Rising to the Occasion: Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

It's almost Easter and that means that it is time for Hot Cross Buns! There's no need to buy hot cross buns when you can make bakery style hot cross buns at home. These chocolate orange hot cross buns are flavoured with orange zest and dark chocolate with a touch of cinnamon in the glaze. They're absolutely delicious and you'll be amazed at how soft these hot cross buns are! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader.

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns
Light and fluffy buns

If you're a long time reader you'll know exactly what makes these hot cross buns so soft and that's tangzhong or water roux. This one tiny step in the bread making process makes the buns so soft and fluffy and keeps them fresh for longer. I always use tangzhong when I can because there's only so much bread two people can eat.

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

I love serving these with Nutella or butter. I made these just a few days ago on Friday. The reason I made these so late is that I am very late to the Easter celebrations this year Dear Reader. The reason is that I went on a very exciting holiday over these last few weeks. You see I was offered the chance to go to Antarctica on an expedition cruise and I have wanted to go there for my whole life. It was a bit of a rush and I had 4 days to pack and get everything ready. Also on two of out those four days we were going to be away for our anniversary and so that left 2 very frantic days in which I had to get 2 weeks worth of blog posts scheduled as well as get my head around packing for the Antarctic. By the time I arrive at the airport I was sure that I might collapse from exhaustion. "Think of the penguins," I said to myself as I lined up trying to quell my frantically beating heart.

But the challenges weren't over. In my haste, I hadn't looked up visa regulations and since I'd be transiting through Chile and getting my bags there, there were new rules in place that had changed since my last visit. Now all Australians visiting Chile need a consular visa, rather than a quick visa that you can buy at the airport. These consular visas take 10 working days and that meant that I had to buy new ticket costing almost $1000 from Santiago to Buenos Aires so that my luggage would get checked all the way through to Buenos Aires and quickly apply for the visa before getting on the flight. The Qantas supervisor and travel agent at Sydney airport were very helpful and told me that a lot of Australians had been caught out the same way, some even being turned back once they reached Chile.

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

The Qantas flight went very smoothly and while I was in Santiago waiting for my flight to Buenos Aires I met another girl who was similarly flummoxed by the transit process. We both had a very tight transfer and were expected to be at the gate but the plane had arrived late and the queues were long. So we decided to band together and try and get through together which worked. And when we took a moment to catch a breath we asked for each others names. And you wouldn't believe it but she works in the world of food and she had arranged for our stay at Taronga Zoo and Me-Gal restaurant! We promised to keep in touch and catch up once we were both back in Sydney.

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

When I arrived at Buenos Aires I bid Mic farewell but then the bad luck continued. The car transfer that I had booked just didn't turn up and I also discovered that the people that were holding the cruise hadn't actually booked me a room at the hotel! Honestly at that point I just wanted to cry but there was no time for that. Maxxing out my credit card I booked the only hotel nearby for $560AUD and took a cab that cost $45USD (but should have cost around $25USD). I also finally got my eSIM to work so that I was finally connected.

While one day of travelling seemed like an exercise in jumping hurdles, I am glad to report that the rest of the trip went very smoothly and I am busy editing those stories to share with you! Just a warning: there will be lots of penguins, seals and a whale or two!

So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever had a terrible travelling day where nothing has gone right? Have you ever been to Antarctica? And do you like chocolate orange?

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 60 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Serves: 12 buns

  • 20g/0.7ozs. flour
  • 125ml/4flozs. water
  • 60g/2ozs. butter, cubed
  • 85g/3ozs. honey
  • 50g/1.7oz white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 250ml/8.8flozs. milk
  • 560g/20ozs. bread flour (plus 30g more if needed)
  • 30g/1ozs. cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant dried yeast
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 150g/5ozs. chocolate orange chocolate, grated

For Crosses

  • 30g/1oz flour
  • 10g/0.3oz cocoa powder
  • 3.5 tablespoons water

For Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Step 1 - First make the tangzhong roux. Place the 20g/0.7ozs of flour and water in a small saucepan and whisk to get rid of any lumps. Heat on low to medium heat to reach 65C/149F and stir so that it forms a smooth paste. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter until it melts and then add the honey, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and cinnamon and whisk well. Then add the milk and whisk.

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Step 2 - In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook add the tangzhong mixture and the flour, sift in the cocoa powder and add the yeast and mix with a spatula just until it starts to form a dough. Knead on low speed until you get an elastic mixture where you can pull it apart with floured fingers and it won't break. It can take up to 15 minutes. Add in the orange zest and grated chocolate and knead to incorporate.

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Step 3 - Place the mixture in a large, greased bowl and cover and allow to triple in size (around 1 hour). Then knead in the chocolate chips. At this point I usually weigh the dough and then divide it into 12 so I get the weight of each bun. You can of course eyeball it too. My buns were 113g/4ozs each.

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Step 4 - Line a 30x20x3cm/12x8x1.5inch baking tray with parchment. It's time to shape the buns. Shaping the buns is important and the trickiest part of it but if you've gotten it to the window pane stage your dough should be the correct consistency. Your dough should be slightly sticky but not wet. To shape the buns, cup your hand and roll the bun clockwise on the surface using the tension of the surface to shape it into a round bun without any cracks on top (this can take up to a minute depending on the consistency of your dough). If it is sticking too much to your hands, lightly grease your hands with oil (adding more flour at this stage will produce drier buns).

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Step 5 - Place each bun in the tray. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and allow the hot cross buns puff up and touch (around 10 minutes in a warm area). Mix the flour, cocoa powder and water together to form a pipeable batter. Place in a piping bag and snip off the end to half a centimetre. Pipe crosses on top of each bun. Bake for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Step 6 - While the buns are baking make the apricot glaze. Mix the apricot jam, hot water and cinnamon together to form a smooth glaze. Brush the glaze over the buns as soon as they are hot out of the oven. Cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm with butter or Nutella.

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

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