Hot Cross Buns are an Easter tradition in New Zealand.  Here’s a twist on an old recipe, combining both of the popular varieties of bun: chocolate and dried fruit.

There’s two options below, the traditional kneed on the bench, or an easier option than ‘getting your hands dirty’ with the dough – you just put it all in your breadmaker to mix. Either way you’ll form the buns by hand and bake in the oven at the other end.

Chocolate & Fruit Hot Cross Buns Recipe-dried fruit

This is a full-flavour recipe using port or brandy to pre-soak the dried fruit in for ultimate spice and flavour. There is no issue of anyone getting drunk eating these buns though. The alcohol is all but evaporated in the cooking process. But this is an optional step. Just skip the pre-soaking and jump straight to the recipe.

You can easily add the cross on top by making some flour and water paste, then piping like you would with icing by putting it in a zip-lock style plastic bag, cutting one corner, then squeezing and piping out the crosses from the bag. But I sometimes just call them an Easter bun and leave them as is!

I don’t usually glaze my buns with a traditional glaze, but rather just brush on some whisked egg before baking. If you want the more traditional bun you can also add a sugar glaze when they come out of the oven by mixing together 1 Tbsp of caster sugar with 1 Tbsp of boiling water. Brush on the glaze, then allow the buns to cool until just warm before eating.

Chocolate and Fruit Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Ingredients

2 Tbsp port, sherry or brandy (optional but provides a lot of flavour)

2 cups mixed dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc)

Wet

1 1/4 cups warm water (plus possibly some more – see method below)

2 Tbsp honey or golden syrup

75 grams butter, softened

Zest of one orange, plus 1 Tbsp of orange juice

Dry

1 tsp salt

1/4 c sugar

3 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup cocoa, sieved

1 Tbsp mixed spice

5 tsp yeast

(optional) 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method 1 kneed with a bread maker

If using the port or brandy, pre-soak the dried fruit in the alcohol for at least 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius.

Place all wet ingredients in the base of your breadmaker pan.  Place all dry ingredients on top, finishing with the yeast (and chocolate chips if desired).  Set breadmaker to dough cycle.

Note: dough does not always form in the same way, it depends on the flour you’ve used, temperature of ingredients etc.  I have found it’s best to watch the dough after it has formed (the first 10-15 minutes of the breadmaker cycle) and note how sticky or dry the dough is.  If it appears not all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, add slightly more water (or if it is very wet, sprinkle over a couple of tablespoons of flour at a time).  You need to achieve a dough that looks smooth and elastic to make it easy enough to roll into buns.

Once the dough cycle is finished, divide the dough into balls.  You can choose how big or small you want your buns to be – this dough can make around 12 large or 16-20 smaller buns.  Leave your formed buns in a warm location to rise – either cover with a towel and put them in the hot water cupboard, or set your oven to around 50 degrees, let it warm to temperature then switch it off and leave your buns in there until they have grown by 1/3 to 1/2.    Then you can top them with the crosses if you like.

Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes – until evenly brown on top

Method 2 kneed by hand

If using the port or brandy, pre-soak the dried fruit in the alcohol for at least 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius.

Place all the wet ingredients into a bowl. Then place all the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients. Now mix until just combined. Once the ingredients are combined tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured bench and kneed for 10 – 15 minuets. Place bowl back into an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minuets to rise.

Note:  If your dough appears to be sticky when kneading it add slightly more flour.

After 30 minuets divide the dough into balls.  You can choose how big or small you want your buns to be – this dough can make around 12 large or 16-20 smaller buns.  Leave your formed buns in a warm location to rise – either cover with a towel and put them in the hot water cupboard, or set your oven to around 50 degrees, let it warm to temperature then switch it off and leave your buns in there until they have grown by 1/3 to 1/2.    Then you can top them with the crosses if you like.

Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes – until evenly brown on top.

Serve with lashings of butter and a warm cup of tea.

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Sally is the Community Manager here at Kiwi Families. She fills her time with her handsome, busy boys and her handsome, busy husband; trying out new recipes and researching and writing about family life in Aotearoa.

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