There’s something very satisfying about kneading a lump of dough, the rhythm, the thoughts that follow. I find it very satisfying, I also find making bread or in this case a sweetened bread I find it a bit daunting. So that’s why I’ve made a promise to myself to start baking a bit more of these kinds of breads, not only to gain experience but also to learn all about it.
Hot Cross Buns are a classic British bun eaten around Easter time and are very traditional with many variations available. I’ve made the more common variety before with dried fruits in, such as my Currant Flecked Hot Cross Buns .. but this recipe has a slight twist, whilst not being too much of a radicle change. Instead of using raisins or currants, I used dark chocolate chips. This variation is child friendly, in the sense that they help you make them and also I think they’ll prefer a chocolaty bun over a fruited one.
When it comes to bread I’m pretty much clueless. I’ve learnt a few lessons such along the way such as not to over stuff your dough with things, as everything will fall out and you’ll be left with a mess and wasted ingredients and also to knead in your additions in smaller portions, not all at once. I actually applied this lesson whilst folding in the chocolate chips for these buns. Instead of just chucking them all onto the dough and trying to knead them all in at once, I sprinkles a handful at time and kneaded one batch in thoroughly before adding the next, patience is key.
These hot cross buns aren’t a huge task to make, I made them in one morning as you don’t need to leave them for hours and hours to rise. One hour for the first rise then 20-30 minutes, depending how warm your room is for the final rise. The warmest place in our house is our bathroom, believe it or not, so I left them in there to get nice and puffy. I always get nervous when waiting for dough to rise as I’ve had problems in the past with things not rising, therefor turning out to be a disastrous recipe and a tough as boots bread resulting from it.
These Dark Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns turned out wonderfully. They are gently spiced with mixed spice and cinnamon which you know goes lovely together. I didn’t brush them with jam as we wanted to enjoy them toasted and the recipe suggests not to add it if you plan on toasting them.
I’m very pleased with how these turned out, light, airy, packed full of melty dark chocolate chips and subtly spiced. You have to one warm from the oven and if you can’t wait, like my boyfriend couldn’t, as soon as they come out of the oven pop one in the fridge or freezer, it quickens the cooling process so you won’t burn yourself.
Dark Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
Tradational raisins have been swapped for dark chocolate chips in these favourite Easter treats.
- 400 grams Strong white bread flour
- 7 grams Sachet fast action yeast
- 50 grams Golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp Mixed spice
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 large Egg
- 250 ml Warm milk
- 50 grams Unsalted butter melted
- 100 grams Dark chocolate chips
- 60 grams Plain flour
1. In a large mixing bowl place the strong white bread flour, yeast, 50 grams golden caster sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon and the egg. Make a well in the centre and add the milk and melted butter, then stir together with a form until it starts coming together, finishing kneaded it with your hands then transfer to a clean, light floured work surface.
2. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until it's soft and smooth. It will be very very sticky and you may think that it won't come together but it, just keep kneading it and eventually it's become smooth. Place in a clean, lightly greased bowl place, cover with clingfilm and a clean tea towel over the top and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Tip the dough onto a light floured surface and roll out until you've got a medium-sized rectangle. Sprinkle some chocolate chips over and knead these through. Again, roll out the dough a little and sprinkle more chocolate chips and knead them into the dough. Continue to do this until all the chocolate chips have been kneaded into the dough.
4. Weigh the dough, then divide this number by eight. Portion out the dough into 8, even weighted pieces and form into a ball. Place on a greased baking tray, in two rows or four. Make sure they are evenly spaced apart as they will spread a bit as they rise and bake. Cover again with clingfilm and a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes or until the buns have increased in size. Pre-heat the oven to 180C .
5. Once they have risen, in a small bowl mix together the 60 grams (1/2 cup) plain flour along with the 1 teaspoon golden caster sugar and 4-5 tablespoons of water or until you've got a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag, snip of the end and pipe crosses onto the buns.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool enough to eat.
- Recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine.
- These are best eaten on the day they are made, but will still taste good, toasted the next day.
- Keep in a cool, dry place in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid.