Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
- 50g unsalted butter or dairy free spread
- 50g organic cane sugar
- 1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 whole nutmeg, for grating
- 200ml milk of your choice
- 1 large free-range egg or egg replacer
- 400g strong white bread flour, plus 2 tablespoons and extra for dusting
- 75g cocoa powder
- 7g sachet of dried yeast
- 150g dark chocolate
- 100g raisins or mixed vine fruit
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Place the butter or dairy free spread, sugar, mixed spice, a good grating of nutmeg and a pinch of sea salt in a pan over a low heat and warm gently until melted, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat, pour in the milk, then crack in the egg / add egg replacer and whisk well.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl and tip in the yeast. Make a well in the middle, then gradually pour in the milk mixture, stirring and bringing in the flour from the outside to form a rough dough.
- Knead on a flour-dusted surface for around 5 minutes, or until smooth and springy. Transfer to a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a clean damp tea towel and prove in a warm place for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Chop half the chocolate into 12 equal-sized pieces and put aside, then finely chop the remaining chocolate into tiny chips. Chop any large dried fruits into smaller pieces.
- When the dough is ready, transfer to a clean surface and use your fist to knock out the air. Roughly stretch and flatten out the dough, sprinkle over the chocolate chips and dried fruit, then knead for a few minutes until smooth again, pushing any chocolate or fruit that escapes back into the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4, and grease and line a 25cm x 35cm baking tray.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Flatten one piece slightly, push a piece of chocolate into the centre, snapping it to fit, if needed, then fold the dough back over the chocolate to trap it inside. Shape the dough into a neat ball and place on the prepared tray. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving a small gap between each bun.
- Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for around 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with enough water to give you a thick batter consistency, then transfer to a piping bag. Pipe thin crosses across the top of the buns.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden, then transfer to a cooling rack. Warm the honey a little to loosen, then gently brush over the buns to glaze.
- Slice open while warm to enjoy the melting middle – delicious served with a little butter.