For me hot cross buns shout out ‘Easter!’: the smell, the taste and the nostalgia of them. And while I do love the classic, my little twist makes them even more delicious by adding some dark chocolate to the dough. If you prefer the classic and want to omit the chocolate, increase the raisins to 120g and add 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
Ingredients (makes 8)
450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spice
50g caster sugar
7g fast-action yeast
zest of 1 orange
1 large egg
200ml whole milk, lukewarm
30g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
60g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
oil, for greasing
For the crosses
50g strong white bread flour
2 tbsp golden syrup, warmed
1. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Sift the flour, salt, mixed spice and sugar into a large bowl and add the yeast and orange zest. In a small bowl mix the egg, milk and melted butter together until combined, then tip into the flour mixture. Using a rounded knife or your hands, mix together to make a soft dough.
2. Lightly flour the work surface and tip the dough onto it. Knead the dough for 5 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Flatten the dough, then sprinkle over the raisins and chocolate. Fold the dough over to seal the chocolate and raisins inside, then knead for 2 minutes to evenly distribute them. Form into a ball, put into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Put in a warm place and leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
3. Tip the dough onto the floured work surface and lightly knead to knock out some of the air. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and form into balls. Put the balls onto the baking sheet about 5cm apart. Lightly cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 40 minutes, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan oven) mark 7.
4. To make the cross, put the flour and 4 tbsp water into a bowl and mix to form a thick paste. Spoon the paste into a piping bag and pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until risen and golden. While still warm, brush the buns with the warmed golden syrup.
Taken from Say It With Cake by Edd Kimber. Published by Kyle Books, priced £18.99. Photography by Georgia Glynn Smith.