dried-fruit eater in our family I knew that it would be a slippery slope if I made nine of them. However my youngest daughter adores Cinnabon so inspired by a great ‘taste alike’ recipe from gorgeous Tartelette I split the filling half and half.
How easy these were to make (whichever version you choose). The icing on the cinnamon rolls is decadently addictive and my teens declared it better than Cinnabon ( and better than Betty Crocker – where did I go wrong?). I would rather our less-healthy treats are home-made from good ingredients even if the calories are rather empty than sell my soul to a multi-national any day! Go on – try them and see.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the Fresh From the Oven site to see how everyone else got on with their Chelsea bun making.
90ml warm semi-skimmed milk
55g cream cheese at room temperature
190g icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast (if using fast action yeast) into a mixing bowl. If you use active dried yeast (usually the only choice in Dubai) add it very slowly, grain by grain, to the warmed milk stirring all the time. Make a well in the centre and add the softened butter, egg and milk. Mix to make a soft dough. (I used my KitchenAid with the paddle and then changed to the dough hook). Knead until smooth.
- Cover and prove until doubled in size. This took about an hour and a half (although Wendy says her airing cupboard can do this in around half an hour).
- Generously butter and line a 18 cm (7 inches ) square tin. Make sure it’s not a loose bottomed one, or you’ll get problems later on and lose your filling.
- Flour your work surface, and roll out the dough, (no need to knock it back) to a rectangle measuring about 30 x 23 cm (12 x 9 inches). If you get the edges as square as you can it will help to make your buns look even, but I quite like the squiffy homemade look.
- Spread the softened butter as evenly as you can over the dough. Sprinkle the sugar and the dried fruit on top (or the cinnamon sugar) and gently press it into the butter.
- Now, roll up the dough along the long edge, as though you were making a Swiss Roll. Seal the edge. I find that smoothing it down with the flat side of a paring knife can help here.
- Turn the roll over so that the seal is underneath and cut the roll into 9 equal buns (I made 10 as I did half and half filling).
- Place the buns, cut side down, into the buttered and lined tin, and leave to prove until the dough has doubled in size, and they have all joined together into one big Chelsea bun muddle. I baked mine in a 180 degree oven, for 20 minutes but check after 15 minutes.
- Once cooked, cool on a wire rack. For the Chelsea buns drizzle honey on the top while still warm, for the cinnamon buns top with the icing after 10 minutes.
Thanks for joining me for this month’s baking challenge. Do you have a traditional favourite or fond memories of a sticky bun?