Sweetheart Pull-Apart Chocolate Buns

Recipe by David Turner

These precious chocolate buns are perfect for tearing and sharing with your sweetheart, but we won’t tell if you keep one all to yourself! The sweet, enriched dough encases a rich, fudgy tahini filling. A thin layer of glaze serves as a sweet counterpoint to the slightly earthy filling — these chocolate buns have it all.  

50 mins
16 to 18 mins
4 hrs 10 mins
8 buns
Sweetheart Pull-Apart Chocolate Buns  - select to zoom
Sweetheart Pull-Apart Chocolate Buns  - select to zoom
Sweetheart Pull-Apart Chocolate Buns  - select to zoom
Sweetheart Pull-Apart Chocolate Buns  - select to zoom
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  1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.  

  2. To make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, milk, eggs, sugar, yeast, and salt until no dry spots remain, about 30 seconds on low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl. 

  3. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the butter pieces one at a time, pausing briefly between each to allow it to incorporate before adding the next. Once all the butter has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 1 more minute on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

  4. Cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes; it will not rise much, if at all. With floured hands, gently knead the dough for about 15 seconds. Cover with plastic or your favorite reusable wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. This will slow the fermentation and chill the butter, making the dough easier to shape. 

  5. To make the filling: While the dough is chilling, make the filling. In a heatproof bowl, combine the tahini and chocolate. Melt in 40-second bursts at half power in the microwave or over a double boiler, stirring until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is melted. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons (12g) of the almond flour, and vanilla. The mixture should be thick and granular, like natural peanut butter; if it’s still runny, add the additional tablespoon of almond flour. Set aside. 

  6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. 

  7. To divide and shape the chocolate buns: Once chilled, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (about 74g each) on a lightly floured work surface. Using a cupped hand on an unfloured area of the work surface, round each piece of dough into a taut ball, using additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. 

  8. Starting with the first dough ball on a lightly floured surface, flatten it into a disk with your palm. Use a rolling pin to roll the disk into a 4 1/2" round, making sure the edges are slightly thinner than the middle (this will make it easier to fill). To achieve thin edges, hold the dough in your non-dominant hand, rotating it gradually as you roll out the edges of the circle using a pin in your dominant hand. (A small and/or tapered rolling pin is the best tool here.) 

  9. Portion a generous tablespoon of filling onto the center of each round of dough; a level tablespoon cookie scoop works well here. 

    Sweetheart Pull-Apart Chocolate Buns – Step 9
  10. Working quickly, fold up the sides of the dough and pinch them together to fully enclose the filling inside. Place the bun, seam-side down, onto a lightly floured area of the work surface, press it to flatten slightly, and repeat with 3 more pieces of dough and filling.

    Sweetheart Pull-Apart Chocolate Buns – Step 10
  11. Using a rolling pin, roll out the first ball you made into a 4" round (about 1/2" thick). Use the wide end of a pastry tip to lightly impress a 1 1/3" circle in the center of the circle. Using a sharp paring knife or bench knife, make 8 slices evenly around the dough, cutting from the outside edge to the circle in the center. (It’s easiest to first make 4 slices and then make another slice between each one to get 8 total). Use the bench knife to carefully lift and move the filled and sliced dough to one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of filled dough.

    Sweetheart Pull-Apart Chocolate Buns – Step 11
  12. Using both hands, pick up two adjacent sections of dough from one of the sliced dough rounds and twist them away from each other a quarter turn to form a shape that looks like a small heart. Repeat this twisting, working your way around the bun, until all the dough sections have been twisted, then repeat this process with the other sliced dough rounds. Press the buns lightly to flatten them into an even layer, just over 1/2" thick.

    Sweetheart Pull-Apart Chocolate Buns – Step 12
  13. Repeat the filling and shaping steps with the remaining 4 portions of dough and filling. Working in this way (rather than shaping all 8 at once) makes the buns easier to shape. 

  14. Cover the baking sheets and allow the chocolate buns to rise for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen, until the dough springs back slowly if pressed with a floured fingertip (the buns will not rise significantly).   

  15. While the buns are resting, preheat the oven to 350°F with racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. 

  16. Bake the chocolate buns for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. When done, the buns will be light golden brown all over and the internal temperature will reach at least 205°F when measured on a digital thermometer

  17. Remove the baked buns from the oven and allow them to cool on the pans for about 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle.  

  18. To make the topping: While the chocolate buns cool, prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons (28g) of the water to make a thin glaze (like the glaze on a glazed doughnut). When you drizzle it back into the bowl, the glaze should immediately sink back into itself. If needed, add the remaining tablespoon of water to achieve this consistency. 

  19. Gently brush the glaze onto the cooled buns and quickly sprinkle on the sesame seeds before the glaze sets. 

  20. Storage information: Store any leftover chocolate buns, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days.