British Bites: Chelsea Buns (British Cinnamon Rolls with Raisins)


[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

Sharing the same name as a famed London neighborhood, these buns are glazed with sugary icing while they're still warm to make them especially sweet. They are like a cinnamon bun but have a less gooey, more sticky property. If you have less of a sweet tooth, simply disregard the final step of icing them—they will still be sweet, just less tacky.

Chelsea buns are great at any time of day, but they really shine as a mid-morning snack. The sweetness will easily get you to lunch, but they're not too heavy. To counter the sweetness a nice hot mug of strong tea is ideal—a good quality Earl Grey would be great, but even a strongly steeped PG Tips could do the trick. Traditionally these rolls are made with currants, but if you don't have any of those, raisins work perfectly well. Personally, I think a combination of golden and dark raisins is the way to go.

If you're having people over and want to make these buns the night before, you can roll them, slice them, and place them in the prepared dish the night before. Let them rise and come up to room temperature before you bake them.