Easter has come and gone but I think Hot Cross Buns are a great treat any time of year. This is the second time I made this recipe and I made some changes this time because the first time they didn’t turn out so well (at least to my definition of well). This doesn’t mean that no one liked the first batch – to the contrary, my husband’s co-workers couldn’t get enough of them. They just weren’t like Hot Cross Buns, they were more like a thick, dense cookie bar.
On to the success story… My second attempt worked out wonderfully. The buns turned out fluffy, light and delicious. How did this happen (you might ask)? There are three reasons:
- I’ve changed how I get my breads to rise. I still put the dough in the oven but I don’t warm it by turning it on, I just add a pot of boiling water to warm the oven and turn the light on to ensure the temperature stays warm enough.
- I changed the amount of the chocolate chips and the timing of when to add them to the dough.
- Instead of using milk, I used buttermilk.
The chocolate party is a linky party hosted by Roxana’s Home Baking and has a different theme every month. As it turns out, the #chocolateparty theme for April pairs buttermilk and chocolate which is great considering the modifications I made to this recipe. The only thing I would change the next time I make this recipe is to use milk chocolate chips with a rough chop (just because they’re larger than the semi-sweet chips). I like the flavor of milk chocolate better in some recipes. Would you keep the semi-sweet chips or change to milk chocolate?
Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
Yield: 15 or 16 Buns Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 2 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, warmed to 110 degrees
- 1 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 4 1/2 cups flour plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter plus additional for greasing the bowl and baking pan (or you can use cooking spray instead of additional butter)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or substitute milk chocolate chips chopped in half or quarters)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons hot water
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water
Step 1: Warm milk in the microwave to 110 degrees. One minute and 25 seconds works in my glass 2 cup measure. I used my candy thermometer to check the temperature. If you are transferring to a small bowl, warm the bowl so the milk doesn’t cool. Add the sugar and yeast to the milk and stir to combine. Set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes. I used the boiling water in the oven method for this step too. The mixture should grow and become foamy.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl of your electric mixer, stir together flour and salt. In the center of the flour form a well. Add the butter, egg and yeast into the well. Mix the ingredients and slowly incorporate more and more flour until the flour is completely incorporated and a dough is formed. Using a dough hook on your electric mixer, knead the dough for approximately five minutes. The dough should now be smooth and elastic. If necessary, you may add a little more flour.
Step 3: Prepare a large bowl by greasing it with butter or cooking spray. Transfer the dough into the bowl and turn it so the entire dough becomes greased. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour (I used the boiling water in the oven method here too). After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size.
Step 4: On a clean work surface, lightly sprinkle some flour. Place the dough on the floured surface. Deflate the dough. Add the chocolate chips. Incorporate the chips by kneading the dough. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife cut the dough into 15 or 16 evenly sized dough balls. If you’re using a 9 by 13 inch pan, you may want make 3 by 5 rows of buns or your pan may fit 4 by 4 rows of buns. Let this determine whether you should make 15 or 16 buns, otherwise you could wind up with a few oddly shaped buns. Place the buns in a greased or parchment lined baking pan. The buns should be set closely together in the pan. Cover the buns and let them rise for 20 minutes (since I have a double oven, I used the boiling water in the oven method here too).
Step 5: In a 400 degree preheated oven, bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes. The buns will be golden brown and smell delicious.
Step 6: Glaze: While the buns are baking, combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons of hot water in a small bowl. Mix until the sugar dissolves. If necessary, additional hot water in small increments but do not exceed a total of 3 tablespoons (i.e. the original 2 tablespoons plus up to an additional 1 tablespoon).
Step 7: After the buns are finished baking, take them out of the oven. Using a pastry brush, coat the buns with all the glaze immediately after removing them from the oven. Move the buns to a wire rack and let them cool in the pan.
Step 8: Crosses: In a medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk (or water) to create the icing mixture. You may add up to 1 additional tablespoon of milk to get to the a piping consistency. Fill a piping bag with the icing and pipe crosses on the buns. Alternatively you can fill the corner of a plastic ziploc bag, and snip 1/4 inch opening in end to pipe the crosses. Many like these buns served warm but I thought they were delicious at room temperature.
Storing: Store buns in a sealed plastic container or covered with plastic wrap for a few days.
Tips: If your house is chilly like mine always is and your dough doesn’t rise, you can boil a pot of water while preparing the dough and place the water and dough in a cold oven. The boiling water will create a warm moist environment in the oven for the dough to rise well.
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