There are just some aromas that make me go fuzzy in the head…and the aroma of freshly baked hot cross buns is one of them! How can I describe it….it is spicy, fruity and most of all it has a certain warmth that is comforting.
I love this time of year and my annual hot cross bun tasting is one of the highlights. I have to say that there is nothing that can beat a home-made one….after many rock hard buns, I have perfected my recipe. There are so many different recipes and debates….strong bread flour vs cake flour….dried yeast or fresh yeast…..cinnamon or nutmeg…or maybe even both!
I love the traditional buns, extra spicy of course but much to my disappointment….my kids hate raisins so it was back to the mixing bowl with a few new ideas. A few very expensive experiments led to my own creation….Choc Chip and Cranberry Hot Cross Buns! Life is too short to scrimp on chocolate – I used Lindt 70% in this recipe.
My kids are delighted with this creation and so are the grown ups! I have been asked by Mr Ainley, the headmaster of my kid’s school, to make a few batches of these for break up day which I am sure will be a treat for the teachers.
Here is the recipe:
Cranberry and Chocolate Hot Cross BunsMakes 24 buns
60g fresh yeast250ml warm water2000ml cake flour
Pinch of salt40ml mixed spice10ml ground cinnamon
5ml ground nutmeg
120ml sugar80g butter200g dried cranberries200g Lindt dark chocolate, 70% cocoaPaste for crosses
120ml cake flour5ml sugar75 – 80ml cold waterApricot jam, to glaze
Here’s how:Place the yeast, 20ml flour, 10ml sugar and the warm water in a small bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves. Leave in a warm place until bubbles appear and the mixture looks frothy. If the yeast does not foam and form bubbles, throw out the mixture as the yeast is not active.Sift the flour and spices into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles crumbs.Add the cranberries and chopped chocolate.Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and 450ml warm water to make a soft dough.Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Add a little flour if the dough is too sticky.Roll the dough into a ball and return to the mixing bowl. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for 35 – 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Knead the dough lightly to deflate and divide into 24 equal portions.Roll each portion into a smooth ball and place on a lined baking tray. Place the balls close together so they are just touching the next.Spray a piece of plastic wrap with non stick spray and cover the baking tray to prevent the dough from drying out. Cover the buns loosely so they have room to once again double in size.Mix the cake flour, sugar and cold water to make a thick paste. Place the paste mix in a piping bag and pipe crosses on the buns.Warm apricot jam with a little hot water in an AMC taster pan to make the glaze. Brush the warm hot cross buns with the glaze. Leave to cool on a wire rack.