This February let’s celebrate love with some simple chocolate bakes that will not fail to win your man’s heart. With Valentine’s day only a few days away, this is the perfect time to show off your skills in the kitchen with a homemade breakfast tray in bed or a fancy dessert to end a cozy dinner à deux. Tried and tested in some mighty famous kitchens, the recipes I bring to you will, I hope, add a special touch to your V-day preparations. Starting with these gorgeous chocolate swirl buns from Smitten Kitchen, I believe, there can be no better way to wake up your man to say “I love you”. For the filling, I used a mixture of Lindt Swiss Classic Milk Chocolate and ground pecan nuts but feel free to use his favorite chocolate bar and nuts instead.

CHOCOLATE SWIRL BUNS

Ingredients:

For the Dough

1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, preferably whole

1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast

1/4 cup (50 grams) plus a pinch of granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature or equivalent

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the Chocolate Filling

3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 pound (225 grams) chocolate, broken into pieces

100g pecan nuts or almonds, lightly toasted

Pinch of kitchen salt

Method:

  • For the dough, warm milk and a pinch of sugar to between 110 to 116°F. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk.
  • Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

  • Slowly whisk in yeast mixture. In stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt.
  • Run mixer on low and add egg mixture, mixing until combined. Add butter and mix until incorporated.

  • Switch mixer to dough hook and let the dough knead for 10 minutes on low speed till sticky and stringy.
  • Butter a large bowl and place dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate filling. Pulse the chopped chocolate with the salt, sugar and nuts.
  • Process mixture until the chocolate is very finely chopped. Add butter and pulse, then set mixture aside.

  • Generously butter a standard 12-muffin tin. Once dough is doubled, turn out onto a well-floured surface.
  • Gently deflate with floured hands. Rest for another 5 minutes. Now roll the dough into a large rectangle.

  • The short side of the rectangle should be 11 to 12 inches. The other side can be as long as you can roll it.
  • Sprinkle the filling evenly over surface of the dough. Tightly roll the dough back over chocolate filling.

  • Start from one short end to the other, forming a 12 inch log. Cut into 1 inch segments with dental floss.
  • Place each segment in a muffin cup. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush buns with egg wash or milk before baking them.
  • Bake buns for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and brown. Then remove from oven and set on cooling rack.

  • Cool them completely before unmolding them with a knife or thin spatula. Serve them warm with coffee.
  • Buns can be formed, placed in the muffin cups and refrigerated the night before to bake in the morning.