December always seems to make people reminisce. Look back on the year they’ve had, the highs and lows, proud moments and memories. Nostalgia and the festive season seem to go hand in hand.
I was thinking about a family holiday we had back in April. 10 of us down in Cornwall for a week, in a beautiful house overlooking the sea. Days spent walking the coast, and exploring little seaside villages. This reminded me of some gorgeous organic flour I bought from a local bakery there. They had the most amazing array of breads and buns. All shapes and sizes.
After a quick rummage through our (sadly very disorganised) cupboards, I found this beautiful whole-wheat flour sat at the back. This was not a flour to waste sitting in a dark cupboard.
Oh no, this was a flour to share, to create something everyone would want a piece of.
We knead to talk about these buns.
These buns call for the Chocolate Almond Butter I wrote about a few days ago. They are a great item for the festive season, fun to make and even better to share with loved ones, while swapping memories of the year, over a nice mulled wine.
Chocolate Almond Swirl Buns with Cashew Cream Icing
Makes 8-10 buns
For the buns
500g organic whole-wheat flour (substitute for any gluten-free flour if needed)
1 pack fast action yeast
70g unrefined light brown sugar
200ml almond milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
270g Chocolate Almond Butter
For the icing
200g cashews (soaked for 3-4 hours or overnight)
2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
2 tablespoons water (add more if necessary)
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5
Slowly heat the milk and coconut oil together in a pan. Remove from heat as soon as you see bubbles forming at the side of the pan.
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, spices, yeast and salt. Add the egg, and milk/oil mixture and mix well. Start to knead the mixture with your hands until everything has combined.
Tip onto floured work surface and knead for 5-10 mins, until the dough is slightly shiny and smooth. Alternatively mix with a dough hook in a stand alone mixer.
Cover the dough with a warm, damp cloth and leave to rise somewhere warm for 25 mins.
Once the dough has risen, tip out onto a floured work surface.
With a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a rectangle, about ¾ centimetre thick.
Spread your nut butter all over the dough, right to the edges.
Tightly roll up the dough and pinch the ends to seal. Cut your roll into 9 even pieces.
Place, cut side up, in a lightly greased baking dish.
Cover again and leave to rise for a further 30 mins.
Once risen, bake in the oven for 20 mins.
Cashew Cream Icing
Rinse soaked cashews well.
Add to blender or food processor with the agave and water.
Blitz until smooth, add more water if needed.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. The longer you leave it in the fridge, the thicker it will become.
Drizzle on warm buns and enjoy.