One of the first things I baked for this blog were a big batch of ginger and pear hot cross buns and it was really sunny outside, a little chilly, but the sun was still doing its thing. Almost a year later, on a day much like that, I’m making another load of buns but these ones are chocolate-y because y’know, Easter. I actually read through that past last year and scoffed, actually laughed to myself, because on that post I write how I’m not big on chocolate. I KNOW, RIGHT? I was clearly in denial, I’ve always loved it but I just didn’t want to face eating it. Is that just the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard, or is that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?
Ironically, now I’m working in a chocolate shop, I can’t get enough of the stuff and I eat it on a daily basis, in fact it’s a whole new food group. No regrets. Not in the slightest.
I stay true to my world that milk chocolate isn’t my favourite, I don’t HATE it obviously but I think I’m perhaps a bit of a purist. The darker, the better. However I know that these have got to suit the tastes of everyone and not just my own so I’ve kept it at a 70% but a Madagascan would sit well here as it’s naturally quite fruity, complimenting the cranberries and sultanas wonderfully.
Easter isn’t Easter without a small mountain of hot cross buns so to fit in as many as possible I’ve lessened the quantity of ingredients and made them a little smaller. Probably best, as the melting middles are very indulgent!
- 1 cup strong bread flour
- 3/4 cup wholemeal flour
- 7g dried yeast
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon of homemade spice mix, including cirtrus peel, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and cocoa shell
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup sultanas
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 40g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 80ml warm water
- 70% dark chocolate, or whatever you prefer
- 1 whisked egg, to glaze
FOR THE CROSSES
- 70% dark chocolate, roughly 3 large squares
- 1 teaspoons hazelnut chocolate spread
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1) In a bowl, add the flour, yeast, sugar, spice mix, cinnamon, sultanas, cranberries, butter, salt and water and mix until combined.
2) Knead into a ball and leave to rest for 15 minutes in an oiled bowl or covered with a damp towel.
3) Once the 15 minutes is up, stretch out the dough and knead into a ball and leave covered for a further half an hour.
4) Cut dough into 7 equal rounds. Flatten slightly and lay a large square of chocolate in each. Fold and pinch in the edges and roll into a ball. Repeat with the remaining and then leave to rest for 1 hour, uncovered, on a parchment lined tray
5) Preheat the oven to 190C.
6) Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. When baked, leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
7) To make the crosses, melt together the chocolate chunks, chocolate spread and the butter in a bowl over a simmering pan of water. Make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water! Mix until smooth and remove from the heat. Cool before painting over the cooled buns.
These are best served warm so heat them up a bit before tucking in!