Mini Choco-Cinnamon Buns

>> Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm terrible at waiting. For anything, really. But especially when something edible is involved. I know I've told you all about my culinary impatience with no-knead breads and pizza dough. But the gotta-have-it-now attitude really does apply to pretty much all of my adventures in the kitchen. That's one reason I love micro-muffins so much!

These mini cinnamon buns are certainly no exception. They aren't the yeasted variety I usually make. I've been on a baking powder kick (5-minute naan, anyone?), and it's just so much faster!

There's something awesome about miniaturizing a baked good (but -- again -- this statement applies to all things food). It makes the whole baking and eating experience more fun. The result -- more adorable. And I've been searching for reasons to use my mini muffin tin, so this recipe gave me the perfect excuse.

What isn't so mini is my appetite these days. Running is still not a word in my vocabulary right now, sadly. So, I've been trying to keep my diet in check. These tiny buns really hit the spot. They're vegan . . . and even good sans-icing. How can that be? I infused them with chocolate, folks.



What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • A pinch of Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance, cold
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or more, depending)
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ounces chocolate, broken into tiny pieces (explained below)

Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spritz a mini muffin tin with some canola oil.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cut in the Earth Balance (or butter) and mix with your fingers until crumbly.
  4. Pour in the almond milk. And using the paddle attachment, mix until well combined. You may need a tablespoon or so more of the almond milk to get a nice, soft dough. But it shouldn't be sticky.
  5. In another bowl, crush chocolate chips or other pieces of chocolate with a fork (or shave a bit with a knife). You want it to be crumbly. Almost powdery. I used a fun fennel chocolate, but bittersweet, semi-sweet, etc., will do the trick. Or you can omit this part.
  6. Mix chocolate together with the 2 tablespoons Earth Balance, 1/2 cup brown sugar. It should be wonderfully crumbly when you're done.
  7. Roll out the buns dough on a lightly floured work surface. You should create a skinny rectangle that's about 5 inches by 18 inches. Then cover it with your crumbly sugar/chocolate mixture.
  8. Roll it so that you get an incredibly long and skinny tube (so not a bit fat one). Use a knife to slice the tube into 24 tiny rolls.
  9. Then place each tiny roll into each open slot on your muffin tin.
  10. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (mine only needed 16), until cinnamon buns are golden brown. Let cool for five minutes, then remove and finish cooling on cooling rack.

NOTE: If you don't have a mini muffin tin, I think you can use a 9" by 13" pan or even a pie plate -- you'll just have to bake the rolls while they're touching, but I think it'll work just fine. Grease whatever you are using, though. They can get rather sticky. And please let me know if this method works for you!

I find it incredible how I'm able to add chocolate to most everything. Even pizza sauce! Chocolate and peanut butter are definitely my favorite ingredients, so I guess it only makes sense that I want to devour them at all hours of the day. Do you, too, find yourself sneaking in your favorite ingredients . . . into basically everything you make? We love to hear some of your wacky combinations!

Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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