This is a little late for Easter this year, but I was so busy baking before Easter I didn’t have time to think. I could have sworn I had put this on here last year, so when I went to look for the recipe, I actually checked here first and realized it wasn’t up yet.
This is quickly becoming a tradition with our family. I actually make several batches of this dough, as I need to make buns for everyone. And as my mother states, the ones you get in the store are bland, but not mine. They are spicy (the good kind, not hot spicy) and of course, chocolate, because, for no other reason than CHOCOLATE!!
My mom likes fruit in hers, so I have to make an extra batch just for her with currants in them, but everyone else prefers them to be just Chocolate Spice.
They are great the first day, but will actually keep for up to a week (and they freeze increadibly well – just wrap them up really good). I always heat them up in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds when I eat them. I think of them more as a dessert than an actual bun. It’s sort of like Stollen at Christmas (something I only make and have never eaten), technically it’s a bread, but really it’s dessert.
The best part of this recipe is everything goes into the stand mixer at once (except the chocolate and orange zest – although I have dumped these in at the beginning – you just end up with a chocolate dough and no little bits of chocolate, which is good too and I have added extra chocolate to the buns when shaping them – BONUS CHOCOLATE!). You knead the dough on speed 2 to 3 for 5 minutes, in the last minute add in the chocolate and orange zest. They may not get fully mixed in, but once the 5 minutes is up, turn the dough out onto the counter and knead or a minute or so by hand, just to incorporate the chocolate evenly.
I use mini chocolate chips, which means they tend to melt quickly into the dough. If you prefer bigger pieces of chocolate, you can always use larger chips, which means they won’t fully melt into the buns when kneading.
Let the dough rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (I usually do this in my oven with the light turned on, but as I was making so many batches this year – 5 – I let them sit on top of the stove, which meant it took nearly 3 hours for the dough to rise properly. Remember this is an enriched dough with the eggs and chocolate and if adding, fruit.)
Once the dough is doubled in size, divide the dough into 18 pieces. I use two 8″ square disposable pans, sprayed with baking spray. Shape the pieces of dough into balls, rolling them on the counter. Place 9 in each pan, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until puffy – about 45 minutes to an hour. Though, depending on how cold or warm it is in your home this could take longer or shorter. It took almost 1 1/2 hours for my buns to rise afer shaping. They won’t double in size, but you do want them to be puffy, and touching each other.
While the buns are rising, pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Once the buns are ready, bake for 30 minutes.
Once the buns come out of the oven, quickly make the glaze. This seriously takes maybe 2 minutes to make. My husband was shocked at how quickly it was made. Sugar, water and some vanilla in a small pot on medium heat. Bring to a boil – the syrup will go from cloudy to clear as the foam on top goes down. Turn the heat off and brush this syrup over top of the buns – use all of the syrup. Then allow the buns to cool completely before piping on the crosses.
Once you have piped on the crosses, allow the icing to set up before you wrap the buns, to make sure they don’t stick to the plastic wrap on top.
Chocolate Spice Hot-Cross Buns
(Makes 18 buns)
3/4 cup milk, warmed (105 to 110°F)
4 tsp instant (bread machine) yeast
1/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup oil
3 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 cup chocolate chips (mini – semi-sweet)
Zest of a large orange
1/3 cup currants (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp water
Splash of vanilla
3/4 cup icing sugar
4 tsp milk
For the dough:
Place all ingredients in bowl of stand mixer, except chocolate and orange zest. Mix on speed 2 for 5 minutes. During the last minute, add in the chocolate and orange zest.
Scrape dough out of bowl and knead on counter for 1 minute to fully incorporate the chocolate and orange zest.
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and place in a warm spot to allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled.
Once doubled, divide dough into 18 equal pieces (I weigh out my dough), and shape into balls, placing into prepared pans (2 – 8″ square pans – 9 in each pan). Cover and allow to rise until puffy – about 45 minutes to an hour.
Pre-heated oven to 350°F while buns are rising.
Bake buns in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and prepare the glaze.
Bring sugar, water and vanilla to a boil, once the foam has subsided and the liquid is clear, remove from heat and brush over buns, using all the glaze.
Allow the glazed buns to cool completely in the tins before piping on the icing cross.
Mix together the icing sugar and milk into a thick paste – no too thick, as you need to be able to pipe this, but you want it quite thick so it keeps it’s shape when piped and doesn’t run off the buns.
Allow icing to fully set before wrapping up.
Buns will keep for up to a week well wrapped, or you can freeze them.