There is a little back story to this recipe which was inspired by a good friend of mine. She recently left Australia where she has been living for the past few years, and where chocolate hot cross buns are readily available. During a recent chat a few hints were dropped about creating a similar recipe… I suspect that since she will be making her way to Cape Town in the next few weeks (and has confessed to being addicted to them) that she was actually being serious! Well of course I accepted the challenge and thought these would be a gorgeous treat to enjoy at Easter.
A few notes on the recipe: I did try to make chocolate crosses by adding cocoa to my paste mix, but they came out of the oven looking rather grey which I didn’t find appealing so I have stuck with white crosses. You will notice that I have used quite large chocolate chunks here but you could always chop yours smaller if you prefer. Also, don’t worry if you do not have a baking tin that is exactly the right size – I used a roasting tray to make these buns and found it worked just fine!
As far as baked goods go these chocolatey buns do require a little effort, but they are absolutely worth it! Have a lovely Easter everyone.
CHOCOLATE HOT CROSS BUNS
- 350ml milk
- ¾ cup castor sugar
- 10g instant dry yeast
- 4 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 4 tsp mixed spice
- 3 tbsp cocoa
- 60g butter
- 1 large egg
- 150g dark chocolate, chopped
For the paste:
- ½ cup flour
- 6 tbsp water
For the glaze:
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
1.) Warm the milk then stir in 1 tablespoon of the castor sugar. Add the yeast, stir for a few seconds then set aside for 10 minutes until the yeast is frothy.
2.) Sift the flour, remaining castor sugar, salt, mixed spice and cocoa together in a bowl.
3.) Melt the butter and add to the yeast mixture. Add the egg, then whisk everything together lightly with a fork.
4.) Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture. Stir until everything is combined.
5.) Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is soft and springy. If the dough is too sticky dust it lightly with some extra flour. Knead in the chocolate chunks.
6.) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
7.) Tip the dough onto your work surface again and knock it down with your fists. Grease a 20x23cm (or thereabouts) baking tin lightly. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and arrange the balls on the tray. Cover and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
8.) While the buns are rising preheat your oven to 200ºC. Prepare the paste by mixing the flour and water together until smooth.
9.) Use a small piping bag (or a sandwich bag with one corner snipped off) to pipe the flour paste over the top of the buns to form crosses. Pop the tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden. You can also check whether the buns are ready by tapping them on the base – they should sound hollow.
10.) Melt the apricot jam in the microwave or a small saucepan and brush over the warm buns. Serve fresh from the oven with butter and jam, or (my favourite) toasted.