A delicious twist on the Hot Cross Buns you know and love.
So the Christmas tree is barely taken down and the baubles packed away before, guess what? It’s Easter. At least that’s what you’d think with all the Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs lining the shop shelves. Oh, and I just made that resolution to get fit. Dang it!
You know, I’m not really a fan of the way they bring out all this stuff 2 months before the celebration has even arrived. I still to this day will not buy any Hot Cross Buns until we are about 2 weeks away from Easter. I think I’m scared that if I eat too many or too far away from Easter, they won’t be special anymore. Easter Eggs, well that’s another story …. They’re just chocolate right? So I can get away with eating them as soon as they show up in the shops. Yep, yep. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it 🙂
So in my pursuit to master some type of yeast-leavened bread this year, I embarked on making Hot Cross Buns. It was almost a let down. They were so easy! They rose perfectly and they tasted like Hot Cross Buns. I was expecting failure after failure before finally getting it right the week of Easter. But no. I did these twice. And twice they turned out tasting and looking just like Hot Cross Buns. Perfectly crisp on the outside, soft in the centre and that aroma. Yum.
So, like I said, I made these twice. The first time, was a fail but only in the fruit that I used. I did so many things wrong the first time round and they still tasted yum. I used fresh raspberries. Bad idea! There is no way to knead dough when there is fresh raspberries in it, without the result looking like something out of a horror movie. So I just tried to gently fold them into each roll at the end of the first rise. This resulted in yummy bread rolls with a mess of white chocolate chips and dissolved raspberries in the middle. I also put the choc chips in at the start which melted when they were kneaded together with the warm milk in the dough. This meant I had to add choc chips again at the end. So I had double the amount of white chocolate, half of it melted into the dough itself and mooshed up raspberries and they still rose and baked perfectly and tasted good. I think I have confirmed the fool-proofedness of this recipe.
Second time around, and to get past the mooshed up raspberry debacle, I decided to stick to dried fruit and chose cranberries instead. I added the dried cranberries and white chocolate chips right at the end in the last knead before cutting them into 12 individual portions and Voila! Success. It smelt like fresh Hot Cross Buns in our house for hours and they tasted the part when slathered with butter all oozing and melting into the bread. Yum, yum.
Now, go forth and bake 🙂
- 500g plain flour
- 14g (2 sachets) yeast
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 100g caster sugar
- 300ml milk
- 50g butter
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 75g flour
- 1/3 cup water
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand-mixer, mix the flour, yeast, cinnamon and sugar.
- In a smaller bowl, lightly whisk together the egg, half of the milk and the vanilla extract.
- In a small saucepan heat the other half of the milk until it just starts to steam. While whisking, pour the hot milk in a thin stream into the egg mixture. Do this slowly while whisking quickly, so the egg doesn't scramble.
- Add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and knead the dough on low-medium speed for 7-8 minutes. When it's ready the dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl and it should look smooth and elastic but still sticky. You can knead by hand but it may take around 10 minutes.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and let it rise for about 11/2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has doubled, take it out of the bowl, add the choc chips and cranberries and give it a light knead for a minute or two to fully incorporate everything.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces and smooth each one into a round ball. At this stage it will look like there is too many choc chips but there isn't. Lay them out evenly on the baking tray and allow to rise for another 1/2 hour covered with a clean towel.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Mix together the remaining flour and water until you have a smooth pipeable paste. Pour it into a plastic sandwich bag and snip off a tiny bit of the corner. Pipe a cross over each of the buns.
- Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
- These look pretty with a simple sugar glaze brushed over them but if you plan on toasting them, the sugar can become molten hot, so leave it off.