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Hot Cross Buns With A Twist!

Small spiced buns filled with currents and fruit and with that distinctive white cross on the top… That’s a hot cross bun, and for many of us, that means Easter.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns and their link with Easter have been around since Tudor times. It was illegal to eat these yummy delicacies at any time of the year other than on Good Friday (although you could, if you wanted, serve them at funerals too!), so they became something to really look forward to in the spring time.

Now we’ve reached the 21st century, hot cross buns are just as popular as ever, and putting a modern twist on a traditional recipe is something that many bakers find exciting – and so do we, especially when those new recipes also include another Easter favourite: chocolate!

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

The chocolate chips in this recipe bring a bit of indulgence to the traditional hot cross bun and they’re great to bake with if you aren’t too fond of raisins and sultanas. The orange brings a delicious zesty and fresh addition and makes these buns the perfect breakfast treat with coffee. Each bun also has a lovely mix of spice – the recipe includes a little bit of mixed spice and ground cinnamon.

Ingredients
(makes 12 buns)

Dough

500g plain flour

80g unsalted butter or margarine

7g fast action dried yeast (1 standard packet)

60g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large free-range egg

100g milk chocolate chips – or the same amount of dark or white chocolate chips

Zest from 1 large orange

180ml milk, warmed + extra if needed

Crosses

75g plain flour

75ml water

Sugar syrup

80g caster sugar

3 tbsp water

Method:

  1. To make the dough: Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the yeast, sugar and salt, spices and mix to combine fully. Add the egg and milk and mix to form a sticky dough.
  1. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is soft and elasticated. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  1. Once doubled in size remove from the bowl and knead the chocolate chips and orange zest into the dough. Divide the dough into 12 equally sized portions (you want to be as precise as you can now). Shape into rounds and then place on a lined 23cm (9-inch) deep baking dish. Space the pieces of dough apart from each other so they have room to rise and join up. Cover again and leave somewhere warm until doubled in size and all joined up – this should take about 40-60 minutes (but it can take longer depending on the temperature of your surrounding).
  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC / 400ºF / gas mark 6. Make the flour paste by combining the flour and water together until thick and a piping consistency. Fill a small piping bag, fitted with a small round nozzle. Pipe the cross design on each risen bun. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and fragrant. Make the glaze by dissolving the sugar and water in a small saucepan and just allowing it to boil. Brush the top of each bun with the glaze and leave to set.
  1. Serve warm and toasted with lashings of butter and chocolate spread!

Recipe reproduced with permission from Jessica Creed www.whatjessicabakednext.com

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