The best part of Easter, aside from the 4 day long weekend is of course Hot Cross Buns. Chocolate is fantastic of course but it is available all year round, but the appearance of the Hot Cross Bun (that seem to appear earlier and earlier every year much like Christmas decorations in October), signify an impending 4 day long weekend!
I know people are divided with Hot Cross buns, some like no peel, some like a lot of fruit, some like a little spice, some a lot. And then there are those that don't like fruit at all and go for the Choc Chip Buns. I wanted to do something slightly different this year though so I went to my cupboard and what jumped out at me were the wonderful Cinnamon chips that Barbara sent me. I decided to make Cinnamon Chip Chocolate Hot Cross Buns.
I always feel like the cross should be sweet, like icing I suppose and am always a little disappointed when eating the cross. I decided to make the crosses out of white chocolate and I hope that doesn't violate some traditional Easter tradition but hey as the saying goes Jesus Loves You no matter what you do, right? I think that includes fiddling around with a Hot Cross Bun recipe which is a lesser sin than others. The smell of these baking is truly incredible and as for the taste, imagine a Norwegian cinnamon bun crossed with a Hot Cross Bun. Try to resist them, if you can. I wasn't able to and ate my record in no time.
On another non-Easter note, big thanks go to the lovely Darcie from Zing PR and the very nice people from Lap-rap who gave me my very own Lap-rap which I heart very, very much. See their website for other cool designs or design your own as I did.
Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella
For the buns
2 tablespoons instant dried yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 cups lukewarm milk
4.5 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
50g butter melted
1 egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2.5 cups of Hershey's Cinnamon chips (or 2.5 cups of white chocolate chips melted with 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon and chopped up)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon gelatine or 1/2 gelatine leaf soaked in cold water
- 75grams/2.6 ozs white chocolate
Step 1 - Mix yeast, sugar and warm milk in a bowl and stir to remove any lumps. Set aside for 15 minutes until it becomes frothy.
Step 2 - In a large bowl, or the bowl of your mixer, sift flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and mix in the yeast mixture, butter, egg, cinnamon and one third of the chocolate chips.
Step 3 - Knead dough for 5 minutes until elastic and place in a greased bowl covered with cling wrap in a warm area (or sit your bowl in a larger bowl of warm water). Leave for 1 hour to 1.5 hours until doubled in size.
Step 4 - Using your fist, punch down the dough and add the remaining cinnamon chocolate chips. Knead lightly and divide into 16 balls. Place close together on a lined or greased baking tray. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
Step 5 - Bake for 20-30 minutes until done. While it is baking, get the glaze ready. For the glaze, simply mix all three ingredients together shortly before the time is up on the buns.
Step 6 - When buns are ready, brush with glaze. I like to do this quite generously and glaze the sides too but this does make them quite sticky to handle.
Step 7 - Melt chocolate in a microwave proof bowl and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle. Pipe lines across buns to make crosses. When chocolate has set, serve slathered with butter.