healthy + seasonal recipes that are gluten & dairy-free

We're Baking Chocolate & Cardamon Buns

We're Baking Chocolate & Cardamon Buns

A fun kitchen project if you have a few hours to spare. If you do, you'll be rewarded with the most delicious yeasted chocolate buns, totally gluten free and vegan.

Chocolate & Cardamon Buns (gf, v, nf) // my natural kitchen

Kitchen therapy. I'm certainly not the first to talk about it, but time spent in the kitchen with a baking project to immerse oneself in is so utterly calming and meditative that I find myself drawn to such a thing when my stress level creeps too high. There's also something to be said for the nurturing act of creating breads with yeast - a dough full of enzymes, which you must protect from too much heat before its time in the oven, and allow the batter time to rest and rise.

Chocolate & Cardamon Buns (gf, v, nf) // my natural kitchen
Chocolate & Cardamon Buns (gf, v, nf) // my natural kitchen
Chocolate & Cardamon Buns (gf, v, nf) // my natural kitchen

The photos above demonstrate the steps of spreading the dough, layering the fillings, folding the entire piece into thirds and then slicing it into the pieces that will become the knotted buns. When the dough is ready to be shaped, it requires a gentle touch to carefully mould in into these little "knots." The reward for your patience is so sweet though, and as these bake you'll find your home will smell so amazing. 

Chocolate & Cardamon Buns (gf, v, nf) // my natural kitchen
Chocolate & Cardamon Buns (gf, v, nf) // my natural kitchen
Chocolate & Cardamon Buns (gf, v, nf) // my natural kitchen
Chocolate & Cardamon Buns (gf, v, nf) // my natural kitchen
Chocolate & Cardamon Buns (gf, v, nf) // my natural kitchen

These are a gluten-free and vegan spin on the Hazelnut, Apple & Chocolate Buns posted by Green Kitchen Stories last week. My version mostly adapts the filling and overall look of theirs, whereas my dough was partially adapted from the brioche recipe from Healthy Bread in Five and my own ideas for how to create a dough that can hold up to being shaped without being too full of starch flours. I tend to favour a balance of wholegrains with a small amount of starch, to keep things a bit more healthful. I hope you love these as much as we did!

Chocolate & Cardamon Buns

Makes 18 small buns. You could use this recipe to make fewer buns that are larger if you like - to do so, use the full amount of dough instead of dividing it in two when it comes to spreading it out on your work surface, and then slice the pieces into less than I direct. Proceed from there (with shaping, etc). You may need to bake larger buns for a little longer - start with a few minutes more than I direct, and keep an eye on them. I also find larger buns slightly more delicate to shape.

1 cup (140 g) brown rice flour

1/3 cup (80 g) tapioca starch

1/4 cup (35 g) light buckwheat flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 1/2 heaped tsp active quick rise yeast

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 tbsp ground chia seeds + 1/4 cup warm water

2 tsp psyllium husks + 2 tbsp warm water

2/3 cup milk of choice (I used cashew milk)

2 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp ground cardamon

1 tbsp of cashew or other milk, to glaze

extra cacao nibs, to garnish before baking

1/4 tsp extra ground cardamon, to garnish before baking

Filling:

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp tapioca starch

1/2 tsp ground cardamon

1/2 tsp coconut oil

2 tsp tahini

2 tbsp (40 g) chopped dark chocolate

2 tbsp mini chocolate chips

1 tsp cacao nibs (optional - note that these remain hard when they are cooked into the buns)

Stir together the ground chia seeds and psyllium husks with 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl or ramekin. Set aside. Allow to "gel" (10-15 minutes).

In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil with the milk (cashew, or milk of your choice) and maple syrup to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together so that the coconut oil is melted, and remove from heat. If the mixture is too warm, set aside until it reaches 100 degrees (similarly, if it's too cool, return to the heat briefly until the temperature reads 100 degrees). Whisk the yeast into the milk mixture, stir in the chia and psyllium gel, and set aside. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and cardamon. Make a well in the centre, and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir with a spoon until completely combined. Gather the dough into the centre of the bowl, and then cover with a clean towel and set aside in a warm place to rest for 1 hour. 

To prepare the filling, combine the maple syrup with the coconut oil, tapioca starch and tahini in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the coconut oil is melted, remove from heat and whisk to fully integrate. Stir in the cardamon and set aside.

Prepare a work surface and sprinkle generously with brown rice flour. Divide the dough into two parts, and place one part on the prepared work surface. Carefully stretch and push the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 9x6 inches and about 1/4 inch thick. Brush half the filling mixture over the dough, and sprinkle with half of the chopped dark chocolate, chocolate chips and cacao nibs (if using). Carefully (a large spatula or flipper is very helpful here) lift one third of the rectangle (the long side closest to you) and fold it over the filling. Then lift the top third down, so that you are left with a layered rectangle that is about 10 inches long and about 3 inches wide (see the photo above for reference). Slice the rectangle into 9 even pieces. Make a slit about 2/3s the way into each piece (as shown in the photo above).

Gluten free dough is a bit more delicate than wheat doughs, and requires a gentle touch when shaping the buns into knots. There are photos above to guide you through these steps. To make this easier to shape, take the left sided strand of the dough and carefully pull it around to the right; then take the right side and gently loop it over the left piece, creating the look of a knot without having to tie pieces together. Pinch the ends into the sides of the bun to secure, and then carefully transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough. Allow the buns to rest for 25-30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush each bun with milk, and sprinkle with extra cacao nibs and ground cardamon. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-14 minutes, until lightly golden. 

Best served warm and eaten the day they are made. To maintain freshness, freeze any buns that won't be eaten the day they are made, and then reheat in the oven before serving. 

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