Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the UK. These Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns are a fun twist on the classic recipe.
Breaking lent with Hot Cross Buns
The Easter weekend is here at last! I won’t be posting on Sunday as I’ll be celebrating Easter with my family so instead, I’m posting this weeks recipe a few days early and what perfect timing too! Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday to break the lent fast so print the recipe and get down to the shops for your ingredients! Don’t worry I’ll be here waiting until you get back… [click here to jump to the recipe]
Traditional Hot Cross Buns with a twist
Good to have you back, now lets get on to business! I first made Hot Cross Buns about 5 years ago now. I’ve never been all that successful making bread but over the last 5 years the enriched dough technique has always given me soft, light and fluffy hot cross buns. So this year, I decided I would be brave and jazz the traditional hot cross bun up a bit.
I’ve kept some of the original spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) and you’ll find a few raisins in the mix too. But, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear, I’ve also added plenty of zesty orange and chunks of milk chocolate for a rich, sweet treat! If your kids weren’t fans of hot cross buns before, they will be now!
The idea to mix both chocolate and orange in with the raisins and traditional spices came after the success of my chocolate orange Christmas cake. It seems that the traditional elements actually work really well with the hint of orange and rich, mellow chocolate.
The therapy of baking
Lent and Easter have always been a time for reflection in my house so I think spending a couple of hours baking bread on Good Friday is a fantastic chance to be alone with one’s thoughts. As with any bread recipe hours of proving is required and the 10 – 15 minutes of kneading is great physical therapy. I always find the process of kneading and knocking back dough incredibly relaxing.
There’s also something incredibly satisfying about a warm kitchen, the smell of freshly baked (chocolatey) bread and breaking the first roll open. We love to serve these toasted under the grill with lashings of chocolate spread and / or a good quality marmalade. They are like a hug in a bun!
Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns – The Recipe
- 225ml milk
- 50g butter
- 450g strong white flour
- 2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- Juice of 1 orange
- 150g mixed dried fruit (e.g. raisins, sultanas etc.)
- 25g mixed peel
- 100g milk chocolate chunks or chips
- 100g plain flour
- 5 - 6 tbsp cool water
- 2 tbsp marmalade
- 2 tbsp hot water
- In a small pan, heat the milk with the butter until the butter has melted and the mix begins to steam.
- Once it begins to steam, immediately take this off of the heat and mix the flour, yeast, sugar, spices and orange zest in a large bowl and place to one side.
- Check that the milk is warm to the touch and add in the egg a little at a time and whisking thoroughly.
- Pour the warm milk, butter and egg mix into the bowl of dry ingredients along with the orange juice and bring together into a ball of dough with your hands.
- Turn the ball of dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 - 10 minutes or until the ball is smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel to prove in a warm place for roughly 1 hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
- After the initial prove, stretch the dough out until flat.
- Cover the dough with 2/3rds of the dried fruit, mixed peel and chocolate.
- Fold the dough in half and cover with the remaining dried fruit, mixed peel and chocolate before folding in half again.
- Begin kneading the dough to incorporate the layers of fruit and chocolate into the dough. This should take roughly 5 minutes.
- Line a large oven dish with grease proof paper.
- Cut the dough into 12 equal sized pieces and roll into smooth balls.
- Place the 12 balls into the oven dish allowing room for them to grow and spread.
- Again, cover with either cling film or a tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove for a further 30-45 minutes.
- Once the dough has increased in size again, pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5 / 180C.
- Before baking, make a paste with the plain flour and water. Add just 5 tbsp to begin with, only adding the 6th if it is too thick to pipe.
- Add the paste into a piping bag and pipe crosses on top of the buns.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Just before the 20 minutes is up, mix the marmalade and hot water together.
- Take the buns out of the oven when the 20 minutes is complete and brush the buns with the marmalade glaze.
- Pop the buns back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
- Take the buns out of the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before eating.
These taste fantastic cut in half and toasted before being spread with either chocolate spread or marmalade!
Although there are a number of steps involved in these hot cross buns, some more technical then others, they are still simple enough to let kids get stuck in and have a go. They’ll love mixing the ingredients and kneading the dough. Why not let them pipe the white crosses on top too! (Mind you, the latter might get a little messy!)
More Hot Cross Bun Inspiration
If you’ve enjoyed these Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns why not try some of these fun and fruity variations on the classic recipe:
- Coconut and Mango Hot Cross Buns from Recipes from a Pantry
- Cranberry and Lime Hot Cross Buns from Sew White
- Hot Cross Cinnamon Buns from Supergolden Bakes
Or, for something really different:
- Hot Cross Bun Mug Cakes from Farmersgirl Kitchen
- Slow Cooker Hot Cross Bun & Butter Pudding from Munchies and Munchkins
Are there any particular recipes you make each year? I’d love to hear about your Easter traditions in the comments below.