Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

Fig and Aniseed Plaited Scone LoafFunny how life turns a full circle, as when I first entered corporate baking life in New Zealand we developed this bun for the supermarket Instore Bakery market as a result of children not liking spices, mixed peel and raisins, and they sold like hot cakes! Well 10 years on and a different continent, I have just introduced these to the Chinese Instore Baking industry with great results. Try these on your children at Easter time and you will be a great hit, I still enjoy mine toasted with a good spread of butter and strawberry preserve. (Recipe from "Global Baker - Dean Brettschneider")

300g strong bread flour
30g cocoa powder
5g salt
25g butter
25g sugar
zest of 1 orange
5g active dried yeast
1 small egg – weighing no more than 50g when cracked
150ml water
140g chocolate chips – kept cold in the refrigerator

additional flour for dusting

Makes 12 Hot X Buns

1. Place all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, except the chocolate chips, then using a wooden spoon combine the ingredients together until a dough mass has formed.

2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 – 15 minutes (taking a rest period of 30 seconds, every 2 – 3 minutes) until the dough is smooth and elastic in feel. This will take a while as the dough will be sticky to the touch, but don’t be tempted to add any excessive amounts of flour during the kneading process, a little will be okay, but please persevere with the softness. Finally add the cold chocolate chips and continue to very gently knead until they become incorporated into the dough.

3. Lightly oil a bowl large enough to allow the dough to double in bulk, then put the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warmish place (23 - 25ºC) for 45 - 60 minutes.

4. Gently knock back the dough in the bowl by gently folding it back onto its self. It will deflate it slightly, but will develop more strength. Cover again with plastic wrap and leave for 30 minutes.

5. Next tip the tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench and divide into 12 equal pieces, approximately 60g each, roll each into a small ball or bun shape. Place onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper so that the buns will rise together when proofing (approximately 2cm apart) and cover with a sheet of plastic and allow to proof (rise) for approximately 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the room temperature.

6. Place the crossing mixture* into a piping bag fitted with a 3mm plain pipping nozzle and pipe crosses onto the buns.

7. Place into a preheated oven set at 180 - 190ºC and bake for approximately 15 – 18 minutes or until golden brown in colour. In the meantime prepare the sugar glaze** ready for brushing on after baking.

Remove from the oven and brush with the sugar glaze to achieve a shiny surface, and then allow to cool completely.

*Crossing Mixture
150g plain flour
50g vegetable oil
150ml water

Place the flour and oil into a bowl and using whisk slowly mix whilst adding the water. Whisk until a smooth and lump free paste is formed. Cover with plastic wrap until required.

**Sugar Glaze
100ml water
40g sugar
zest of one orange

Simply put all ingredients into a small saucepan and heat until boiling, remove from the heat and set aside to use once the buns are baked. Alternatively you can boil the mixture in the microwave.