The combination of chocolate, California Figs, walnuts and orange zest gives these breakfast buns an unexpected and luscious filling. Top them with an orange glaze and these chocolate buns, once baked, are pretty to look at and full of fruity fig flavor.
The dough, akin to brioche dough but easier to make, is a dream to roll out; just give it a five-minute rest under a tea towel if it starts to shrink as you roll it to allow the gluten to relax. If your kitchen is cold, make use of your oven as a proof box. Turn the oven to its lowest setting and then turn it off. Once the oven has cooled down a bit, place the dough bowl in the oven to rise. Repeat with the rolls for the second rising when you are getting ready to bake them.
You can either make and bake the chocolate buns on the same day, or refrigerate them overnight and bake them in the morning. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to such a treat?
California Fig Swirl Chocolate Buns
California Fig Swirl Chocolate Buns are perfect for Christmas but these breakfast buns can make any morning more festive.
- Vegetable Oil
- 3 large eggs
- 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (4 ounces / 1 stick)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 4 ounces Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup walnut pieces
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces 60 percent chocolate chips (about 3/4 cups)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 egg, thoroughly beaten with a fork
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- Pinch of salt
- 4 to 5 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Make the Dough
Lightly oil a large bowl. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line the bottom and the 2 long sides with baker’s parchment. If the room is cold, set the oven at its lowest temperature. When it is heated, turn it off.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a hand whisk, whisk the eggs, butter, milk, sugar and salt until blended. Add half the flour and the yeast. With the paddle attachment at medium-high speed, beat for 1 minute.
Switch to the dough hook. Set the mixer on low speed and gradually add the remaining flour. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the oiled bowl. Turn the ball so it is coated lightly with oil. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until doubled. If the room is cold, let the dough rise in the turned-off oven.
Make the Filling
In a food processor, combine the figs, walnuts, orange zest, cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar and salt. Process until figs and nuts are finely chopped.
In a saucepan over low heat, stir the chocolate and butter together until melted. Add the fig mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
Assemble and Bake
On a floured work surface, roll the dough into a 14-inch square. Spread the filling evenly over the dough. Beginning with the edge nearest you, roll the dough into an even cylinder. Pinch the seam to seal and turn the log so the seam side is down.
With a paring knife, mark the log into 12 even pieces. Slide a 12-inch strand of unflavored dental floss or thread under the log. Cross the ends and pull tight to cut the log into 12 slices.
Place the slices, cut side up, in the baking pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until the dough is puffy and soft and the rolls are almost touching. (For overnight rolls, do not let rise. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before baking.)
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F. Brush the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. (The internal temperature should be 190ºF to 205ºF.) Let cool slightly before glazing.
In a bowl, stir together the confectioner’s sugar, butter, salt and orange juice until smooth.
Spread the glaze on the rolls and serve warm.
Recipe and photos by Sally Pasley Vargas