• Michelle Howell

Baking it up in Quarantine

I've heard through the grapevine that during this quarantine there's been a rise of at-home bakers and pasta makers. You might say I'm a little ahead of the curve because baking is something I've always enjoyed doing and try to find time for. Max might be better than me in the kitchen when it comes to making meals, but I definitely wear the baking crown in the one-bedroom apartment we call home.

During the first two weeks we were on a homemade bread kick- something we like to do, but normally don't get around to for two main reasons:

  1. I have a gluten sensitivity so it's not something we usually buy or have in the house (because despite my sensitivity I will eat it)

  2. It's time-consuming to do it right

After bread, we moved onto pizza dough, equally time-consuming (the recipe we follow involves roughly six hours of rising time for the dough) and very good. Meanwhile, I've been on an extra pasta making kick and I've made a flourless chocolate cake, a donut-shaped cake with coffee buttercream for Maddie's birthday, carrot cake, and a failed attempt at Viennese whirls following this recipe that failed to mention that when people from the UK say cornflour they mean corn starch (I only discovered this after baking them when I thumbed through similarly angered comments on the recipe).

All of this came to a grinding halt during Passover so now I'm making up for lost time by making some recipes I've had my eye on the past two weeks including these pistachio, chocolate, and cardamom buns.

Originally from Nigella Lawson, these Chocolate and Pistachio Whirling Buns have been the highlight of my week so far and lasted a whopping two days after making it out of the oven.

This was the first time I've made a yeasted dessert and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to work the dough. If anything this is a good recipe to try your hand at as a precursor to making bread because of the similarities between the doughs.

I did make a few changes to the recipe a major one being the quantity of ingredients. The original recipe yields twenty buns 1 inch in size before baking. There's no reason for me to make twenty buns right now since the only ones eating them are myself and Max so I divided everything into a third. Each bun roughly an inch prior to baking and still ended up with eleven buns, plenty for the two of us.

The other major change was adding in cardamom to my buns filling. In retrospect, I think I could have added more cardamom (I used roughly 1 tablespoon) and probably could have added it into my dough as well for more of the flavor to come through.

Check out these easy buns here and happy baking!

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