These chocolate swirl buns are buttery, flaky, chocolatey and everything you ever hoped for breakfast!
I have to admit it took me about 10 tries to get it right and I went through numerous flavors before finally deciding on chocolate swirl buns with buckwheat Danish pastry. At first, I was inspired by my uncle Schneckekueche (think cinnamon rolls but filled with vanilla pastry cream and dried raisins), swapping the traditional filling with coffee pastry cream. It was pretty good, but because I don’t really enjoy coffee-flavored anything in general, I wasn’t sold on it. Besides, I felt like the cream was softening the brioche a little too much.
Then I swapped the coffee pastry cream for a hazelnut paste, similar to Turkish fındık ezmesi. But no matter how many times I tried the filling always kept ballooning out, leaving me with a pool of filling on my tray. The paste was also making the buns a bit stodgy and I wanted something with a little bit more crunch. I was ready to give up when I thought of swapping the normal yeasted dough for something similar to Danish pastry. The flakiness brought by the layering of butter is perfect for these chocolate swirl buns.
For the filling for these chocolate swirl buns, I remembered one of the snacks I used to have when I was a child. One of my best friends would come over after school every day ‘to do homework’ and if we were out of biscuits we would smother slices of bread with butter, sprinkle some sugar and cocoa powder on top and put everything in the microwave for 30 seconds. We would end up with warm soft bread and a delicious and quick chocolate paste. It was easy, it hit all the spots and it was the perfect snack after a long day. I tried something similar for my chocolate swirl buns and Eureka it worked! Moral of the story: your 13-year-old self knows better and you should listen to her/him sometimes instead of wasting your time creating some fancier coffee pastry cream or hazelnut paste.
⏲️ Patience required
The dough needs to rise for a couple of hours, then you need to fold it several times to create butter layers. Between each folding stage, the dough will need to rest in the fridge for 30 min. And then they need to rest again after you shaped them. Check my photos and this video for more directions. To me, their flakiness and buttery-ness are well worth the effort and they could be a fun weekend project. If you follow most of the steps the day before, the chocolate swirl buns can rest in the fridge overnight and you can have them for a memorable breakfast in the morning. Don’t hesitate to have fun with the recipe, you can shape the chocolate swirl buns and fill them however you desire.
For me, these chocolate swirl buns are well worth the effort and could be a fun weekend baking project. If you do most of the steps the day before, the shaped buns can stay in the fridge overnight and you can bake them the next day for breakfast.
You can keep the chocolate swirl buns for up to 2 days at room temperature, stored in an airtight container. However, they really do taste better on the day they are made. The days after, you can reheat them in an oven, preheated to 175°C (350°F), for 10 min before serving.
To preserve them at their best, don’t hesitate to freeze them if you have that option. Individually wrap them in a layer of cling film and then aluminum foil, and place the chocolate swirl buns in a freezing bag. You can keep them in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature (it should take around 1h).
These chocolate swirl buns are buttery, flaky, chocolatey and everything you could ever hope for breakfast. Plus they are made with buckwheat flour for added nuttiness.
For the dough:
- 200g all-purpose flour (1 ½ cup)
- 100g buckwheat flour (⅔ cup)
- 70g granulated sugar (⅓ cup)
- 5g salt (¾ tsp)
- 7,5g instant yeast (2 tsp)
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 120ml milk, at room temperature (you might need to use a bit less or more) (½ cup)
- 150g good quality cold butter (5 oz)
For the filling:
- 50g butter, softened (4 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 30g brown sugar (2 tbsp)
For the topping:
- egg wash: 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp whole milk
- syrup: 40g granulated sugar (3 tbsp) + 3 tbsp water
Make the dough:
- Make the dough. Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the egg and ¾ of the milk. Combine everything with the blade of a knife and scrape the sides of the bowl so all the ingredients are incorporated. Slowly add the rest of the milk, if needed, to form a soft dough. Tip the dough onto a heavily floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. You should have a smooth ball of dough that is still a bit sticky. When you push the dough with a finger, it should spring back. Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough for 2 hours in the fridge.
- Roll out the dough and seal the butter block. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 35*25 cm (13*8 inch), about 5mm (0.2 inch) thick keeping the edges straight. Put the butter between 2 sheets of parchment paper and beat it with a rolling pin until you have a rectangle half the size of your dough, around 18*12 cm (7*5 inch). Place the pliable butter on top of half of the dough, fold the over half on top of the butter and seal the edges with a rolling pin.
- Roll out the dough, fold it, and refrigerate. Roll the dough into a rectangle again, 35*25 cm (13*8 inch), about 5mm (0.2 inch) thick. If you can see some butter piercing through, put a little bit of flour on it. Then fold the dough into quarters by folding the two ends of the dough into the middle and then folding one half on top of each other as if clothing a book. Brush away any excess flour while folding. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min.
- Create more layers. Take the dough out of the fridge and place it horizontally on a lightly floured surface, making sure the edge where you can see the folds is the one directly facing you (check photos). Roll it into a 35*25 cm (13*8 inch) rectangle. Fold it into thirds this time by folding 1/3 of the dough over the center and folding the last third over the top. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min. Repeat this process of rolling (always make sure the fold side is facing you) into a 35*25 cm (13*8 inch) rectangle, folding into thirds like a letter, and refrigerating the dough 30 min, 3 more times.
Shape the buns:
- Make the filling. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with a plastic spatula. It should be very soft and spreadable.
- Spread the filling over the dough. Take the dough out of the fridge and turn it onto a large floured surface roll it into a 35*25 cm (13*8 inch) rectangle. Gently spread the filling all over the dough, ideally with a palette knife. Then fold one half of the dough on top of the other. There should be a layer of dough, a layer of filling in the center and another layer of dough on top.
- Shape. Cut 8 vertical strips, about 2,5cm (1 inch) wide. Stretch them by twisting them with the palm of your hand. Then take one strip in your hand and wrap it around your index and middle fingers twice. Pinch the end of the strip in the center of the knot to hide it. Check out this very useful video to see someone do it. Repeat to shape the other knots and place them on 1 baking tray lined with baking parchment, spacing them well apart because they will expand in the oven.
- Prove the chocolate swirl buns. Cover and prove the dough overnight in the fridge or leave to rise for 1 hour at room temperature (it shouldn’t be too warm or the butter in the filling will melt).
- Bake. Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg yolk and the milk in a small bowl. Brush the top of the buns with egg wash. Preheat your oven to 180°C (355°F)* and make the syrup while it heats up. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, let it boil then reduce the heat and let it gently simmer until all the sugar has dissolved. Bake the buns for 20 min or until golden brown. Take them out of the oven and immediately brush them with the syrup. Let them sit on the tray for 15 min then transfer them to a wire rack to cool down a bit.
* 165°C (330°F) if you use a convection oven
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 349
Keywords: puff pastry danish, homemade breakfast pastries
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