A Tea and Chocolate Lovers Hot Cross Buns

“Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny….”

In Denmark we don’t serve hot cross buns, and before I moved to the UK and had children I had therefore never tasted one. I will never forget though, the first time I smelt one being toasted….talk about a wakening of the senses! Hot spices and bread – yum! However, the currants….not for me. Really. Not good.

So I figured there must be a way to combine my love of spices, particularly cardamom and cinnamon, with my biggest love of all – chocolate – to create a gloriously tasting twist of a hot cross bun! It worked – recipe below. Happy days!

We made them this morning and took them with us to a friend’s house – it was a well received tray!

A bit of history before you crack on (thanks to Wikipedia):

In many historically Christian countries, these buns are eaten hot or toasted on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion. It is believed that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre with the cross thought to have symbolised the four quarters of the moon.

According to cookery writer Elizabeth David, Protestant English monarchs saw the buns as a dangerous hold-over of Catholic belief in England, being baked from the dough used in making the communion wafer. Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns by bakers but they were too popular, and instead Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.

Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns (makes about 30 small buns)

330ml milk, warmed
1 tea bag – pg tips, earl grey – your choice!
20g fresh yeast (or 1 sachet dried)
75g caster sugar
600g plain flour (plus extra for kneading)
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
80g butter
1 egg
100g dark chocolate chips
Good handful raisins
 

For the Cross

 
40g plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
Enough water to make a thick, smooth paste (3-5 tbsp)

 

For the Glaze

 
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp powdered gelatine (can be omitted but then boil the mixture slightly longer to thicken naturally)
 
  • Add milk and tea bag to a saucepan and warm until luke warm then take off heat
  • Remove the tea bag and whisk in the yeast and sugar and combine until dissolved
  • Sift flour, spices and salt into a separate bowl, throw in the butter and chop into it with a knife until you have a crumble like texture
  • Pour in the lukewarm milk and add the egg – stir to make a soft dough
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and give it a good kneading – add the raisins and chocolate chips (watch the little helpers here….almost all of my raisins and chocolate ended up in tummies not the buns!)
  • Return to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm to rise for about an hour
  • Tip out of the bowl once risen and give another knead. Cut the dough into small pieces and shape into balls
  • Lay these in whichever shape you like – traditionally a round one – on a lined baking tray
  • Leave the balls to rise for about 15 minutes – pre-heat oven to 200C
  • To make the “cross” combine flour, sugar and water and stir in the water to make a smooth paste. Put this into a piping bag (or a plastic bag with a small hole cut in a corner) and pipe your crosses onto the buns
  • Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes
  • To make the glaze – combine sugar, water and gelatine in a saucepan and simmer for a few minutes until dissolved – do not boil
  • Remove your finished buns from the oven, place on a wire rack and brush the glaze over the top
  • ENJOY!!!!! (Your house will smell divine too…)

 Cheeky Chap – eating my raisins! 

Rye #4 – Stress Free Carrot and Rye Breakfast Rolls

The reason these are called stress free buns is that you make the dough the day before and leave it to cool overnight – then grab it when you want it, shape your rolls and place them in a cold oven, turn it on and cook for 35 minutes – the result being amazing! While they are cooking you can go for a short run, take a shower or bath, play with the children, read the paper…what ever you fancy! And when your timer goes off, breakfast is served – stress free! Combine with a big mug of coffee, some orange juice, slice of cheese with a dollop of strawberry compote…heaven!!!!

As with all my rye recipes they are jam-packed with goodness! The seeds and carrot only add to it – and the children absolutely adore them.

I like to make the dough on a Friday afternoon – sometimes a double portion – then Saturday and Sunday breakfast becomes a treat and a really lovely time where we can sit together as a family and enjoy. There is nothing like a freshly baked roll in the morning.

This recipe is a mix of my Dad’s and my Mum’s – thank you both!

300ml (ish) luke warm water
15g fresh yeast or 1.5 tsp dry yeast
Drizzle of honey
250g rye flour
150g plain flour
1.5 carrots – grated
Handful sunflower seeds or more
Salt
1 tbsp olive oil
 
  • Pour luke warm water into a big bowl and dissolve the yeast – fresh or dry – in it with a wooden spoon
  • Drizzle honey in and stir
  • Add the flour – both types – stir to combine. What you want is a dough that is sticky but not runny. It should make your hands messy…but not too wet. You definitely do not want it too dry. So add the flour slowly and stir as you go.

  • Throw in the grated carrot and seeds, season with salt and add a bit of olive oil – about 1 tbsp
  • Put a lid or tea towel over the bowl and leave in a cool place. If you have a larder, great, if not the fridge is good. Walk away!
  • The day after, the dough will have risen and be spongy, it may also smell slightly sour and yeasty. That is fine! It will not have risen a lot as the rye flour is heavy.

  • Shape small dough balls with your hands and place the rolls on a lined baking tray – as mentioned earlier the dough will be sticky. Rolling each bun in a little flour will make it easier and neater – for a more rustic appearance, see note further down!

  • Pop in a cold oven, turn it to 225C and bake for 30-35 minutes
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating

If you are lazy, or do not want to get your hands sticky, you can simply drop the batter onto the baking tray with a wooden spoon – this will give you a more rustic looking bun and it does not affect the flavour at all!