Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Buns

cranberry chocolate bun

It’s only a few days until the clocks go back again and although we have had very mild weather so far, the changing light is as much of a sign of the changing season as the incredible colours of the leaves on the trees. I struggle with the light for photography in my house even in the middle of the summer as my kitchen is quite dark and positioned completely the wrong way for good photos while I am baking. I need daylight for my photos as the flash and electric lights give a horrible orange tone. As the days get shorter it gets harder to bake for the blog as if I want decent photos I am limited by the hours of daylight. And on a dull day it’s like baking at dusk in the summer! I miss the kitchen in the house that I rented before buying this one: the back portion of the kitchen was a conservatory so there was always enough light, even on a bad day. In fact in the summer it could be difficult to get a good picture because there was too much light: not a problem I have had recently!

And because the days are drawing it seems like a good time to be experimenting with rich breads. This is not an overly sweet bun, however: there is no sugar in the bread dough and I have only added 25g of soft brown sugar to the filling so the sweetness comes almost entirely from the cranberries and the chocolate. If you like a pain au chocolat as a breakfast treat at the weekend then try this instead. These buns don’t need much more effort than a loaf of bread. Instead of knocking back the dough you roll it out, spread the filling over it, roll it up and cut into slices. Couldn’t be simpler.

cranberry chocolate swirl



For the dough

500g strong white bread flour

10g salt

10g instant yeast (or 20g fresh)

300ml milk, lukewarm

40g butter, melted

1 large egg, beaten

For the filling

25g soft brown sugar

100g dried cranberries

100g dark chocolate chips

25g butter, melted

For the glaze

About a tablespoon of apricot jam


Make the dough:

Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the yeast to one side and the salt to the other. (If you are using fresh yeast rub it into the flour and add the salt when you are ready to mix in the wet ingredients).

When you are ready to mix in the wet ingredients, combine the flour, yeast and salt.

Add the milk, melted butter and beaten egg to the flour mixture.

Either use your mixer with the dough hook to mix the dough, or stir the mixture together to make a rough dough, then tip it out onto a clean work surface and knead it by hand.

It will start off as quite a wet dough but will soon become smooth and silky.

When the dough is ready, put it into an oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm or a tea towel.

enriched dough

Leave to rise until it has roughly doubled in size.

enriched bread dough

Line a deep baking tray or roasting dish approximately 10″x7″ (mine was 10″ x 7.5″) with baking parchment.

Make the filling: mix together the sugar, dried cranberries and chocolate chips.

cranberry chocolate filling

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface but do not knock it back.

enriched bun dough

Tip your dough out carefully: don’t knock it back

Roll the dough out into a rectangle, roughly 5mm thick.

enriched bun dough

Brush the melted butter over the surface of the dough and then sprinkle the filling evenly over it.

making cranberry chocolate buns

Roll the dough up tightly from the long edge to form a cylinder.

cranberry chocolate buns

Slice the ends off to tidy it up and then carefully slice the cylinder into 9 equal slices.

Put the slices into the lined tin, cut side up. (You can also bake the discarded ends on a floured baking tray to have as a little tester).

cranberry chocolate buns

Cover and leave to prove

Cover the buns with a tea towel and leave to rise again.

cranberry chocolate buns

Ready to bake

Set the oven to 190ºC.

When the buns are well risen bake them for around 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

cranberry chocolate buns

Just out of the oven…

Water your apricot jam down with a little water and use a pastry brush to brush it over the tops of the buns when they come out of the oven.

Leave to cool on a wire rack (if you can wait).

cranberry chocolate buns

So maybe they didn’t all make it to the cooling rack…

Categories: Awards, Bread, Breakfast, Chocolate, Recipes

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. These look perfectly delicious – and the right level of sweetness.
    Isn’t the fading light just awful. My kitchen is north-facing so I have the same problem, with most of the photos too blurry to use!

  2. These look gorgeous…. Perfect accompaniment to a cup of PG xx

  3. I love these sorts of buns. I haven’t eaten one for ages but they always remind me of my childhood years, eaten as a ‘snail’ (I used to pull parts off from the outside-in, gradually unfurling my favourite part in the centre) with a lukewarm cup of sweet tea! The combination of slightly tart cranberries and rich dark chocolate sounds divine xx

    P.S we are progressing towards Summer over here, so I am looking forward to longer days with more sunlight after I leave work!

    • I still do the same thing if I’m on my own! The middle is definitely the best bit. Lovely to hear from you, I hope you’re doing ok as I read one of your blog posts on my phone a while ago and discovered you had been hurt. Unfortunately I didn’t ever get round to writing a comment. I have been terrible at reading blogs and I really do miss it. x

  4. Oh these are so lovely. My niece is coming to visit me in early November, I think this would be the perfect treat to make together.

    I hate the fading light, it makes me a bit sad.

  5. Those look delicious! I dread turning back the clocks. The short days really sao my energy.

  6. Oh my gosh these look fabulous! Love the chocolate cherry combination. Perfection!

  7. such a delicious treat. It will be a perfect treat for breakfast. I struggle with lighting in my kitchen as well esp on rainy and hazy days..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: