Hot Cross Buns are a favourite for Easter, although generally the ones you find in the shops aren’t great at all (although Good Housekeeping have rates Tesco’s as number one this year), plus… raisins.
Homemade Chocolate Chip Hot Cross buns are a whole other story – they still have the delicious spiced hot cross bun flavour that comes from orange zest and cinnamon, but they’re packed full of milk and white chocolate chips too, for a more indulgent and grown up Easter treat.
Is there anything in the world that isn’t improved by the addition of chocolate chips? The answer is no.
Making these Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns is super simple, but a little time consuming with all the proving, so if you want them to be ready for Saturday morning brunch, start making them on the Friday evening and let them have their second prove in the fridge overnight. You’ll have fresh hot cross buns in no time!
- 300ml whole milk, plus 2 tbsp more
- 50g butter
- 500g strong bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 95g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 75g plain flour
- 5 tbsp water
- 50g milk chocolate chips
- 50g white chocolate chips
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until bubbles appear and it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and and then drop the butter into the pan straight away, and let it melt.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine your flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Stir the milk and butter - it should now be combined. Pour the milk butter mixture into the flour, and then add your egg. Stir with a wooden spoon and everything should come together into a sticky dough.
- Tip out onto a clean surface with plenty of flour, and knead for five minutes. At first it will seem difficult, as the dough is very sticky, but as you knead, the dough will become smoother and more elastic. Pop into a large oiled bowl, and cover in clingfilm (tightly). Leave to prove in a warm place with no draughts for 1 hour.
- Once the hour is up, pour your chocolate chips into the bowl along with the dough, and knead the dough (still in the bowl) to incorporate the chips. At first, lots of them will fall out, but keep going and they'll all get mixed in. Re-cover with the clingfilm and leave to prove for another hour.
- Alternatively, pop into the fridge overnight at this point to bake the hot cross buns the next morning - just ensure you take them out around an hour before you want to bake them.
- After the second prove, prepare a large baking tray covered with parchment paper and divide your dough into 14 roughly even pieces. On a clean surface, roll each segment of dough until it forms a smooth bowl (kneading each one a little helps, so that the dough becomes sticky). Put onto your tray in a square formation, with a couple of centimetres between each bun.
- Cover the buns with clingfilm or a tea towel, and leave for their final prove for another hour.
- Prehat your oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the 75g plain flour with enough water until it forms a thick but pipable paste - this will form the crosses on your buns!
- Just before the buns are ready to go into the oven, fill a piping bag (I prefer to use a sandwich bag, then cut off the tip) with the flour paste, and draw crosses on your buns - if your buns are lined up, you can do a long line one way and then the other.
- Pop into the oven for 20 minutes - the middle or bottom shelf is the best place for them. Towards the end of the cooking time, peel your buns of the parchment paper, and turn them upside down on the tray to allow the base to get nice and cooked through.
- Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack. Best eaten within a couple of days.
Try dark chocolate and fresh ginger, or dark chocolate with chilli for more fun twists on the traditional hot cross bun!