Happy Star Wars VII release date, everyone!
Along with pretty much the rest of the world, I'm really excited and I hope the movie does not disappoint. It's been months of waiting and re-watching the vague but epic trailers in search of any hints about the plot line. As I said in my December bucket list, I'll be watching this movie at least two times. Maybe it's best that I lower my expectations just in case it's as bad as Star Wars III with whiney Anakin and Padmé. I can stand Jar Jar Binks, but Anakin? Not so much. But, I hear it's getting good reviews, so perhaps there is hope.
I remember when I used to watch and re-watch Star Wars IV-VI on VHS with Kristen. Remember when you had to rewind movies? The sixth movie was my favorite for the longest time. It had a lot to do with the Ewoks and the fact that my dog often looks very much like one (even when he's hiding in his bag). I also liked that Endor was filmed in Redwood National Park; a place I had been to numerous times.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, I've made some Princess Leia buns. You'll have to use your imagination for this one because it's not completely obvious who or what the shape of the buns are. If you squint hard, you'll see Princess Leia's head and two buns on the side. I seem to excel in deformed but utterly delicious chocolate breads as of late. Once you get past the weird shape and taste them, it won't matter whether or not they were meant to look like Princess Leia. The texture and taste is spot on.
These are like a chocolate croissants minus the greasy/buttery taste that can sometimes make them difficult to stomach. Instead, these are pillowy with soft layers that ooze of dark chocolate. My favorite way of eating these is head first, buns last to save the chocolate part. I thought about stuffing the head with chocolate but consequently forgot about that. Feel free to do so if you desire more chocolate.
I will warn you that these are a little bit tricky to assemble and the steps may look overwhelming. If you desire to leave Leia to the big screen, you can make crescent rolls instead. Cut the dough in triangles and roll inwards for easier to handle shapes. But, I challenge you to make them look more like Princess Leia than mine did!
Fortunately, this food project wasn't a complete dud like the Yoda buns that failed to the extreme.
The key to having soft breads is in the dough. It should feel soft and pliable both when mixing the dough in the bowl and when kneading it. When you knead it, it should feel like squishing the softest pillow you know. Be careful of adding too much flour to the dough when kneading it or else you'll loose its fluffy nature. 52 Tips from Food52, mentions oiling your hands to avoid stickiness. I'll have to remember that for next time.
Split the dough in half to create both the "head" and the "buns". The buns are a cross between a cinnamon roll and chocolate babka.
The dough is naturally sticky but it needs a little help to stand upright. They might require some squishing together to ensure that the buns don't fall over when baking.
Do yours not look like this? Maybe they look like caterpillars, bows or flying saucers? Not to worry, because only a handful of mine turned out as what I had in mind.
It all tastes the same anyways!
Very tasty breads these are. Patience is required.
Chocolate Swirly (Princess Leia) Buns
Adapted from the Basic Sweet Roll Dough in Mary's Bread Basket and Soup Kettle
Yields: 24 buns
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup flour
¾ cup warm milk
¼ cup melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
3-4 cups flour
¼ cup chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ cup powdered sugar
Make the sponge. In a small mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Stir with a fork until dissolved. Add salt, 1 tablespoon sugar and ½ cup flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cover and let stand until light and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Once the sponge has proofed, in a large mixing bowl, combine milk, butter, 2 tablespoons sugar and eggs. Stir down the sponge and add it to the large mixing bowl. Beat in 1½ cups of flour until the batter is smooth. Gradually add more flour until the dough pulls away from the sides. The dough should be soft and workable but not too sticky. Turn out on a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10-12 minutes.
Place in a warm, greased bowl, turning to coat the top. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel. Let double in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, knead lightly, cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, assemble the filling. Melt chocolate chips and butter in the microwave, nuking for 10 seconds at a time. Once melted and smooth, add the cocoa powder and powdered sugar and stir to combine. The filling's thickness should resemble smooth peanut butter. Set aside.
For shaping the "head", divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Cover one piece. With the other, shape into 12 equal sized balls. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
With the other piece of dough, shape the "buns". Roll it into a 16" x 10" rectangle. With a knife, spread the chocolate filling over the rectangle, leaving 1/2 inch of space around the edge. Roll inwards, using the long side and pinch the ends together. Place the seam-side down. With a sharp knife, cut the ends off the chocolate roll and cut the remaining roll into 24 equal pieces.
Remove the dough balls from the fridge and place 6 on a baking sheet. Place two chocolate swirls on either side of the "head". Continue with the remaining "head" pieces and "bun" pieces.
Cover and set aside for the second rise, about 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Brush with an egg wash and bake one sheet at a time for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.