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! 

Easter Tree

What is better than Spring? Seeing the magnolia blossoming, tulips, crisp new shoots on otherwise bare branches….So delicate, so green – so life assuring. Really love this time of year.

Have spent the day outside and managed to get some gardening done (with three little helpers). Cutting our hedge was first priority and we got some fantastic branches that inspired….Instead of ending up at the tip in the green waste container they now are bringing joy to our family in the shape of an Easter Tree!

The single best thing about this picture is her pride. Priceless. 

  • About now, cut your branches and place them in a vase with water. This will give the buds time to open and be beautiful by Easter Sunday.
  • Prepare yourself and your surroundings for a bit of mess… 🙂
  • Get your raw eggs ready, as well as a large bowl and a sharp needle
  • Prick a hole in both the top and bottom of the egg with the needle
  • Holding the egg over the bowl, blow into one hole and watch the egg come out of the other! If you have never tried this before it may disgust you! It definitely is a strange experience! Children laugh every year…husband refuses! 🙂
  • Save the blown out egg – omelette for breakfast? Make a cake for Easter lunch?
  • When all the eggs are done wash them out with some hot soapy water to ensure there is no left over egg inside. Pat dry.
  • Get lots of paint brushes and paint and let the children enjoy decorating the eggs.
  • Once completely decorated place them in an empty egg tray to dry overnight.
  • Thread a needle with two strands of thread and pull it through the dried, decorated egg the next day – ensure you have put either a small piece of toothpick or something at the end of the string in order that the string stays in the egg when you pull the needle through. Tie the two strands together and hang your egg on the tree.

Don’t worry if an egg breaks – makes a cute “nest”…. This one will be stuffed with cotton wool and have a wide ribbon wrapped around it….