Happy Easter everyone! Did you know that it is entirely acceptable to eat hot cross buns for breakfast, afternoon tea and dessert during the week of Easter? Jokes aside, I am not a religious person at all, but I do enjoy Easter for many reasons such as the cool crisp mornings, easter eggs, hot cross buns and our Good Friday tradition of joining some friends for DFM’s spit roast. We missed out last year as we were in Singapore, so I am especially looking forward to it this year. And there may be a whole suckling pig *excited*
I made these chocolate and orange hot cross buns at the end of last week and they were delicious! We enjoyed them so much that I made another half batch this week with more traditional sultana and spiced flavours. That’s the beauty of this recipe, once you have the base, you can change up the add-ins for any kind of flavours that you feel like. I’m thinking apple and cinnamon or cranberries instead of sultanas. Or you know, just try these orange and chocolate ones!
As is usually the case with breads, you will need some rising and proving time to make these, but they are honestly very easy otherwise. If you are a first time bread baker, feel free to read my other bread posts here as they all have some basic information and hints which helped me when I first started making breads.
I had to go to three supermarkets to find bread flour! Perhaps all of Canberra was making hot cross buns for Easter :)
Activate your yeast by stirring it into warmed milk.
If the yeast doesn’t froth up and smell a bit like beer then it may be off or no longer active.
I love the flavour of chocolate and orange together. I used milk chocolate chips but dark chocolate would be lovely too.
This was my first time using the dough hook on my electric mixer to knead. I was very pleased with the results. You can definitely still knead this dough by hand though, it will just take a bit longer.
Lightly oil the edges of the bowl, then cover it and put it somewhere warm. In Singapore finding ‘somewhere warm’ was never an issue, comparatively, the kitchen in our Canberra home definitely has a cooler ambient temperature at this time of year (thank goodness) A nice warm spot could be in a window that has sunlight streaming through, or in your oven with everything turned off except for the light. According to this site, the ideal temperature for bread to rise is between 27°C and 32°C, but I’ve had great results with temperatures as low as 23°C. Perhaps it just takes longer at that temperature?
Never fear, it clearly worked! You want the dough to at least double in size. At a temperature of around 23°C this took just over an hour.
Portion the dough into 12 equal buns and pop them into an oven proof dish to let them prove a little further. You’ll need a dish or cake tine that measures approximately 22cm x 33cm.
If you have scales, I highly recommend using them to weigh out equal portions. I made these before our stuff from Singapore had arrived, so I didn’t have access to any digital scales. You can clearly see here that mine were fairly equal, but I only made 10, which meant they were a little too big. 12 would have been the perfect size.
The glaze on the buns will give them a lovely burnished colour. I eschew the traditional cross, as it is just made from flour and water and is flavourless in my opinion. Some lovely melted chocolate crosses will do the trick if you want them to have the crosses but also have some flavour :)
Studded with chocolate chips, candied peel and orange scented from the orange zest.
You know these babies are going to be delicious halved and slathered in butter.
Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Buns
Ingredients – Makes 12 Buns
For the Yeast Mix
- 1½ cups of milk
- ¼ cup of fine white sugar
- 2 tbs of dry instant yeast
For the Buns
- 4¼ cups of bread flour plus additional plain for dusting
- 50g of unsalted butter, melted
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup of fine white sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- ¾ cup of candied mixed peel
- ¾ cup of milk chocolate chips
For the Glaze
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbs of thin cream
For the Crosses
- 75g of milk chocolate
- Add the milk and ¼ cup of sugar to a microwave safe jug or bowl. Stir well and then microwave for around 10-20 seconds or until the milk reaches 40°C.
- Stir the yeast into the warmed milk mix and then set aside for 10 minutes or until the yeast froths up and activates.
- In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your electric mixer, lightly mix together all of the ingredients for the buns. Once the yeast mix has activated, add that too and mix together until everything is just starting to come together.
- Knead the dough on a floured bench for 10 minutes by hand, or alternatively, knead using the dough hook on an electric mixer for 5 minutes.
- Oil the same large mixing bowl lightly and let the dough rise in it, loosely covered and in a warm place, for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, line an ovenproof dish (approximately 22cm x 33cm) with baking paper. Then knock back the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface.
- Knead gently and shape the dough into 12 equal buns, weighing for accuracy if required. Place the buns into the prepared dish, then loosely cover and set aside to prove in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
- When the buns have almost finished their proving time, preheat the oven to 180°C then make the glaze by whisking together the egg yolk and cream.
- Once the buns have finished proving, glaze them and then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
- Let the buns cool in the dish for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack and cooling for 30 minutes or until completely cooled.
- Once the buns have cooled, melt the chocolate to make the crosses. Add the melted chocolate to a piping bag and then pipe the crosses onto the buns.
- Best eaten on the same day as made, or frozen and reheated as needed.