Chocolate and cherry buns
For the dough
- 250ml/9fl oz milk
- 75g/2½oz butter, plus extra for greasing
- 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice (optional)
- 7g instant yeast
- 75g/2½oz soft light brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 free-range egg
- dash oil, for greasing your hands and the work surface
For the filling
- 100g/3½oz butter, softened
- 50ml/2fl oz maple syrup
- 25g/1oz dark soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- pinch salt
- 100g/3½oz glacé cherries, halved
- 100g/3½oz chocolate chips
For the glaze (optional)
- 200g/7oz icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp just-boiled water
Line a 26–28cm/10½–11 in round deep cake tin or a deep roasting tin with baking parchment and butter generously.
Put the milk in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to stand until the butter has melted and it has cooled to blood temperature.
Put the flour and mixed spice (if using) in a large bowl with the yeast, sugar and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle.
Beat the egg into the milk and butter mixture. Add this to the flour and stir until well combined – you will find that you have a very soft, sticky dough.
Lightly oil your hands and the work surface, then turn out the dough. Knead until no longer sticky and you have a smooth, elastic dough. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to prove until it has doubled in size – this will take around an hour and a half.
For the filling, beat the butter with the maple syrup, sugar, spices and a pinch of salt until you have a creamy, toffee-coloured butter.
Turn the dough out and roll or pat out into a rectangle of around 30x23cm/12x9in. Spread the butter mixture over the dough, then sprinkle with the chocolate chips and cherries. Roll up fairly tightly, then cut into 10–12 pieces.
Arrange the rounds, cut-sides down, in the deep cake tin. Brush with egg, then leave for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Brush again, then sprinkle with the sugar. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until a rich golden-brown and well risen.
For an optional glaze, gradually add hot water to the icing sugar to make a glaze which is thin enough to pour, but won’t run off too much. Leave the buns to cool in the tin, then drizzle over the glaze if using. Leave to set.