We love a hot cross bun. Well, some of us do. The Death Wish Dude thinks all things dried fruit are a bit bleurgh. So if you’ve got a dried fruit hater in your family, or if you just fancy something a bit different this Easter, here’s a recipe for some lovely chocolatey hot cross buns.
- 150ml milk
- 150ml water
- Zest of 1 orange
- 50g butter
- 425g strong white bread flour
- 25g good quality cocoa
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 75g sugar
- 1 x 7g sachet dried yeast
- 100g good quality chopped dark chocolate (keep the chunks quite large)
For the cross:
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp cocoa
- 1 tsp caster sugar
For the glaze:
- 1 tbsp orange marmalade, rindless or sieved
Before you start, assemble and weigh out your ingredients. This will save you time and prevent things being forgotten.
So in a small saucepan (or jug if you’re doing it in the microwave) warm the milk, water, orange zest (use the finest grater you have) and butter until the butter is just melted, then turn off the heat. Let it cool so that when you stick your finger in, it feels like blood temperature.
While the liquid is cooling, sift the flour, cocoa and ground mixed spice together into a large bowl. Next, stir in the salt, sugar and dried yeast.
If you’ve got a mixer, pop in all the dry ingredients, then set it on low and slowly pour in the milky mixture until the dough comes together (you might not need all of it so go steady), then plug in the dough hook and set it to knead for a good five minutes.
If you’re old-fashionedy or are still waiting to meet the mixer of your dreams (they do actually come out nicer and lighter if you knead them by hand), you’ll have to get to it for at least ten minutes adding the chocolate about half way through.
Because the chocolate is quite escapey, I found that it was best to knead it in the mixer for five minutes, then add the chocolate and knead by hand for a further few minutes. The chocolate just keeps escaping, but poke it back in.
Keep going until the dough is nice and springy and firm (as usual, think the texture of a boob, or possibly a bottom cheek – poke your finger in – if the dough springs back, then it’s done – if not, knead a bit more). Disclaimer: possibly best if you don’t actually do this with people’s boobs.
When your dough is sufficiently springy, leave it covered with a clean tea towel in a warm place until it’s doubled in size. Then, just knock it back with your fist (be careful – I found the chocolate quite jabby!) and cut it in half, then half again and half again. Form each of your 8 pieces into a ball and place them on a floured baking tray. Cover and rise again until they’re puffed up.
If you want to add the cross, then mix about 1 tbsp flour, 1 tbsp cocoa, a tsp of caster sugar and enough water to make into a thick paste and either just dribble it with a teaspoon, or pipe it onto your buns (ooer Missus) with a disposable piping bag. Or, you can cut a cross in the top of the buns and pipe the cross into the little lines. Totally up to you.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 180/gas 6 until they sound hollow when patted on the bottom. Finally, when they’re just out of the oven, warm up the marmalade (or apricot jam) with a splash of water and brush it on for extra glossy stickiness (use rindless here – you don’t want bits of peel sticking to your buns). If you’re going to freeze them, slice them in half first so they can go straight in the toaster.
And that’s it. Hide them from your offspring until you’ve scarfed at least two. You deserve it. Oh, and here’s the reason you need to keep the chocolate chunks large. Nomnomnom: