Hot Cross Buns have been in the shops since Boxing Day – literally – but I haven’t had a single one yet. I’ll admit to a little prickle of indignation every time I saw them before Easter season began. I think they’re much more special when enjoyed for a week or two, and then put away until the next year. Hot Cross Buns are a recipe I haven’t quite perfected a homemade version of yet. My attempts have been quite delicious, but just a little dense and heavy for my liking. But I make a damn good cinnamon roll.
Maybe it’s the change of season from summer into autumn, but this time of year seems to bring out a craving for cozy times in the kitchen. I love waking up early to bake, kneading dough and smelling warm spices. It puts me in such a good mood and reminds me of the early years of blogging when I would do this almost every weekend in my old kitchen. I can hardly believe that Spicyicecream is 10 years old in July!
This time I decided to change up my usual recipe to make Sticky Date Rolls, with delicious consqeuences. I’ve included some delicious tea-steeped dates in the spiced filling. Medjool dates are also one of my favourite snacks these days with an amazing earthy caramel taste. If you’ve been reading for a while, you may know that Sticky Date Pudding is one of my favourite desserts in the world, and it seems to be a yearly tradition to experiment with it.
Another small change I made this time was to use about 1/3 rye flour in the mixture, which I think turned out really well but I have noted it as optional in the recipe below. I have been loving experimenting with alternate flours and sugars in recent times and can’t wait to share more of these recipes with you here on the blog.
The obvious accompaniment is a delicious caramel sauce, which I felt would suit these little rolls better than a liberal dusting of icing sugar or a super sweet glaze. I drizzled it over the top while the rolls were still warm, and then served them with a little extra for good measure. These sticky date rolls are best served fresh on the day they are made, but can also be frozen and reheated in the oven for a decadent Easter morning breakfast.
Related Post: Sticky Date Doughnuts
Sticky Date Rolls with Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup milk
- 45g unsalted butter
- 1 cup rye flour
- 2 ½ cups plain flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 ¼ teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Vegetable oil spray
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 2 earl grey teabags
- Boiling water
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 55g unsalted butter, room temperature
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 30g salted butter
- 1/2 cup cream
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
To make the dough, combine milk and butter in a microwave safe cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds, until butter melts and mixture is warm. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add rye flour, sugar, egg, yeast and salt. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add remaining 2 ½ cups flour and beat on low speed until flour is absorbed. If dough is very sticky, add flour one tablespoon at a time until dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, adding more flour if sticky, for about 8 minutes. Form into a ball. Lightly oil a bowl with non-stick spray. Transfer dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then a tea towel. Let dough rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
In the meantime, roughly chop the dates and place them into a bowl with the tea bags and a little boiling water. Allow to steep and cool for at least an hour. Strain the date mixture, removing the tea bags and pressing down on the dates to remove as much liquid as possible.
To make the filling, mix brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger in a medium sized bowl. Punch the dough down and transfer to a floured work surface. Roll out a 30x40cm rectangle. Spread butter over the dough, leaving 1.5cm border. Sprinkle the spiced sugar evenly over the butter. Spread the date mixture over the spice mixture. Starting at a long side, roll the dough into a log. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with a thin sharp knife into 16 equal slices.
Spray a large rectangular baking dish with non-stick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging with cut side up. Cover with a tea towel and let dough rise for 40-45 minutes, until almost doubled in volume.
Preheat to 190°C (375°F). Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops are golden. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn rolls right side up.
To make the salted caramel sauce, place the brown sugar, butter and cream into another small saucepan and stir until combined and the butter has melted. Cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir through salt and allow to cool to room temperature. Drizzle over the warm sticky date rolls and serve extra on the side.