April 03, 2012

Hot Cross Buns, the perfect Easter breakfast

The aromatic wafts of hot cross buns conjure vivid Easter memories, and are signature to the season like mince pies are to Christmas. I was determined to make my own hot cross buns this Easter, impressed by a memory of my father making his own many years ago. Don't be concerned by the thought of making a 'bread' of sorts, the instant dried yeast will do all the work for you to ensure the dough rises to create the right texture. To make these buns that little bit more Easter inspired, these are flavoured with dried cherries and dark chocolate. The perfect breakfast to celebrate with on Easter Sunday.

Cherry and Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Makes 14. 

  • 750 grams of plain flour
  • 1/3 cup of caster sugar
  • 20 grams of candied orange peel, chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • a pinch of all spice
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 14 grams of dried instant yeast
  • 1 orange rind, finely grated
  • 1 lemon rind, finely grated
  • 400 mls of milk (I use lactose-free skim milk)
  • 70 grams of butter, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 75 grams of dark chocolate (sugar-free if you can find it), chopped into small pieces
  • 100 grams of dried cherries, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup of caster sugar
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  •  low-fat margarine to serve
  1. Preheat to oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Place 700 grams of flour, sugar, candied orange peel, cinnamon, all spice, salt, yeast, and citrus rinds into a bowl. Mix to combine. Create a well in the centre.
  3. Heat the milk and butter on low heat in the microwave until butter is melted and the mixture is just warm. Whisk in the egg.
  4. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring to form a soft dough.
  5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 - 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. I use my dough hook fitting in the Kitchen Aid, which does the work for me!
  6. Place in a bowl sprayed with cooking oil spray and cover with cling film. Let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, until it double in size.
  7. Take out of the bowl and knead on a floured surface to combine the cherries and chocolate. Do this until just combined.
  8. Divide dough into 14 pieces and shape each piece into a ball.
  9. Arrange dough 1 cm apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cover for 30 minutes, leaving in a warm place to let dough balls double in size.
  10. Combine the remaining 50 grams of flour with 70 ml of water and using a piping bag, pipe a cross on top of each bun. If you don't have a piping bag, you can drizzle this mixture over to create a cross. Note: you can buy disposable small piping bags at most grocery stores.
  11. Put the hot cross buns into the oven to bake on high heat for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  12. To make the glaze, combine sugar and cinnamon with 1.4 cup of water and stir in a small saucepan on low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 - 2 minutes. Brush this glaze over the bunswhen they have come out of the oven, then transfer to them to a wire rack to cool.
  13. Serve with low-fat margarine. 
* These hot cross buns are suitable for the freezer, tied tightly in a freezer bag.

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