Pretzel buns with hazelnut, dates and chocolate
Poaching pretzels gives them that classic crackly crust and the all-important chew, while the malt extract gives them great flavour.
Start with the dough: mix the salt and yeast with the flour, stir until well combined, then add the milk, water and malt extract. Knead to a smooth, firm dough, then put in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and set aside to rise for one to two hours.
Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Roast the hazelnuts at 200C/390F/ gas 6 for six minutes until golden brown, then cool and chop finely.
Break up the chocolate and melt in a microwave in 20-second bursts, stirring frequently, then mix with the hazelnuts and dates.
Once the dough is risen and puffy, remove from the bowl and knock it back. Cut into eight portions.
Make the buns by flattening each piece of dough into a disc 10cm across. Put a heaped teaspoon of stuffing in the middle and bring the edges of the dough up and over to cover the stuffing. Dab the edges of the dough with a little water, then pinch together firmly to seal. Finally, roll into a smooth ball between your hands and repeat with the rest. Leave them to rise again for 10-15 minutes on a lightly oiled baking sheet covered with a plastic bag.
To make the poaching liquid: bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan with the malt extract. Once the buns have puffed up, gently poach them, two or three at a time, for 30 seconds on each side, then put back on the baking tray.
Brush each bun with a little beaten egg, then sprinkle them generously with sesame seeds. Bake at 240C/465F/gas 9 for 12 minutes, until they are a deep, hazelnut brown.