Choc & Cherry Hot Cross Buns

I was tempted by adverts for Marks & Spencer’s chocolate hot cross buns for this easter but they were sooo expensive and I wanted to bake so I thought I’d try and make my own!!

Unfortunately all the recipes I saw online had candied peel in, which I detest, so I thought about using maraschino cherries instead. I also wanted something very chocolatey so I added some cocoa powder, which also helped to dry up the dough a little.

The below amounts make 12 of the most gorgeous soft chocolaty hot cross buns I’ve ever tasted. These won’t last long as they are addictive. Lovely hot from the oven or toasted with butter.

Ingredients
For the buns…
1 (7g sachet) fast action bread yeast
180ml warm milk
500g plain flour
2tbs cocoa powder
80g butter or margarine
pinch of salt
60g caster sugar
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons glacé or maraschino cherries chopped
1 egg, beaten
100g milk or dark chocolate chips
extra flour for dusting

For the cross…
75g plain flour
75ml water
15g ground almonds or a drop of almond extract

For the glaze…
80g caster sugar
3 tablespoons water

Method
1. Add the dried yeast to the warm milk in a jug and whisk. Cover and set aside for 5 or 10 minutes,
until it looks frothy.
2. In a kenwood with whisk setting mix flour, cocoa powder and margarine, until it looks like
breadcrumbs.
3. Next Add salt, sugar, spices and cherries.
4. Pour in the yeast-milk mixture, and add beaten egg and chocolate pieces.
5. Switch to the hook attachment and Mix and knead the dough for 5 – 10 minutes.
6. Poor the very sticky mix onto a very floured surface and shape into a ball.
7. Clean out the mixer bowl, oil and place the dough back in it. Cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
8. On another very floured surface knead again for a few minutes and then cut into 12 even sized buns, flouring each, then place in a lightly greased baking tin.
9. Leave in a warm place to rise again (about 30 mins). Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6/200c
10. To make the crosses mix flour, ground almonds and water together to form a soft paste. Using an icing bag or tool mark crosses on each bun.
11. Bake for 30 minutes until puffed up and brown.
12. To make the glaze: dissolve sugar with 3 tablespoons water in microwave or pan. Brush the
buns with the glaze while they are still hot. Cool on a rack until the glaze dries.

They may not look pretty but they taste Flabulous!!!

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