Yield 12 buns
Hot cross buns just got better. Try my modern, tasty version, with cinnamon and dried fruit, as well as chocolate chunks and a delicious toffee glaze to finish them off perfectly.
50g unsalted butter
200ml whole milk, at room temperature
500g strong white flour, plus a little extra for the board
7g fast-action dried yeast + 1 tsp sugar
50g caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
75g mixed peel
Zest of one orange
2 eggs (one to glaze the buns)
1 tsp vanilla bean extract or powder
A pinch of sea salt
A little vegetable oil to grease the proving bowl and tray
100g chocolate chunks
For the crosses
100g plain flour
2-3 tablespoons water
For the toffee glaze
55g unsalted butter
125g light Muscovado sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1. Melt the butter and leave to cool, then pour the butter into the milk and set to one side to cool.
2. Tip the yeast into a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of cold water and a teaspoon of sugar. Mix and leave to froth.
3. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the frothy yeast, caster sugar, cinnamon, mixed peel, sultanas, orange zest, one beaten egg, the vanilla and a pinch of sea salt.
4. Using a fork, stir the ingredients to combine them, then slowly add the cooled melted butter and milk mixture. The butter and milk mixture should not be hot, otherwise it will kill the yeast. Bring together using your hands until a ball of dough forms. Add a little extra milk if the dough seems dry.
5. On a floured board, knead the dough for five minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl with a little oil and place the ball of dough into the bowl, covering with cling film. Leave the dough to prove in a warm place for 60 minutes.
6. After 60 minutes, the dough should have doubled in size. Tip it out onto a floured board and punch the dough back to knock out any excess air. Tip the chocolate chunks onto the dough and work them in, kneading slightly again for about a minute.
7. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each ball into a bun shape, flattening it slightly. Lightly grease a large baking tray with oil and then lay the buns in the tray. They should be almost touching. Cover with a cloth and leave them to prove again for 30 minutes.
8. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 8.
9. To make the crosses, mix the plain flour with water and bring it together to form a dough. Knead until smooth then roll out onto a floured board. Using a knife, cut 12 long strips, around 0.5cm in thickness and then cut each strip in half to make 24 pieces. Carefully place the dough strips onto the buns and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.
10. To make the toffee glaze, melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan and stir well. Take the sauce off the heat. Once the buns are baked, brush the tops with the toffee sauce and serve whilst warm.
Yeast does not like warm liquid, so make sure that the milk and butter mixture has cooled back to room temperature before adding to the dry ingredients. Adding the chocolate chunks in after the first prove will help to keep them from melting.
Recipe by Ren Behan - Author Wild Honey and Rye at https://www.renbehan.com/2020/04/chocolate-chunk-hot-cross-buns.html