PiggyBakes’ Berry Chocolatey Hot Cross Buns

I have been lusting after a particular type of hot cross bun this Easter, probably thanks to Marks and Spencer’s and their slightly raunchy adverts. That’s right – this year, only a chocolate hot cross bun is going to hit the spot.

I would usually be a little intimidated to bake my own, but after successfully attempting Paul Hollywood’s buns last year, I know that there is no substitute for the home baked variety. So, after a quick google search, I stumbled across these Chocolate and Cherry beauties from Waitrose. Chocolate and cherry work so well together and I thought they would go really nicely with the subtle spice of a Hot Cross Bun.

I decided to use a mix of berries instead of just cherries, and added some ginger and nutmeg to the cinnamon to increase the spice just a little.

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PiggyBakes’ Berry Chocolatey Hot Cross Buns (adapted from Waitrose Chocolate & Cherry Hot Cross Buns)
Makes 12

450 g strong bread flour
½ tsp salt
1 ½  tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
100 g caster sugar
7g sachet fast action dried yeast
150g mixed dried berries and cherries (e.g raisins, blueberries, cranberries)
100g dark chocolate, in chunks
50 g unsalted butter
250 ml milk, plus 3 tbsp extra for the glaze
1 large egg, beaten
50 g plain flour

– Sift the strong flour, salt, 1tsp cinnamo, ginger and nutmeg into a large bowl and stir gently combine the ingredients. Add half the sugar, yeast, berries/cherries and chocolate, then stir until just combined.

– Gently melt the butter in a small pan, add 250ml milk and heat for 1 minute until just warm. Pour in the egg and stir enough of the milk mixture into the flour to form a soft dough, using a round-bladed knife. I used almost all of mine, but not quite.

– Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can do this in an electric mixer with a dough hook. Just be careful not to overmix – about 7 minutes should do it.

– Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces and shape into balls. If any berries or chocolate are sticking out too much, gently push them a little further into the bun. Transfer the buns onto two large baking sheets lined with non-stick baking parchment, leaving space between each bun. Cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm place for about one to one and a half hours, until doubled in size.

– Preheat oven to 190°C (170C fan oven)/gas mark 5.  Now decorate the buns – mix the plain flour with 5-6 tbsp cold water in a small bowl to form a smooth, thick (but still pipe-able) paste. Spoon this mixture into a small piping bag with a small round nozzle and then neatly pipe a cross over each of the buns. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown in colour.

– While the buns are cooking, prepare the glaze. Place 3tbsp milk, 3 tbsp cold water, the remaining cinnamon and sugar in a small pan and heat gently for 2-3 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. When the buns are cooked, transfer them onto a cooling rack and brush the glaze over each one twice. Allow to cool. Serve toasted with butter 🙂

The buns are best eaten on the day you make them. You could use up any leftover buns by making a Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding, like this one. Trust me, it’s good!

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