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Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

I love the smell of hot cross buns and raisin toast… although the only problem with these is my dislike for raisins and sultanas and other dried fruits. Luckily there are chocolate chip hot cross buns sold at many shops now, which have the lovely spices, without the fruit and with the addition of chocolate. Yum! Around Easter time, I would normally buy a packet a week, eat a few, freeze some, take some to work… and best of all, cut them open, toast and put a little butter on top…

What’s better than store bought ones – Fresh Home-made Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns!! These are the best (almost) straight out of the oven, or at least on the same day as baking. The next day they are already not as fresh, and probably require being heated and/or toasted under the grill, with the addition of butter (if you so wish).

I thought I’d share this recipe before the Easter weekend for anyone wanting to make them. If the thought of waking up and smelling fresh fragrant hot cross buns sounds appealing and the thought of actually making them after waking up doesn’t sound as appealing – I’ve gone to the effort to test whether the mixture can be made the night before, with the second rising of dough done overnight in the fridge. The results: they did not rise as much as I had hoped overnight, maybe half the amount the normal batch did (not sure whether I was supposed to let it rise before putting in the fridge). After baking in the morning, they still hadn’t risen as much as the normal buns, although they had the same lovely flavour and texture – so I would recommend it if you are low on time for the morning.

Enjoy and have a great Easter long weekend!

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
(Recipe from Woman’s Day [1])

Makes: 9 buns

150 ml milk, warmed
8g sachet (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g butter, chopped
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 egg

Crosses
1-2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons water

Glaze
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Preheat oven to hot, 200°C. Lightly grease a 22cm square cake pan.
In a medium jug, combine milk, yeast and sugar. Leave in a warm place for 5-10 minutes, until mixture is frothy.

Activated yeast

Sift flour and cinnamon into a large bowl. Using fingertips, rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir through chocolate chips and sugar.

Whisk egg into yeast mixture. Add to flour mixture and mix to form a soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Smooth dough

Place in lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Wait until it's doubled in size

Punch dough down once with fist to release gas. Knead lightly. Divide dough into 9 equal pieces. Knead each piece until smooth. Shape into rounds. Arrange in pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and stand 20 minutes, in a warm place, until doubled in size.

Buns that have risen - you could certainly leave it to rise for a bit longer

Crosses: in a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa and water to create a smooth paste. Pipe crosses on buns. Bake 12-15 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped.

Glaze: in a small saucepan, combine water and sugar. Stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes, until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil, without stirring. Reduce heat and simmer 1-2 minutes, until mixture thickens slightly. Brush over hot buns. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Toasted under the grill and serve with some butter