Ad: In collaboration with Thermapen
What do you have for breakfast on Christmas morning? It is a meal I often forget about, with so much thought and preparation going into the plans for the rest of the day, but a bowl of soggy cereal seems so very underwhelming for the first meal of such a special day.
So this year I'm going to make a batch of these beautiful buns in advance, freeze them, then warm through in the oven just before serving, (possibly with a glass of Bucks Fizz....)! Just perfect.
Making any yeasted bake can feel like you're in a Great British Bake Off technical challenge, (just without the cameras, thank goodness!). Will the yeast work? Will they rise? Is my dough too sticky? Will I squash them when I slice them into rounds?
But panic not.... I find a lot of stress is removed from the process when I turn to my trusty Thermapen thermometer for help.
Bread making and using yeast in general requires quite a bit of accuracy in order to get the yeast to work properly, and one of the most crucial moments is when you add the warm water to the yeast to activate it. I've always read 'warm water' and presumed it shouldn't be too hot so have used it luke warm, around body temperature. But in fact that water should be between 41°C - 46°C, that's quite a lot warmer than a hot bath - it really surprised me!
I used to think kitchen thermometers were only useful for cooking meat, so had no place in my kitchen. But since getting this nifty gadget last year I have used it so much in ways I had never anticipated. No more guessing whether baby food has properly defrosted, or whether a cake is cooked through to the middle. And for more confident cooks, it is brilliant for tempering chocolate, or making caramel. I love making jam when the summer fruits are in season, but have always found the 'wrinkle' test for setting point a bit hit-and-miss, but with a super-accurate thermometer like this one, there's no more guesswork.
Of all the kitchen thermometers I've tried, the Thermapen is my favourite. I really like how the screen rotates if you hold it in different positions, so there's no craning your neck to work out the numbers upside-down. It looks cool, is really nice to hold and comes in some pretty awesome colours, (not just pink!!) so you can get one to match your kitchen colour scheme!
It also works quickly - the last one I had took a long time to settle down to an accurate reading, and often you're using it at quite time-sensetive moments in the cooking process. But the Thermapen gives an accurate reading in 3 seconds or less, which is fab.
These sticky buns are such a treat, and a little bit different to yet another mince pie at this time of year. The mincemeat is rolled up inside the bun, and chunks of marzipan are studded through the dough - they melt as the buns cook, so you end up with a lovely moist marzipan-y dough. Delicious!
Of course you could use the basics of this recipe to make non-festive Chelsea Buns at other times of year too - just leave out the marzipan and substitute the mincemeat for a spread of apricot jam and scattering of raisins, or use cinnamon sugar, or even chocolate spread and chopped hazelnuts in its place.... yummy!
Marzipan and Mincemeat Chelsea Buns (Vegan)
- 450 g strong white flour
- 3 tsp fast action yeast (1 ½ sachets)
- 50 ml warm water (at 41°C - 46°C)
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 50 g dark brown muscavado sugar
- 125 g block dairy-free margarine
- 120 ml soya milk
- 120 g soya yoghurt (plain)
- 120 g marzipan (check it is vegan)
- 4 tbsp mincemeat - shop-bought or homemade (check it is vegan)
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of the flour with the yeast and warm water (between 41°C - 46°C). Set aside to rise for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the remaining flour, salt, cinnamon, cloves and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the dairy-free margarine.
- Whisk together the yeast mixture, soya milk and yoghurt, then add to the flour and bring together into a dough. Cover with cling film and leave for 30 minutes to rise.
- Knead the dough for 20 seconds, then cover and leave to rise again for 1 hour. Meanwhile, line a square tin or deep baking tray (roughly 25 - 30cm) with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Cut the marzipan into small cubes.
- Knead the marzipan cubes into the dough, then roll it out until roughly 30cm square. Spread over the mincemeat, then roll up the dough tightly. Cut the roll into 9 equal slices, then place the slices in the prepared baking tray/tin. Cover and leave to rise for another 90 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- When the buns have risen, bake them for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Whilst they are cooling mix the icing sugar to a paste with a little water (1-2 tsp should do it) - it should be spoonable but not too runny. When the buns are completely cool, decorate with icing.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Thermapen. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Veg Space going!