Somehow it doesn’t really feel like Easter until I’ve had hot cross buns. That particular blend of cinnamon and mixed spice wafting through the house and the snug pleasure of knowing you get to crawl out of a warm bed and dive into a buttery hot cross bun with a cup of steaming coffee… oh, friends. I wish this for you.
I’ve written before about my long-standing prejudice against raisins, so for me, it has to be chocolate and spice. I did use dark chocolate in this batch, but I used milk chocolate in another batch that never made it in front of the camera, and I have to say that even though I’m an eternal dark chocolate fan, the milk works better in this recipe and gives them some balance.
Sensible folk could quite rightly wonder why these buns ended up in a muffin tin, and ok, I admit it wasn’t something I actually planned. But I’ve been reading a bit about getting the right rise out of breads, and one of the points made on a few baking blogs is that a wide container that doesn’t support the sides will result in a flatter (though no less lovely) loaf. I wanted high-rise, and it seemed like my baking tray was going to be too large, so the muffin tray stepped in to save the day.
Afterwards, my sister named them muffy buns and we laughed ourselves silly. And really, I can’t think of a better way to welcome Easter in the door.
Happy Easter, everyone!
Chocolate hot cross buns (makes 12, adapted from BBC Good Food)
For the buns:
400g plain flour
1 x 7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
65g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp mixed spice
1½ tsp cinnamon
250ml warm milk
50g melted butter
1 medium egg
100g chocolate chips (see note above)
For the crosses:
1 tsp sugar
4-5 tbsp water
For the glaze:
1 tbsp apricot jam
Put the flour, spices and sugar into a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other.
Pour the milk, egg and butter into the centre of the well and begin mixing. It will form a strongly sticky dough. Keep kneading the dough for ten minutes.
Add the chocolate chips and knead them in until worked through.
Cut the dough into twelve equal portions. Lightly score the tops in a cross shape and place into an oiled container. Cover with cling film.
Leave to rise until doubled in size. In my cool kitchen this took about 2 hours.
Make the paste for the crosses. Spoon into a piping bag (I used a plastic ziplock) and pipe over the buns into the cross shape.
Transfer to a well-greased muffin tray and bake at 200C for 20 minutes.
When they come out of the oven, mix the apricot jam with a tiny bit of hot water, then brush over the top of the buns.