A pair of deep-set muffin tins is probably one of the most useful piece of baking equipment you can own. Not only can you fill them with any quick muffin recipe for a delicious and healthy homebaked treat in under half an hour, you can use them to individualise any baking. Cupcakes? It’s all about the muffin tin – just add paper cases and tower your cooled buns with icing as your taste (or lack of it) permits. Bread? You can make easy and delicious soft bread rolls by dividing any no-knead dough into rough lumps and popping them into your greased tins. And if you don’t fancy greasing, the silicone ones work pretty well, too.
My favourite muffin-tin cheat is to use them to make Chelsea-style buns. The tin keeps them perfect round shapes, and their walls mean that the only way they can rise in the oven is upwards into wonderful mushroom-shaped cakes. They look stunning, and are particularly suited to soaking up a very sticky syrup indeed – you could go ahead and make a sticky caramel sauce, but I have it on high authority that the best Chelsea bun bakers in the world use a mixture of old fashioned mixed spice and Lyle’s golden syrup.
Into a large bowl, weigh out your flour and your butter, and rub these together until the butter has largely disappeared. Add in all the rest of your dough ingredients, in no particular order, and mix them all together into a rough dough.
Cover your bowl with cling film, and leave your dough for half an hour at room temperature. After this, give it a poke and a fold and a bit of a knead if you like – this brief rest and fondle replace the need to knead. Now, re-cover your dough and leave it to rest for another hour to 90 minutes.
Grease your muffin tins, then turn your risen dough out onto a floured surface. Add plenty more flour on top, then roll your dough out into as big a rectangle as you can manage. The larger and thinner it is, the taller and more spiralled your rolls will be.
Melt roughly half a block of butter in a bowl in the fridge, then brush it over your flat dough. Sprinkle over a generous coating of brown sugar, then roll the whole thing up like a Swiss roll. You should now have something that’s sausage-shaped.
Cut your long sausage into 12 equal buns, and place these into your greased muffin tins. You should now leave these to rise for another hour or so at room temperature. About 20 minutes before you’re going to bake, preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.
Bake your buns for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a slight crust is forming. They should bounce back when pressed. Leave them to cool whilst you make the syrup
Weigh your golden syrup and mixed spice in a saucepan and place it over a low heat. Stir slowly - you want the spice to be distributed evenly and the syrup to turn watery enough to be poured over your buns. Once they are drenched, it’s time to serve.