Easter is now behind us and I hope you spent time quality with your family. To keep the festive spirit alive, I am sharing this recipe I came across in one of my favorite magazines, Gourmet Traveller: Choc-cross buns, a chocolate version of the classic Hot cross buns. I made it on Easter Monday (a grey day in Paris, ideal to spend time in the kitchen), and that was my perfect dose of chocolate. It is not a quick process but quite easy to make and the smell in the kitchen is just divine! If you happen to have leftovers out of the 12 buns, you can freeze them and they make a great addition to your everyday breakfast or weekend brunch.
I made a few small changes to the original recipe: I cut down the cinnamon as I am not a huge fan and used candied bigarade (small bitter orange) from the Greek brand Iamvi I had in my fridge. So have a go at it and enjoy!
Prep time: 20 + 5 min / Cooking time: 20 min / Resting time: 1h + 40 min
Make 12 buns
60 g caster sugar
40 g cocoa powder, sieved
10 g dried yeast
2 tsp ground cinnamon
520 g plain flour
300 ml milk
70 gm butter, coarsely chopped
80 g sultanas
100 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
40 g candied bigarade, diced
1 tsp of salt
½ tsp sunflower oil
50 ml cold water
60 g caster sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Combine sugar, cocoa, yeast, cinnamon, 450g of the flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low speed to combine. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts, cool to lukewarm, then whisk in egg. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes; dough will be quite soft). Add sultanas, chocolate and candied orange, knead to combine, then transfer dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (50 minutes to 1 hour).
- Knock back dough, divide into 12 even pieces, then roll each into a smooth ball. Arrange in three rows of four on a large baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving approx. 1.5cm between each for ball to expand. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 220 °C (430 °F). Stir remaining flour, sunflower oil and 50 ml cold water, adding a little more water if necessary to achieve a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 180 °C (350 °F) and bake for another 8-10 mins or until buns are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped (or when their bottom is springy). Do not open the oven door during the baking.
- For cinnamon glaze, stir sugar, cinnamon and 50ml water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to a simmer, then cool briefly to thicken a little (5 minutes). Brush warm buns with glaze and serve.
Note: I have put my dough to rise in closed oven at about 50°C (120 °F) max.