Not Just for Easter – Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Ok, so I’m a little late for Easter but I’m firmly believe that these little delights shouldn’t be limited to just one weekend a year.  FYI, I apply the same rule to pancakes which I would quite happily eat every single day!

So, what am I rambling about.  Why, Chocolate Hot Cross Buns of course!  I first acquired a love of these moreish chocolatey treats on a trip to see the Mullen’s in Brisbane.  It would be fair to say that “wine time” and Brumbie’s Chocolate Hot Cross Buns were an integral part of the trip.

I digress… again!

So, a few weeks ago I was perusing the Sainsbury’s magazine and happened across a recipe for Chocolate Hot Cross Buns.  Not only were they chocolate, they were a “cheats” version!  Perfect!  I’ve toyed with making HCBs for long time, but have always been put off by all the faff.  This version was perfect for me.

Now, I say perfect, there were a few changes that had to be made – the removal of the fruit bits and bobs!  I am in no way anti-raisin!  In fact I quiet like a raisin and my rabbit adores them.  But, I don’t understand the need for them to be in everything! I’m not even going to mention candied fruit or mixed peel…..  So I removed the fruit and upped the chocolate!

You can find the original recipe here.

And here is my version:

Ingredients:

1 x 500g pack Wright’s premium white bread mix
50g soft butter, in pieces
100g light brown soft sugar
3 tsp ground mixed spice
250ml warm (not hot) milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
200g (about) dark chocolate, chopped
plain flour, for dusting (if needed)

For the crosses and glaze:
3 tbsp plain flour
75g caster sugar

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and rub it in using your fingers. Just like making pastry but don’t expect such a “breadcrumb” consistency – you’re not using enough butter to get that effect.

Add the sugar and mixed spice making sure it is mixed well.

Pop your milk on to heat – it only has to be warm so will take no time at all.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, then pour in the warm milk and beaten egg. Now, add the chocolate and, using a large spoon first, then your hands, bring the mixture together to make the dough.

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Knead the dough for 10 minutes, either by hand or in a food mixer using a dough hook.  I dust with quite a lot of flour as the dough is very sticky.  But be patient and careful, a little at a time.

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Once it has been kneaded, cut your dough into 12 pieces as evenly as possible and roll into balls.  Pop these into your pre buttered and lined baking dish.

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Cover with a damp cloth – I try to make sure I don’t bend the paper inward with the cloth.  These bad boys of buns really rise!  Then the buns in a warm place to rise for 2 hours – they’ll be springy and massive so you’ll know they’re done!

Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7.

Now for the Crosses – mix the flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water to make a paste, transfer it to a piping bag and pipe across the length and width of each bun to form a cross.

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Bake the buns for 25 mins – I have a fan oven so you may need a little longer if you don’t.

I make the glaze while the buns still have 5minutes left in the oven. Gently heat the sugar and 3 tablespoons of water together in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved.

Once the buns are cooked, put the cooked buns to a wire cooling rack – paper removed – and brush with the glaze; leave to cool.

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Lushness!  They are more bread roll-y than a usual hot cross bun, but still divine.  I also cannot deny that part of the joy for me was finding out how the crosses are made!  Don’t restrict yourselves to crosses the world is now your bun – go forth and bake!

Boo xx

Chocolate HCB

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