I often like the idea of breakfast buns or rolls more than the actual execution. For example, I usually find cinnamon rolls too sweet, especially with the frosting. But I’m still trying new recipes because sometimes, it’s totally worth it. Not in the case of these raspberry rolls with maple frosting – they were too dry and dark and didn’t have enough filling, though the maple frosting was great. But then I saw these chocolate tahini challah buns on Smitten Kitchen and I was, well, smitten.
I’m sure you could take a shortcut and use chocolate tahini instead of making a filling, but it was really delicious as is. Note also that you could make a glaze with 2 cups of powdered sugar and 3 or 4 tablespoons of orange juice, but I omitted it. There is an option to make these dairy-free, but I opted to use lactose-free dairy. They were delicious!
For the dough
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil or melted lactose-free butter
2/3 cup lactose-free milk or water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed
3 ¾ cup (490 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for counter
1 packet (7 g or 2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
1 ¼ tsp. coarse or kosher salt
For the filling and assembly
4 oz (115 g) dark chocolate (or about ¾ cup chocolate chips)
½ cup (1 stick) lactose-free butter or margarine
scant ½ cup (50 g) powdered sugar, sifted
¼ cup (20 g) cocoa powder, sifted
¼ cup (30 g) tahini, well-stirred
1 large egg, beaten sesame seeds (optional, I forgot them)
For the dough
Whisk eggs, yolk, sugar, oil and milk or water in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl. Add flour, yeast and salt and combine with dough hook until it comes together, then let machine knead it for 5 to 7 minutes. Oil a large bowl and let dough rise in it at room temperature for 2 to 2 ½ hours, until slightly shy of doubled. (If your milk and eggs were really cold, it might take 30 minutes longer.)
Grease a 9”×13” or equivalent size baking dish, or coat it with nonstick spray.
For the filling
Melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar, cocoa and tahini; mixture should be a spreadable consistency. (This was not an issue for me, but if your filling is very thin, you can pop it in the fridge to let it thicken a bit.)
On a well-floured counter, roll out dough into a rectangle about 18 inches wide (side facing you) and as far away from you (i.e. length) as it comfortably goes, usually 12 to 15 inches. Dollop chocolate mixture over and spread it smooth – this is more satisfying than you would think. Roll dough in a tight spiral.
Cut the log very gently — it’s going to be a soft mess, so use a sharp serrated knife, or unflavored floss — into 1 ½-inch to 2-inch segments. Arrange cut side up in prepared pan. Beat egg in small bowl. Brush tops of buns and tops of sides with egg and cover with plastic wrap. You can either refrigerate overnight, along with leftover egg wash, or leave it at room temperature to proof for another 60 to 90 minutes, until puffed a bit. (If you refrigerate the buns, be sure to let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.)
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Brush the tops and sides with egg with egg wash again and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake for 30 minutes, until bronzed all over and buns have an internal temperature of 190 °F. Let cool slightly before serving.