We don't normally do Easter. No Easter egg hunts or Easter bunnies for us. No presents or special meals. It's just something we've never done, and probably something we'll never do. Our Easter consists of going to church on Good Friday, and that's it. Simple and no fuss.
However that doesn't mean I don't bake Easter goodies. No, on the contrary - I've been quite busy!
Last year I baked the traditional hot cross buns (they tasted like ones bought at a bakery, I kid you not) but this year decided to try something new. Chocolate hot cross buns!
I don't know how to describe these other than saying that they're really good. Really, really good. The dough, rich and chocolate-y, contains a hint of cinnamon that adds to the flavour.
Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
makes approx 18 buns
7g sachet (2 teaspoons) dry yeast
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
1tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
60g butter, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dark or milk choc bits (use dark for a bitter flavoured bread, or milk for a sweeter bread)
1 teaspoon gelatine
1 tablespoon boiling water
1/4 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
Grease a 6cm-deep, 23cm (base) square cake pan. Place yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl. Whisk to dissolve yeast. Cover. Set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes or until foamy.
Sift flour and cocoa into a bowl. Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in centre. Add yeast mixture, egg, cinnamon and remaining sugar. Stir to combine. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 1 minute. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Add choc bits. Knead to combine. Roll into 16 balls. Place in prepared pan. Cover. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until slightly risen. Preheat oven to 200°C.
Meanwhile, make paste. Combine flour, sugar and 2.5 tablespoons cold water in a bowl. Spoon into a snap-lock bag. Snip 1 corner from bag. Pipe crosses onto buns. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 180°C. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatine over boiling water in a heatproof jug. Stir with a fork until gelatine has dissolved. Place buns, top-side up, on a wire rack. Brush tops with gelatine mixture. Cool. Serve with butter.
Also, speaking of Easter, you must try out my homemade Cadbury Creme Easter Eggs. They're a cheesecake-type version of the store bought stuff. Deeeelish.