Making hot cross buns is incredibly easy with this Chocolate Hot Cross Buns recipe. Filled with chocolate chips plus cocoa in the dough, your family will be coming back for more.
Oh boy, I love Hot Cross Buns. Every year I hold out until just before Easter before I buy a pack and eat them for breakfast every day. Slathered in salty butter. Yum! It’s only in the last few years that I’ve branched out from the classic fruit flavour to Chocolate Hot Cross Buns.
Aaaaaand I have the best Hot Cross Buns recipe to share with you. The dough is easy to make and truly fool-proof which I need if I’m making bread. Last year I made these White Chocolate Cranberry Hot Cross Buns using the same recipe and you can check out just how fool-proof it is there. As long as the yeast is fresh and you don’t overheat it, you simply cannot mess this up.
Chocolate with a hint of spice
This year, I decided to turn it into a Chocolate Hot Cross Buns recipe and I love these even more than the originals. The chocolate flavour comes from two ingredients – the cocoa in the bread dough itself and the chocolate chips. Yes, chocolate chips that, when you take these hot cross buns out of the oven are all oozy and gooey and perfect. Perfect for slathering butter all over and watching it melt in.
These Chocolate Hot Cross Buns have a hint of cinnamon and allspice too. The sweet spices land them fair and square in the Hot Cross Buns world and you’ll know the second you take a bite that it’s Easter time.
And this brings me to another reason I love Easter. Aside from the fact that I have an excuse to eat more chocolate, I now have an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast. Yessssss! My life is complete.
Tips and tricks for making hot cross buns;
Working with yeast does require a little care. Yeast needs a tepid – warm mixture to bloom properly. If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast. Too cold and it will take far too long to rise, although not impossible.
- Don’t overheat the milk at the start. You add it to melted butter over low heat until it just starts to steam. Now you cool it just slightly by adding the remaining milk, then add the yeast.
- Adding the sugar at this stage too will assist the yeast in doing it’s thang. Sugar is food for yeast.
- Don’t let yeast come into direct contact with salt. Salt will kill the yeast if they are put together directly. Always mix the salt through the flour before adding the yeast mixture.
- There are a few different types of yeast out there. I use instant dried yeast in this recipe but you can substitute for active dry yeast in the same quantity. It can be purchased in tubs so you can scoop out what you need or you’ll often find it prepacked in 7g (2 ¼ teaspoon) lots. Also, instant yeast will make bread rise more quickly than active dry yeast.
- Make sure the yeast is fresh. Don’t use yeast that’s been banging around your pantry for years. If you buy yeast and won’t use it all quickly, you can freeze it for up to a year.
Have you tried this recipe? Rate it below or comment with any questions or thoughts.
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- 1/4 cup (57g / 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 300 ml (10 floz) milk
- 100 g (1/2 cup / 3.5oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 sachets / 7g) instant yeast
- 520 g (4 cups / 18.5oz) plain (AP) flour
- 1/3 cup (35g / 1.5oz) cocoa
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (200g / 7oz) chocolate chips
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 tablespoon plain (AP) flour
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (50ml) water - (notes)
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add half of the milk and sugar. As soon as it is very warm to touch (not hot), remove from the heat. No longer or it will be too hot and kill the yeast.
- Add the rest of the milk and stir, then stir in the yeast. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon and all spice. Add the egg, vanilla and yeast mixture, then beat on low for around 7 minutes until smooth and elastic. You can also knead the mixture by hand until smooth and elastic if preferred.
- Brush a large bowl lightly with vegetable oil, then add the dough. Flip the dough once so it is oiled all over. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Gently knead in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Don’t knead for too long.
- Shape into a ball of dough. Cut the ball in 6 even pieces, then cut each of those pieces in half.
- Line the base of a casserole dish or large baking tin with baking paper and lightly oil the sides.
- Shape each piece of dough into a small ball and sit them side by side in the prepared dish (they should be just touching). Allow to rise for another hour or until doubled in size again.
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / 180C fan forced
- Brush the tops of the buns with the beaten egg
- Mix together the cocoa, flour and water and transfer to a piping bag. Pipe crosses over the top of the buns (you can do this by piping 1 long line across the tops of a line of buns, then repeat until they all have a cross).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until shiny and crisp on top.
- Serve warm, with butter
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspooons worldwide)
- For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).