Hey Cakepops! My first experience celebrating Easter in Australia something stood out to me that I had heard about only in nursery rhymes as a child; hot crossed buns. They aren’t common in the United States, at least in California where I grew up, but the thought of them always made me happy. When I first saw them while snooping around in my local Australian supermarket, they looked SO cute! I remember buying a pack of warm hot crossed buns with excitement. Throughout the season, I kept seeing other flavors, such a fruitless, chocolate, espresso and so forth. I had to practice a little self control, but seeing the plump hot crossed buns all lined up waiting to be taken home and devoured still brings a smile to my face. So I thought this Easter, it would only be appropriate to make my own Chocolate Hot Crossed Buns.
Warm and fresh from the oven, with a hint of high quality cocoa, slightly sweet and very soft, they are perfection with a little soft European style butter. The plain variety, which I also made that day, are great in a soft boiled egg salad sandwich. I’m assuming I’m not the only home with colorful cooked eggs awaiting consumption this time of year.
I remember when I first discovered hot crossed buns being utterly confused and curious about what the actual crosses were made of! Is it fondant? Icing? Flour? Turns out, traditionally, dating back to the 12th Century, a simply mixture of flour and water was used to mark each bun with a cross. These buns have a long history and eclectic background represented by religion dating back to early Paganism, Catholicism and Christianity. Throughout the 14th Century, The English handed out hot crossed buns in a charitable manner to those less fortunate. I thought this was really cool information, and can’t help but think that I’m holding history and tradition in my hand with a simple bread roll. But isn’t that the case with everything we eat?
Chocolate Hot Crossed buns are very simple to make, as it is a simple soft dough recipe, meaning there is fat added to the dough and in this case, we’re adding a little butter and milk. We will combine all of our ingredients, and allow the dough to prove, or double in size. Then we will punch out all of the air, weight portion and prove again, until we are ready for the oven! I recommend people make bread on a consistent basis. It becomes less time consuming, less intimidating, more therapeutic and rewarding. We make bread about once a week of some sort in my home and it’s really nice that it’s a part of our routine.
I will update this post once my planned video relative to this recipe is published on my YouTube channel. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s definitely a new tradition I’ll look forward to each year.
- 8g or 2 tsp Dry Active Yeast
- 450g All Purpose Flour
- 50g Cocoa Powder
- 20g Sugar
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 300ml Warm Milk
- 50g Butter
- 1 Egg
- For Crosses
- 1/4 cup Self Rising Flour
- 1/4 cup Water
- In a small bowl, place warm milk and yeast and allow to bloom for 5 minutes.
- Add in melted butter and 1 egg.
- Combine this mixture with dry ingredients.
- On a clean and lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 8 minutes.
- Place dough ball in a clean and lightly greased bowl and allow to prove for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Punch out air from dough, weight dough ball, divide into 80-90 gram dough balls and portion onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Place buns close to each other so they're nice and snug.
- In a small bowl, combine self raising flour and water. If you do not have self raising flour feel free to use regular All Purpose flour.
- Dough should be slightly sticky. Roll out onto a clean surface while dusting with additional flour until no longer super sticky.
- Using a rolling pin, create a sheet of dough.
- Using a bench knife, portion dough sheet into equal lines of dough.
- Cut those lines in half and drape over dough balls. Pressing down gently.
- Allow Chocolate Hot Crossed Buns to prove until double in size, about another half hour, in a gently covered baking sheet (using cling wrap sprayed with cooking spray or a lightly warm, damp and very clean tea towel.
- Bake Chocolate Hot Crossed Buns in the oven at 180C or 350F for about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Baste with a simple syrup if desired.
- Chocolate-based dough is a bit mess. I recommend kneading dough onto a cutting board if possible!