Saturday, 1 October 2016

Banana, Chocolate and Hazelnut Sticky Buns

I have been wanting to make sticky buns for a while now, but never seem to get the time or motivation to actually do it! I had a few hours to spare today, and had promised to bring banana bread to a friend's house for coffee (more of those overripe bananas needing to be used).

I had a brainstorm and decided to combine the two, using the bananas as part of the sticky bun dough. The jar of chocolate hazelnut spread in the drawer would be a perfect filling, and as it had been purchased at a craft fair, needed to be used sooner rather than later.

I have never used bananas in a yeasted dough before, but having used other things such as potatoes and pumpkin I figured it would work out. Ripe bananas do contain a lot of sugar, which is always a good thing when working with yeast.

I found a recipe online, and used it as a guideline, making some changes as I went along. The recipe I used can be found at this link:

I used the dough recipe, doubling it to use both my ripe bananas, and then turned it into sticky buns instead of a loaf. Besides the bananas, I also finished of my plain Greek yoghurt and the jar of chocolate hazelnut spread.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine:

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
1 cup warm water

When the yeast is frothy, add:

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 cup mashed, ripe banana
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Turn the mixer onto low speed, and when all the ingredients are combined, gradually add 4 - 5 cups of flour.

When the dough comes together and forms a ball around the dough hook, does not stick to the sides of the bowl any longer, but it still slightly sticky, remove it from the bowl.

Place the dough onto a floured counter and knead, adding flour as needed, until you have a smooth dough.

Form into a ball.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.

Leave in a warm place to rise until doubled.

While the dough is rising, prepare the pans.

Have two 9" springform pans ready.

Line the outside of each pan with foil, to catch any drips during baking.

Melt, whisking to emulsify:

4 ounces butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Divide the butter and brown sugar mixture between the two pans, swirling them to coat the bottom as evenly as possible.

Set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured counter. Gently punch the dough down.

Roll it out until you have a rectangle that is about 18" X 12" in size.

Dot the chocolate hazelnut spread over the rolled out dough.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup of brown sugar over this, and then sprinkle cinnamon over the top.

Starting at the long end of the dough, roll it up, creating a spiral of filling and dough.

Pinch the ends to seal.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into twelve pieces.

Place the cut dough spirals into the two prepared pans, as shown.

Cover with a towel, and leave to rise until doubled in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F while the sticky buns are rising in the pans.

Bake until the buns are golden on top, and sound hollow when tapped, about 35 - 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes.

Invert a plate over the springform pan, and carefully flip both over. Remove the foil, and then undo the ring of the pan. Gently remove the bottom of the pan from the sticky buns. Allow the buns to cool a bit before eating, as the sticky brown sugar is very hot!

  • These sticky buns are best served warm; eat them after they have cooled a bit, or warm them up to serve them later.
  • The dough can be made the day before you bake the buns; refrigerate it and allow it to rise slowly. Allow the dough to warm up to room temperature before rolling and filling it.
  • I used a chocolate hazelnut spread that I bought at a craft market, and it had no added sugar, which is why I added a bit of brown sugar to the filling. If you use a spread such as Nutella, no sugar is necessary.
  • Other nut butters such as peanut or almond can be used as well.
  • Softened butter can be combined with spices such as cinnamon, ginger, star anise or cardamom and spread onto the rolled out dough. Add dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries or chopped apricots before rolling the dough up.
  • Chopped nuts can be sprinkled over the brown sugar and butter on the bottom of the pan, before placing the rolled and cut dough on top.
  • Instead of mashed ripe banana, try using pumpkin, sweet potato or applesauce in your dough.
  • I used vegetable oil, but olive oil (especially a flavoured one such as the chocolate one I thought I still had), nut oil such as hazelnut, or melted butter can be substituted.
  • Make individual sticky buns by dividing the brown sugar and butter between twelve muffin cups, and placing a dough spiral into each one. Allow them to rise and bake as directed. Tip the muffin pan over onto a baking sheet to unmould the sticky buns.

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