Chocolate and Hazelnut rolls

The cloud was thick, low and heavy. A baking funk is definitely not a nice place to be in. The mind was raging but the body was bailing. A fleeting moment of determination sees me try to get going, but then I realized my backside has grown roots into the sofa. Lil’Lassie was most unimpressed and upbraided me for over a week about the lack of baked goods. Words that were swatted off with, “I cannae be bothered!”. I got a sneer for a reply. Fair enough.

Mooching about the kitchen one morning, my eye fell on Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. I read this book cover to cover the night I bought it for a tenner from TKMaxx (treasure trove of cookbooks…I was in every week! Not to mention cookie cutters…but I’ll save that for another post). The writers knows her food, knows the history, and has an interesting background of her own. The book is not so much sentimental as tinged delicately with nostalgia. Eclectic too, with her choices ranging from India, China, the Phillipines , the Middle East to Holland and Germany.

I have shamefully neglected to bake anything from it though I have enjoyed a leisurely read several times. Today was the day. A few turns of the pages and my eye fell on these spiral beauties. It seemed the perfect thing to make. It was a gentle re-ignition into baking for all that it was based on a usually terror-inducing yeasted bread. It couldn’t have been simpler; the various stages untangled the knots somehow and in the end I found the process immensely pleasurable.

Make a yeasted dough. Let it rise. Make the filling. Keep it ready. Roll out the dough, butter it, spread the filling, roll the dough. Cut into thick slices. Place in a tin. Let it rise again. Bake. Cool it till your fingers can just about bear to hold it. Let rip into it. You can dig out the rubble of escaped nuts from your bra later.

Forget the overly sweetened, cloying, sugary sauce topped poor offerings you may have been beguiled by in the past. The very essence of these is that it’s not over the top. I increased the sugar content but even then it would not bring your dentist’s broad smile to your eyes. The dough is virtually unsweetened and soft, soft, soft. The bitterness of the cocoa powder, the toasted hazelnuts, the butter they were stuck onto and the sugar to bind them all made the most wonderfully Nutella-esque tasty strip of filling between layers of soft bread. I ground the nuts fairly finely and quite liked the more grainy feel, rather than a chunky one.

Hannah was pleased and appeased. Lil Loon was trying to steal his sister’s portion, after he gobbled his own. TheScotsman made very appreciative noises and mumbled through full, puffed cheeks that this was really good.  Nine rolls were made and between the four of us, only one remained in the tin at the end of the day.

It would make an excellent addition to your weekend breakfast table. Or a snack after, maybe a treat after lunch, another with a cup of tea mid afternoon or….. just give up and stand by the tin in the kitchen eating your fourth roll hurriedly, hoping the children won’t spy you. It wouldn’t do for them to eat another one, now would it?

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27 comments

  1. They look fabulous! I love that book, although I haven’t made anything from it yet, just drooled over the pictures…

    • Oh thanks!!!! :-)) I know what you mean Nicola, its one of those books isn’t it? I think the recipes feel rather involved but really aren’t…I am dying to try the coconut cakes being a savage coconut fan! But in the meantime do try something out of there. Twinks recommends the nutmeg and rum cake unreservedly!!!

  2. Oh my, what exquisite photos!! And the rolls sound soooo delicious! I would love to tuck into one of these at breakfast. I received Warm Bread & Honey Cake as a gift last year and whilst it has provided for good bedside reading, I am still yet to make something from it. The problem really is … where do I start? Everything looks so tempting in this book!

    • Oh shucks, coming from you ELB thats such a compliment!! Merci!
      I understand the dilemma with this book and yet I consider it one of the best books in my collection. Especially for the fact that it is based on traditional baking. And there is a such a nostalgic air in the pictures, fonts and layouts. Beautiful.

      The spice cakes have particularly got my attention…the grilled cake especially!

  3. I’d LOVE to have those on my weekend breakfast table! Beautiful as always, Carrie.

  4. Natalie Morine

    I too have seen this book, got it out from the library. Like others have just drooled at the pics & thought about baking something! Your rolls look delish Carrie it is torture for me to see them, I am watching my weight but I love to read your posts they are most enjoyable & funny. :)

  5. Melanie

    The photos are beautiful and I can imagine the smell that would fill the house when these were made…. my tummy is rumbling already and I put on 3 kgs over the last 4 days there….all worth it….all the photos have caught the light beautifully but i love the first pic… something about the way you composed all the elements in that photo …very appealing

    • I find composition the most frustrating part of the whole process..you cannot imagine the amount of tinkering, tweaking, nudging, turning I did to try to get a balance I liked. But got there in the end! Though I took this in the afternoon, I think I managed to get a morning light feel on that picture, which was perfect! :-)

      • I also find the composition the most difficult part … it helps if you are artistic in some way! You, my dear, are gifted in that arena! I also love the first photo, and also the fact that you are patient enough to take step-by-step photos! I’m too impatient most of the time, especially once everything is cooked – it’s then a battle between my camera and any hungry on-lookers!

        • Miss ELB, tis too much! But thankyou. Yer nae half bad yourself! ;-P…..as for the step by step..its rather good fun though it lengthens the entire process. A kiddie DVD sorts out the time factor though. My family are the same about their dinner…”Mama, stop taking photographs, I’m hungry and have been waiting forever!!!!!” TheScotsman response is unprintable…..

  6. Jean

    Lovely stuff, Carrie, and I really like the elegantly sketched recipe page! I am reassured and amused that I am not the only person who occasionally (depending on The Top Of The Morning and the urgency of eating) has to retrieve a few crumbs in the bra department!

  7. Karen S

    Under method you have a entirely different recipe!

    The buns do sound delicious though.

    • Oh Lordy?! How embarrassing! Haha! Thanks so much for pointing that out! Don’t think a sweet bread with GadoGado sauce would be particularly appetizing….cheers for the heads up Karen! :-)

  8. Hazzer

    We made these (OH being the ‘dough man’ did the dough in the bread maker). Divine. Ours weren’t as neat as yours, but I have to keep my rustic mantle up. Beautiful photos and writing.

  9. The rolls look delicous. I bake a similar hungarian version (Kakaós csigák) about one year ago with was filled only with cacao which was also very good. But I will try to add some Hazelnuts to filling now, this nutellaish taste sounds just divine!

    • Hello Stefanie! Thankyou for commenting!
      I would definitely give these a try with Hazelnuts, but then i would recommend it, as its my favourite nut to pair with chocolate.
      Its amusing really, that pretty much most of the western world, have a rolled yeasted bread filled with chocolate in some guise!

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  14. they look yummmm!!! i’m surely gonna try them. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  15. I love the photography on your blog-it really is beautiful .The recipes look pretty good too!

  16. WOW! These look + sound AMAZING! Must try :)

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