HOT CROSS BUNS, one a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns! Anyone else remember singing that as a child?? … just me maybe haha 😉 My dad might be the biggest Hot Cross Bun fan ever, every year I make a batch and they never seem to last very long! However we do have an ongoing dilemma in our house … to butter or not to butter, that is the question?! Personally I think a toasted Hot Cross Bun with butter is simply delicious and a treat I could eat all day long! However, my dad believes this to be a crime against the Hot Cross Bun… which camp are you in? Answers on a postcard haha 😉
To be honest though, whichever way you prefer to devour your Easter tea time treat it will always taste super scrummy, and this recipe is no different! I like to mix up the classics sometimes and this recipe is based on the master of all things baking, Mr Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Bun recipe for deliciousness 😊 I’ve made a few chocolately changes to the original and this new version of the classic is SOOO good, I promise they won’t last long in your house either!!
These buns turned out so well, softly spiced dough with a pop of fruitygoodness and chocolate delight – the three proving sessions really help to make the final bake really light, no stodgy dough here!! They’re also smaller than the usual Hot Cross Bun but with all the flavour and just as mouth-wateringly good as their larger counterparts!
The orange peel and zest really compliments the chocolate chips as well, which was my obvious plan as I’m in love with this combo! ❤️ Plus, chocolate at Easter is a must, right?! If however you have over dosed on chocolate and were looking for something fruity, feel free to leave the chocolate chips out 🙂 OR do half and half – best of both worlds!
500g strong white bread flour
7g fast action yeast
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
50g chocolate chips
1 large orange
125g mixed fruit
1tsp mixed spice
3tbsp apricot jam
75g plain flour (for the crosses!)
1 – Heat the milk and butter in the microwave for 1 minute, you just want the temperature to melt the butter and then cool to around body temp at 37C.
2 – Put the strong white flour, yeast, salt, sugar into a bowl – be careful to put the salt and yeast at opposite ends as the salt will effectively kill the yeast. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and about half of the cooled milk. Using your one hand, shape it like a claw and turn like a mixer. It sounds odd but it works to bring it all together. Keep adding the milk gradually, don’t feel the need to add it all. It is a wet and sticky dough but it shouldn’t be watery – use your judgement on when to stop.
Top tip: If you find the dough is too wet use extra flour when kneading. If you find the dough is too dry when out the bowl kneading, sprinkle daps of warm water onto the dough and knead, also try to use the flour sparingly when kneading.
3 – Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you poke the dough and it springs back – it might not spring back all the way but this is fine. Place in a slightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise/prove for about 1 hour in a warm place. It won’t have completely doubled in size but it will have grown!
4 – Whilst it’s rising mix the fruit, chocolate chips, spices, orange zest and 2 tbsp of the juice together and set aside. Once the dough has risen add in the fruit mix and knead to ensure an even spread of the fruit etc. Place back into the bowl, seal with cling film and leave to rise again for 1hr.
Top Tip: My warm place for proving is either near the tumble dryer or in the top oven when i’m baking something in the lower oven. It needs to be warm so the yeast will activate and grow but not too warm so it overheats and dies.
5 – Prepare two baking sheets and line with greaseproof paper. Once the dough has risen again, roll into balls weighing about 40-45g or feel free to make larger buns! Place the balls on the baking sheet far enough apart so they can rise again but close enough so they will just touch so you can achieve the torn apart distinctive look of a hot cross bun. Now for the final rise, lay a clean tea towel over the buns and leave to rise for another 1 hour.
6 – Preheat the oven to 200C. To make the crosses mix the plain flour with about 5 tbsp of water. Whisk when so it just has a dropping consistency but is thick enough to pipe. Fill the piping bag and once the dough has risen for the final time pipe the crosses onto the buns. Make long lines across all the buns. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown,
7 – Heat the apricot jam in the microwave for 30 seconds. As soon as the buns come out of the oven cover them with the warm jam using a pastry brush. Leave to cool and then tear apart and enjoy!
The buns will last about 1 -2 days in an airtight container.
Happy Easter!! ❤