Christmas twists with whisky icing
- November 2015
- Makes 10-12
- Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 25 min, plus rising and proving
This festive take on cinnamon buns, complete with whisky filling and icing, is a Scandi-style alternative to a mince pie as a teatime treat, courtesy of Signe Johansen.
Keep the Scandi theme by serving these boozy treats with this traditional Swedish mulled Christmas drink.
- Vegetarian recipes
- 14.2g (6.6g saturated)
- 34.7g (25.9g sugars)
- 250ml whole milk
- 50g lightly salted butter
- 350g refined/light spelt flour (the food team used Marriages Light Spelt Flour)
- 100g wholemeal spelt flour
- 50g strong white bread flour
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 1½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch freshly ground cloves
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 20g fresh yeast or 10g dried fast-action yeast
- 1 tbsp barley malt extract or golden syrup
- 2 large free-range eggs, 1 beaten to glaze
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Flavourless oil for greasing
- 1 medium free-range egg to glaze
For the whisky filling
- 75g lightly salted butter, at room temperature
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 50g ground almonds
- 1 tsp barley malt extract or golden syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or to taste
- 2 tbsp whisky or to taste
For the whisky icing
- 180g golden icing sugar
- 2-3 tbsp whisky
- Handful toasted flaked almonds to decorate
- Heat the 250ml milk with the butter in a medium pan over a medium heat until it just starts to steam and simmer. As soon as the mixture is hot, remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, sift the flours, 50g caster sugar, salt, ground spices and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the yeast. Make a well in the centre, add the malt extract/ golden syrup, 1 egg and the vanilla extract, along with the cooled milk mixture (the milk should be below 50°C degrees, otherwise the heat can kill off the yeast). Stir together with a rounded dough scraper or spatula until the dough is smooth and springs back when touched (or knead it in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 10 minutes at a slow speed). Don’t worry that the dough is slightly wet – that’s a good thing.
- Put the dough in a lightly oiled deep bowl, then cover with lightly oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise until the dough has doubled in size – this can take 0-90 minutes depending on the temperature of the dough (or see Make Ahead).
- Meanwhile, make the whisky filling by creaming together all the ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Taste it – if you think it needs a little more flavour, such as whisky or vanilla, add it.
- Gently turn out the risen dough onto a clean, lightly oiled surface. Roll out with an oiled rolling pin to a rectangle about 30cm x 50cm (don’t worry too much about precise measurements, as long as you have a rectangular shape). Using a spatula, spread the whisky filling over the lower half of the rectangle to cover. Fold the uncovered top half over the filling.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the dough lengthways into 10-12 strips. Pick up each end of one strip and twist in opposite directions (see Tips). As you twist the dough will start to coil up. Fold it as though into a knot, tucking one end into the loop that forms and the other end underneath (this helps to keep the shape when the twists are baking).
- Repeat with the remaining dough strips, then place them on 1–2 baking sheets, making sure they’re not too close together. Cover with a lightly oiled piece of cling film or a damp tea towel and set aside to prove until the dough no longer springs back when pressed (15-45 minutes, depending on the warmth of the room and how long it’s taken you to assemble the buns).
- Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/ gas 7. Glaze the buns with the beaten egg. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to 190°C/170°C fan/ gas 5 and bake for 20 minutes more or until they’re golden and sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a rack. 9 Sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl, then whisk in 2 tbsp whisky with a fork. If it’s not runny enough to drizzle, add another tablespoon (see Tips).
- Drizzle the icing over the cooled buns, scatter with the almonds, then serve.
- See how to twist the dough here.
- If the icing isn’t runny enough (step 9), add a splash of water to loosen.
Prepare the dough to the end of step 3 up to 24 hours in advance and leave to rise in the fridge, covered, overnight. The buns are best on the day they’re baked, but they’ll keep for a day.
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