There is a very long story attached to these buns, but I won't go through the entire heart-string-pulling bit. My grandmother used to make these buns, and they are my favourite dessert.
Well, after getting my hands on a similar recipe from one of my dad's cousins (which I was asked to not share), Meredith made the buns. They didn't turn out as expected, but the flavour was right. That didn't stop us from sharing a sample with my aunt as it was still the closest to my grandmother's buns that I had ever tasted. I just couldn't share the recipe here.
Fast-forward a few more days and we're getting ready for Rosh Hashanah. My aunt decided to go through some papers from my grandmother and found an original copy of her bun recipe - in Spanish. She translated it and gave us a copy when we got together, and asked Meredith to make a batch for the following Saturday - for breaking the fast after Yom Kippour. My aunt also made it clear that my grandmother was all about sharing the joy that food brings, and I was welcome to share this recipe with my readers.
The second attempt, using my grandmother's notes, was a smashing success. I only hope Meredith wasn't discouraged by the amount of work involved, because I'm so incredibly happy with the result.
While making the buns, we consulted with Penny from Sweet Sadie's baking to fill in a few gaps and answer some questions, and we learned a few lessons. I've also included some additional notes:
1. For our particular stand mixer, we should cut the recipe in half. There's just too much dough and we made an incredible mess.
2. Don't experiment with a milk wash instead of an egg wash. It just doesn't turn out the same.
3. You need to buy a lot of chocolate. A lot. I'm not kidding. Around a pound, depending on the size of the pieces (maybe more). It's best if the pieces you use are maybe 1-2 inches x 1/2 inch or it gets too wide rather than long. We had pieces that were more square in shape.
4. You can make these without chocolate and roll the dough into balls as well.
Mama’s Bollos con Chocolate
½ cup lukewarm water
1 cup oil
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup orange juice
2 tsp orange blossom water
rind from 1 orange
11 cups flour
several chocolate bars or 1 bag chocolate chips (at least)
2-3 eggs for egg wash
2 tbsp confectioners sugar (optional)
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast and lukewarm water and let sit for 10-20 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, milk, orange juice, orange blossom water and rind. Whisk together.
- Slowly add 4 cups flour to liquid mixture and mix using a large standing mixer with a dough hook.
- Add the yeast mixture and mix again.
- Slowly add the remaining flour until well mixed. Add extra flour if necessary.
- Roll dough into a large ball, place in a large bowl and cover with plastic.
- Let dough rise for three hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
- To make the rolls, press a small handful of dough into a 3 x 3 square. place some chocolate at one end and roll it up. Place rolls on a non-stick baking sheet.
- Cover rolls with plastic and let stand for a few minutes.
- Preheat oven to 335-degrees.
- Beat eggs for wash and brush onto buns with pastry brush.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until buns are slightly golden-brown on top.
- Sprinkle buns with confectioners sugar when done.
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