This recipe, inspired by the wonderful Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery fame, will transform your breakfasts. Most yeast-based breakfast bun recipes involve endless kneading, rising, waiting, kneading, rising, waiting, by which time the morning has long gone and you've lost the will to live. The difference with this recipe is that it uses baking powder instead of yeast so you can have them on the table, your kitchen filled with buttery cinnamon smells, within 45 minutes. Perfect for a special weekend breakfast and probably only takes a little longer than popping out to your local bakery. They have a delicious texture which is more like a pastry than the traditional yeasty-bread style that is typical, but they work briiliantly. I've added pecans for a little texture, but you can leave them out if you wish.
50g unsalted butter
200g light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
A few gratings of nutmeg
100g pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts, finely chopped
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cardamom (seeds from approx 15 pods)
240g unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
Caster sugar, for sprinkling
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and butter a 12-hole muffin tin. Prepare the filling by melting the butter and combining the sugar, spices and pecans. Put to one side for a moment.
Place the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom in an electric mixer (or use a food processor but be as gentle and brief as possible) and whizz until coarse. With the motor running, slowly start pouring in the milk until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides.
Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and bring the dough together, kneading it a couple of times until you have a nice smooth dough. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. When you return to it, roll out into a rectangle, about 5mm thick. Brush with the melted butter and evenly sprinkle with the sugar and nut mix.
Pick up one of the long sides and gently start rolling, making sure you're doing it as tightly as possible. Once you're done, squeeze the roll to make sure it's an even thickness. Don't worry about sealing the loose end of the pastry as you will be dealing with this in a moment. Cut into 12 pieces, then with each one, pull the loose end under the roll so that it covers the bottom, (this prevents the middle sinking) then place fold-side down in the muffin tray. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden on top. Immediately remove from the tray, turn upside down and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack. Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar before serving warm or try heating up.