choc cross buns

hot cross buns It was the Easter long weekend. The Bean & I were holed up in the house. She, sewing bits of material together, I pottering about the kitchen. There were plans, you see, for a skirt and some hot cross buns respectively. "With chocolate? And none of that rind stuff?" the Bean had requested. And I was feeling compliant. Primarily because I had a jar of Lindt that was yet to be used. Hooray! Unfortunately, I had forgotten (in my haste) to buy the yeast the day previously and was feeling cautious about the yeast that remained in my pantry. With good reason, as it turns out.

The yeast? It was deader than dead. And as a result, I had 16 very heavy, very dense bits of bread-ish dough sitting in my oven. Not so good. But on Saturday the shops open. And that means new yeast and another go at greatness. We tried to use the unrisen versions (dipping them in hot chocolate, grilling them to oblivion with butter, but to no avail. So lesson learnt. Check your yeast.

hot cross buns
mise en place

choc cross buns
adapted from a recipe by Gourmet Traveller

ingredients:

for the buns

5C plain flour, sifted
¼C caster sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
½C sultanas
Rind of 1 lemon
1C assorted chocolate chips
16 squares of good dark chocolate
300ml milk
100g butter
1 egg

for the glaze

¼C sugar
¼ tsp mixed spice
¼C water

method:

1. To check that your yeast is alive and well, add a bit of it to some warm (not boiling water and a pinch of sugar). Leave it for five minutes. If nothing happens, your yeast (like mine) is expired and you'll have to get some new stuff. If you don't care much for getting new stuff, then continue by all means - but you will end up with hard doughy lumps at the end.

hot cross buns
sieve the flour

2. We want light and fluffy, so sieve your flour. Stop! Only 700g of it (which is about 4 and 2/3 cups of it)! The rest? Put it to the side. If you like, sieve it with the spices so they're nicely distributed through the mix at the get go. Here, the Bean will happily sieve, as long as you top the sieve up with flour. "Hurry up!" she will exclaim "I'm running low!"

hot cross buns
melt the butter in the milk

3. But you may have trouble keeping up with her avid sifting. Because here is where the wet ingredients get a look-in. Melt your butter (chop it up first) in the milk. Over a low heat please. We're not trying to boil it, and we need to cool it down later. Low heat. Good? Good.

hot cross buns
combining the dry ingredients

4. As it cools, everything else can be sorted out. Lemon rind can be grated in (the original recipe calls for orange, but I have a glut of lemons and nowhere to put them). Sultanas and choc chips can be added. Then your sugar and yeast. All muddled in together happily.

hot cross buns
wet + dry = dough!

5. Once the butter/milk mixture is tepid (this means you can stick your finger in and it will feel like a warm bath - and not like you are on fire) whisk the egg into it. Then tip the lot into the dry ingredients bucket and stir stir stir!

hot cross buns
knead it up

6. After a little bit of stirring, it will start to come together. It will also start to smell warm and spicy and yeasty and you will have to tell the Bean that no, they aren't ready yet and yes, she can help to knead the dough. So knead. And go at it for about 10 minutes, or until its smooth and elastic. Here the Bean may challenge you to a race, and afterwards, your arms will be sore.

hot cross buns
proving

7. It's kneaded! It's smooth! And elastic! (And the Bean won...) So we stick the dough in oiled bowls, glad wrap and stick them in a warm place to double up. "I bet mine rises faster than yours" says the Bean. My arms hurt. I don't reply.

hot cross buns
choc-ing them up

8. And when they are risen (for they will rise after about 40mins unless your yeast is dead - see Step 1) punch them down a bit and then roll into a log. Pull bits off your log until you have 16 evenly sized bits. Then squish them flattish, push a chocolate bit into the centre, and roll it up to form a ball. Like so.

hot cross buns
roll em up

9. They will fit fairly snugly into a lightly greased 22cm square tin. And then they will rise some too. So glad wrap again, stick a damp tea towel on top, and let them sit and prove for another 40 mins.

hot cross buns
prove & pipe

10. Almost there? It's time for piping then! Remember that leftover flour that I told you to put aside? Well now it comes into play. Mix it up with ¼C water until it forms a smooth paste. I used chopsticks for this. Because I like them.

11. Load the paste into a plastic sammich bag, snip a corner off and pipe for your life. And when you're done, stand back and admire how cute they look with their little crosses sitting there like that.

12. Not for too long though, cos you're about to stick them in the oven. 220C for the first 10min and then 200C for the next 10min.

hot cross buns
making the glaze

13. They're baking! And the house smells like baking! And the only thing that could make it smell any better is this glaze. Toss all the ingredients into a small pan, stir until it's all dissolved into each other, bring it to the boil, and then simmer for a minute or two. Simple no? Well, yes!

hot cross buns
hot out of the oven

14. When the buns are done, brush the hot glaze on the hot buns. It may be easier to do this once they're out of the tin. Try not to burn yourself. Oh, and the chocolate? It'll be hot too. So wait a touch before eating them. If you can, that is.

8 bites more:

Y said...

Too bad about the lumps of rock. But on the positive side, there's hours of fun right there, coming up with ways to utilise them. Paper weight, stress ball, trendy necklace or earrings..

Stephcookie said...

They are so pretty! I totally feel your pain about the dead yeast - I didn't realise until after I started mixing up my hot cross buns that the best before date on my yeast was that very same day. Much panicking followed.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Yum! They look great :) Sorry to hear about the first batch- I always keep my yeast in the freezer as I never use it quickly enough!

Smileona said...

SHEZ!
they these look great! they look like the REAL good stufffffff at the bakery! LOve how they have that home-made feel to them.

all of your baking makes me want to try oneof urs. Im no baker I suck really. the most i coudl do is muffins lol.. im afraid to go beyond that and test myself.

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

I love the hidden chocolate inside - good thinking! Lorraine is right about yeast in the freezer. I keep mine there and it's still going well even though it's miles out of date.

FFichiban said...

Oohh yayy HCB! but yeah as everyone said pity about first batch :( but the others look soo good mmmmm ^^!

Jacjacjacqui said...

I want choc cross buns... Yummy Yummy!!! Gimme Gimme!
The first batch would have been quite sad. You could have done your best Lucy Liu "Charlie's Angel" killer death buns (muffins) impersonation. :)

shez said...

Y: doorstop, book mark, birdfeed...

Stephcookie: i've bought a new batch & am determined to use it up before the same happens again!

Lorraine & Arwen: oh! thanks for the tip. will definitely do.

Smileona: do do! i used to have an avid fear of yeast & hot sugar. still getting over the hot sugar thing :)

FFichiban: hehe. nothing on your giant BOB. giant is fantastic!

JacJacJacqui: you happened to pop by on the night of the failed batch. bad timing huh? ;)

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