I know there’s nothing ground-breaking about baking hot cross buns for Easter, but I’ve never made them so I get a free pass on innovation this week. Plus, they’ve got chocolate in them, so they must be good! The thing I liked most about making this recipe is that I got to test out the dough hooks on my new hand mixer. I’m happy to report that they did a great job and saved me 5 minutes of hand kneading! These buns taste like, well, hot cross buns — like a spiced tea cake meeting a chocolate chip loaf.
I hope everyone has a fantastic Easter weekend, whether you observe or not. I’m still trying to adapt to the UK tradition of buying everyone large hollow chocolate eggs filled with mini candy bars. Maybe it’s changed since I was a child, but in Canada we always got solid/hollow chocolate bunnies with creepy candy eyes that you always ate first… and the foil eggs, of course. Our dog once stole a couple of low-lying eggs; there was glittery foil in the snow for weeks. On that note, here is the recipe adapted from Simply Delicious by Alida Ryder.
I halved the recipe and made a dozen buns.
10g. dry active yeast
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
dash of salt
25g. butter, melted
1 large egg, whisked
125ml whole milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup sultanas
For the crosses:
2.5 tbsp. flour
3-4 tbsp. water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, spices, and salt in a bowl and mix until combined.
In a Pyrex jug, whisk together the melted butter, egg, and milk, and then pour into the dry ingredients.
Mix until a sticky, soft dough forms. Use your stand mixer, or hand mixer with dough hooks and knead for 5 minutes. Alternatively, hand knead on a floured surface.
Cover the dough in the bowl with cling film and let rise for 1 hour.
Knead in sultanas and chocolate and cover with cling film again and let rise for a further 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Form dough balls roughly the size of golf balls and place close together on the tray (I should’ve placed mine closer).
Mix together the flour and water and pipe crosses onto the buns.
Allow to rise for another 30 minutes, and then place in the pre-heated oven.
Bake for 25 minutes until the buns are golden brown.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
When the buns are baked, remove from the oven and immediately brush generously with the glaze.
Serve with butter or clotted cream.