Last Easter, I was absolutely obsessed, OBSESSED, with hot cross buns.
Not the traditional kind, however, with all the dried fruit and candied peel and all those gross things.
The chocolate chip kind of hot cross buns.
It started thanks to the local bakery chain in the mall where I work. Around last Easter, I was working at a mens retail store, and spent most of my time there amazingly BORED. So one of the girls and I, we would go up to the bakery and buy chocolate chip hot cross buns to snack on.
Why is it that boredom always leads to over-consumption of unnecessary food? Even when you’re not hungry, at all?
Anyway, so we would talk about chocolate chip hot cross buns, and the girl I worked with sent me to another bakery, where they sold DOUBLE chocolate chip hot cross buns. Then I tried mocha ones. Then I moved on to the supermarket variety, because they were gooey-er and I could buy them late at night.
So I made my own.
I was in chocolate chip hot cross bun heaven, and made them many times in the lead up to Easter and for Easter itself. Now here they are again, just in time for you to put on your Easter menu for this year.
CHOCOLATE CHIP HOT CROSS BUNS
Adapted from Not Quite Nigella.
For the buns
3 sachets instant dry yeast (21g, 3/4 oz)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
4 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
50g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups chocolate chunks or chips
For the glaze
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp hot water
For the crosses
60g white chocolate (2 oz)
To make the buns, combine the lukewarm milk, sugar and dry yeast in a small bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes. It should become frothy and increase in size.
Fit your mixer with the dough hook and put the flour and salt in the bowl of your mixer (if you don’t have one, you could do this by hand). Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the melted butter, lightly beaten egg and frothy yeast mixture, as well as half the chocolate chips.
Turn the mixer on low and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place it in a large bowl (not metal), cover with plastic wrap and set aside in warm place for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.
Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.
Once the dough has risen, knock it down and add the remaining chocolate chips, kneading lightly to incorporate them. Divide the dough evenly into 15 or 16 balls and place them close together on the baking tray, in a 4 x 4 or 5 x 3 arrangement.
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Cover the hot cross buns with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 20 minutes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. While the buns are baking, prepare your glaze.
For the glaze, dissolve the sugar in the hot water.
Once the buns are cooked, remove them from the oven and quickly brush them with a few coats of the glaze.
To make the crosses, melt the white chocolate in the microwave in short bursts, stirring in between. Put the chocolate into a small zip loc bag or piping bag, snip off the end and pipe crosses across the chocolate chip buns.
Serve warm. Makes 15-16 hot cross buns.