Welcome to part two of my hot cross bun Easter super-special! Part one was traditional hot cross buns if that’s what you’re after.
I’ve been surprised to learn since my first post that hot cross buns are somewhat local to the UK, Australia and NZ. So, for my lovely American readers, these are an Easter bun (historically Christian – hence the cross) traditionally eaten hot or toasted during Easter.
My research shows it may have started with ancient Greeks marking their cakes with a cross. I also stumbled across information saying that the UK have toffee, orange and cranberry, and apple and cinnamon versions. It’s only the Aussies and Kiwis who seem to be embracing the chocolate version. So let me share with you the goodness of chocolate chip hot cross buns!
Part 1 that I published comes with step-by-step pictures for you to follow. If this is your first time making bread, or these buns, then I recommend checking these steps out, and just using the modified ingredients listed below.
The chocolate version still has a collection of spices in it like cinnamon and ginger which give them the same festive flavour as the traditional bun, but with a chocolate hit. I thoroughly recommend them.
For the buns
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 cup caster sugar
1.5 cups milk, lukewarm (32-43 C which is 90-110 F) warm on your skin but should not be so hot that it burns. Try one minute on medium high in the microwave. You can read more on activating yeast here.
4.5 cups plain flour, sifted
2 tablespoons of cocoa
1 tablespoon lemon/orange ring (or finely chopped mixed peel)*
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
50g butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips
*I use the rind over mixed peel as I think it’s a better more natural flavour – a lot of people don’t like mixed peel.
For the crosses
1/3 cup plain flour
1.5 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon caster sugar
4 tablespoons cold water (approx)
For the glaze
(you won’t use all of this)
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
- Place the yeast, 2 teaspoons of the sugar and milk in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to dissolve yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to foam. This means the yeast is active.
- Add flour, all the spices, butter, egg, raisins, rind and remaining sugar to the yeast mixture. Use a spoon to mix until a sticky dough forms.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes, or until it feels elastic.
- Place in a large oiled bowl, spray or drizzle with a little extra oil then cover with cling film and allow to stand in a warm place about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Pound dough back down. Divide into 15 pieces and roll into balls. Line a 28x18cm pan (original recipe asked for a 9×9-inch cake tin and said 12 balls. I think they were too tall and thick like that, each to their own) with non-stick baking paper. Place the dough balls in the tin in three rows of five and cover with cling film again. Allow to stand for 30 minutes in a warm place, or until they rise.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Combine the extra flour and water for the crosses. Place in a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off and pipe crosses on the buns when they are ready to be baked. Take care with the crosses, good crosses make you look like a pro.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until browned and springy to the touch.
- To make the glaze, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Brush the hot cross buns with the warm glaze while the buns are hot. Cool buns on a rack.
Serve warm, with butter or have them plain. Giving them a little blast in the microwave makes all the chocolate gooey and extra yum.
Makes: 15 hot cross buns.
Healthy: 260 calories per hot cross bun if you make 15. Smotherings of butter are at your own discretion (but recommended).
Storage: I froze this batch and took them to work. It was awesome.