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Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

Delicious and decadent Hot Cross Buns with chocolate chips! These buns are subtly spiced and generously studded with chocolate, making them the perfect Easter treats. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

Ingredients

For the Hot Cross Buns

For the crosses

For the glaze

Instructions

Making the dough

  1. Combine the milk, butter, orange zest, cardamom pods, cloves and brown sugar in a small saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Leave the milk mixture to cool until it is lukewarm (about 37°C or 98°F).
  3. Remove the cardamom pods and cloves.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground ginger and salt.
  5. Slowly mix the milk mixture into the flour mixture.
  6. Add one egg at a time.
  7. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is elastic in texture. If you have an electric stand mixer, you can knead the dough using the dough hook for about 10-12 minutes on medium speed.
  8. Lightly oil a large bowl.
  9. Place the dough into the bowl, cover with a teatowel, and leave it to prove in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. I like to do this in an oven at 50°C or 120°F.

Shaping the buns

  1. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it back with your fist to release some of the air.
  2. Add the chocolate chips.
  3. Gently knead the dough into a smooth ball. Don’t worry if you are unable to incorporate all of the chocolate chips into the dough at this stage.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. I like to weigh the whole dough, divide the weight by 12, and then weigh each portion of dough as I form them.
  5. Roll each portion of dough into a ball and place them on a tray lined with baking paper. This step gives you another chance to incorporate the chocolate chips into the dough.
  6. Cover the balls of dough with a tea towel, and return the tray to a warm place to prove for 30 minutes or until the balls of dough have slightly risen.
  7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). If you have been using the oven to prove the buns, make sure you have taken them out of the oven by this step!
  8. To make the crosses, mix together the flour and water until you have a thick paste.
  9. Fill a small piping bag with the paste, or a small plastic bag and snip off the corner.
  10. Pipe a cross onto each bun. I do this by piping a line horizontally across all of the buns, and then vertically.

Baking the Hot Cross Buns

  1. Bake the buns for 25-30 minutes, or until they are golden.
  2. Meanwhile, make the glaze by heating the water and sugar together in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Brush the glaze over the buns as soon as you take them out of the oven.
  4. Serve the hot cross buns warm or cold.

Kitchen Notes

DIFFERENT TYPES OF YEAST
* Please note that there is a difference between instant yeast (also called instant dried yeast or fast-action dried yeast) and dried yeast (also called active dry yeast). If you are not sure what type of yeast you have, please check the packaging for instructions on how to use the yeast.
* With instant yeast, you can add it directly to the flour mixture without having to activate it first.
* If you do not have instant yeast, I would suggest using the same amount of dried yeast. In which case, omit the milk from the first step, and instead warm it separately until it is blood temperature (about 37°C or 98°F). Add the dried yeast to the warm milk and set it aside for about 5 minutes until it is frothy. Add this yeast mixture in step 6 when you are also mixing in the butter mixture. As a guide, please refer to my recipe for Fruit Loaf to see the steps involved in using dried yeast.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLOUR
* Bread flour contains 11-13% protein content, which is required to develop more gluten in the dough, which in turn gives yeasted bread a nice, chewy texture.
* If you do not have strong white bread flour, plain flour (all-purpose flour) also works well in this recipe. The texture will be a little softer and less bread-like, but the difference is otherwise not very noticeable.
* For Swiss readers, I use Zopfmehl (or farine pour tresse) when making bread and enriched dough.

PROOFING THE DOUGH
Dough needs a warm environment for the yeast to activate and cause the dough to rise. If you don’t have a warm place in your home, try one of the following ideas:
* In the oven with the oven light switched on (works only for some ovens).
* In the oven with a tray of boiling water on the bottom shelf.
* In the oven at a low temperature of about 25-30°C (77-86°F).
* On the open oven door, with the oven turned on at 100°C (212°F).

MAKING SMALLER BUNS FOR KIDS
This recipe produces 12 large buns. You could also divide the dough into 15 portions to produce slightly smaller buns which are more kid-friendly.

CHOCOLATE & ORANGE
If you are fan of the combination of chocolate and orange, add the zest of 1 orange to the milk mixture.

STORAGE
Hot Cross Buns are best eaten the day they are made. Any leftover hot cross buns can be stored in the freezer and toasted before serving.

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.