Chocolate and cardamom buns

Cardamom is a spice that I will always associate with my mother - not because of its name, but because I first encountered this distinctive, sweet spice when I baked a polenta cake flavoured with cardamom and rosewater for her birthday almost ten years ago. We had just returned from a family holiday to Paris, where we had eaten a Lebanese meal in a department store one steamy summer's evening. We didn't want to eat anything too heavy, so a plate full of mezze was perfect for us: stuffed vine leaves, light and crispy pastries, slathered in roasted aubergine and houmous. The desserts, to my ten year-old self, seemed extremely exotic: delicate mousses and cakes flavoured with pistachios, rose and cardamom.

Since then, I have started to use cardamom more frequently in my cooking. It's such a versatile spice; you can use it in korma or daal, as well as adding it to warm milky drinks and baked goods like these buns. It's a rather distinctive taste, so I understand if it's not for you; but it's definitely worth a try.

This is a recipe from Cheta Makan, and I stumbled upon it a few weeks ago via Pinterest. I can't say that I was specifically looking for a sweet twisted bun recipe, but I have been longing to make Izzy Hossak's pretzel buns from her first cookbook for a good two years now, and the idea of chocolate in a soft, yeasty bun proved irresistible. Fragrant, cardamom-scented twists of glossy-crusted dough combine with toasted hazelnuts and melted dark chocolate to make a bun so deliciously decadent that you could give me a tray of these for my birthday and I would be happy. 

They're great for a lazy Saturday morning breakfast, or an afternoon pick-me-up, served with a mug of coffee or a cold glass of milk. 

Chocolate and cardamom buns (from Carr's flour, by Cheta Makan)
I'd really recommend watching the video so that you know how to fold them. It's not as difficult as it may seem!