The other weekend on a whim, I decided to tackle a baking project that had been on my list for a while: these chocolate tahini challah rolls by Smitten Kitchen. I have been gravitating more towards tahini in desserts so these caught my eye. Last year I made these tahini molten cakes for dessert after a Middle Eastern themed dinner and they were delicious. For those unfamiliar with tahini, it is a sesame paste that is akin to a natural peanut butter but with a nuttier taste to it. It is often used in Middle Eastern cooking (aka hummus) but has been trending in a lot of desserts lately (see the My Name is Yeh blog).
I figured anything with chocolate, tahini and challah couldn’t go wrong! This recipe was pretty simple but does require some advanced planning and time (mostly inactive time waiting for the dough to rise). They are best served warm, in my opinion. Enjoy!
Chocolate Tahini Challah Buns
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable or another neutral oil, or melted butter
- 2/3 cup (150 ml) milk or water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed
- 3 3/4 (490 grams) cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the counter
- 1 packet (7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
- Butter or nonstick spray for baking pan
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
- 4 ounces (115 grams) dark (semi- or bittersweet) chocolate (or approximately 3/4 cup chocolate chips)
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
- Scant 1/2 cup (25 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup (20 grams) cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup tahini (30 grams), well-stirred
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Sesame seeds
- 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon or orange juice
Butter a 9×13-inch or equivalent size baking dish, or coat it with nonstick spray.
Make filling: Melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar, cocoa and tahini; mixture should be a spreadable consistency.
Assemble buns: On a very well-floured counter, roll out dough into a rectangle about 18 inches wide (side facing you) and as far away from you (i.e. length) as it comfortably goes, usually 12 to 15 inches. Dollop chocolate mixture over and spread it smooth. Roll dough in a tight spiral.
Cut log very gently — it’s going to be a soft mess, use a sharp serrated knife, sewing thread works well here too — into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch segments. Arrange cut side up in prepared pan. Beat egg in small bowl. Brush tops of buns and tops of sides with egg and cover with plastic wrap. You can either fefrigerate overnight, along with leftover egg wash or leave it at room temperature to proof for another 60 to 90 minutes, until puffed a bit.
Bake buns: If in fridge, remove buns from fridge and let warm up for 30 minutes before baking. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush tops tops of sides with egg with egg wash again (I forgot and skipped the sides, which is why they are pale in the photos) and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, until bronzed all over and buns have an internal temperature of 190 degrees F. Let cool slightly before serving.
To glaze (optional): If using glaze, whisk ingredients until smooth. You can drizzle this over the buns or serve it alongside with a spoon. If drizzling over, it’s best to let the buns almost fully cool before putting it on or it may melt off.