Soft and fluffy spiced bread studded with chocolate chips, these choc chip hot cross buns are the perfect way to celebrate Easter
HOT CROSS BUNS! One of my favourite breads… The lightly spiced dough with chocolate chips (sorry raisins) is the perfect combination. There are a lot of variations of hot cross buns that are coming out these days, but nothing beats a good chocolate one, packed with chocolate chips. And when you toast them with a little butter… AMAZING.
To be honest I wasn’t sure whether to share this recipe or not, just because there are so many amazing hot cross bun recipes out there. But, it seemed like so many of you wanted to give it a go, so here it is!
This is my go-to recipe and it’s delicious! Baking bread might seem a little intimidating for beginners, but this recipe is surprisingly easy and forgiving so I recommend you give it a go! I’ve added some tips throughout the recipe as well to help you guys get the best results.
2022 Update: I've been baking this recipe for years, and it was one of the first recipes up on this blog. I wanted to update this blog post with more tips and info to do this recipe justice, and help you all recreate the fluffiest buns in time for Easter!
What are hot cross buns?
Hot cross buns are a sweet spiced bun that are baked to celebrate the end of lent. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday in Commonwealth countries and hold significance within Christianity.
The dough is flavoured with spices like cinnamon, allspice, and orange peel, and filled with dried fruits, most typically raisins. The buns are then baked with a cross made up of a flour and water mixture and brushed with jam for a shiny glaze.
The most popular way to eat these is toasted with a good slathering of butter, and they taste absolutely delicious!
Tips for perfect hot cross buns
A couple of tips for creating the perfect hot cross bun!
Use lukewarm milk
The temperature of the milk is one of the most important things when making bread. If the milk is too hot it could kill the yeast, and if it is not warm enough the environment will be too cold for the yeast to thrive.
Make sure your milk is at blood temperature. You can judge this temperature by putting your finger in the milk. At the perfect temperature, you shouldn't be able to feel it, this is because the milk is at the same temperature as your body!
Knead until the windowpane stage
One of the best indications of whether your dough has been kneaded enough is whether it can pass the windowpane test. The windowpane test is when you flatten and stretch a piece of dough as thin as possible. If the dough can be stretched into a paper-thin sheet without tearing the dough is ready!
The test is called a window-pane test as the sheet of dough should be thin enough to pass light.
This test is an indication of how much gluten has been formed during the kneading process. Gluten is needed when making bread as it gives the buns structural integrity, allowing the buns to hold air and get nice and fluffy.
Add more or less flour as needed
While you can follow a recipe to make bread, flour doesn't act the same all the time. There are a lot of different factors that come into play when making bread. The temperature, humidity, and flour type are all reasons why your dough may be drier or sticker on different days.
If you notice your dough looking too wet add a little more flour, if it's too dry add a splash of water. Make sure you only add a little at a time as too much of either will affect the texture of the bread.
The final dough should be slightly tacky, but it shouldn't stick to your hands.
Frequently asked questions
How long do these last?
These last for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge, but they are best when freshly baked!
When eating them out of the fridge make sure to heat them up in an oven, toaster, or microwave to return the bread to its soft and fluffy texture.
How should I enjoy these?
These are delicious as they are, but are commonly toasted and spread with butter! Give both ways a go and see what you like better.
Why is my dough so sticky?
Depending on the weather, temperature, and humidity the flour will absorb different amounts of liquid. As a result, there may be days when the dough is a lot sticker than usual.
Just add a little bit of flour at a time until the dough reaches the right consistency. The dough should be a little tacky, but it shouldn't stick to your hands.
Why didn't my hot cross buns rise?
There are a couple of reasons why your bread didn't rise:
- The yeast wasn't active: Make sure your yeast isn't too old. Yeast is a living organism, and therefore needs to be alive in order to help the dough rise. Make sure your yeast isn't too old and is still active. You can test this by mixing some of the yeast with lukewarm milk. If the milk froths up after 5-10 minutes the yeast is good to go!
- The milk was too hot: If the milk was too hot when added it will kill the yeast. The bread won't be able to rise as a result
- The milk was too cold: If the milk was cold the environment of the dough is too cold for optimal yeast activity, resulting in a reduced rise.
- The dough wasn't proofed enough: If the dough isn't given enough time to proof the yeast won't have had time to add air to the buns, resulting in a reduced rise.
My hot cross buns of choice are chocolate chip, but there are so many possible variations. Here are a couple you can give a go!
- Traditional: replace the chocolate chips with raisins or sultanas. Make sure you hydrate these before folding them into the dough so they are plump and juicy once baked up. I would soak the dried fruit in water overnight before baking.
- Coffee: Infuse the milk with ground coffee or 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder for coffee-flavoured buns!
- Cherry chocolate: replace half the chocolate chips with chopped glace cherries
Let's Get Baking!
Whether you're looking for a fun Easter holiday project or a damn good hot cross bun recipe this is the one!
If you make this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below. I would love to hear how it went.
Also don't forget to tag me on instagram @catherine.justdessertsau and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts!Print
Best Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns
Easter calls for hot cross buns, and these are the best chocolate chip hot cross buns; soft and fluffy spiced bread studded with chocolate chips. When toasted with a slab of butter these are the only bread you will ever need to eat!
- Prep Time: 150 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 170 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- 500 g Plain flour (3 ½ cups)
- 1 tbsp Instant yeast
- 80 g Caster sugar (½ cup)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp All spice
- ½ tsp Pinch of nutmeg
- 250 g Full cream milk, warm (1 cup)
- 1 Large egg, beaten
- 60 g Unsalted butter, melted and cooled (4 tbsp)
- 1 cup Milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup Semi sweet chocolate chips
- 4 tbsp Apricot jam
- 2 tbsp Water
- 6 tbsp Flour
- Water, to see
- In a mixing bowl combine flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt (TIP: make sure to add the salt and yeast on separate sides of the bowl to ensure yeast stays active)
- In a small bowl add the milk, butter and egg, whisk to combine (TIP: make sure the milk is at body temperature, or at least no higher than 45°C as this will kill the yeast)
- Add the milk mixture to your dry ingredients and mix until a shaggy dough forms (TIP: if the dough seems too wet add a little flour, and if it seems to dry add a little water. Don't add too much as this ruins the texture of the buns later!)
- Transfer to a flat surface and knead until the dough is soft and smooth (TIP: Checking if it passes the windowpane test ensure for a softer, fluffier bun!)
- Place in a medium sized lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or cling wrap and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour)
- Remove from bowl, press to remove gas and then knead in the chocolate chips
- Divide the dough into 12 portions
- Roll the portions into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2cm apart
- Cover with a tea towel or cling wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (about 30 minutes)
- Meanwhile mix the flour for the cross with some water until a thick, pipeable paste forms and place in a piping bag
- Once the buns have doubled in size add the crosses by piping a horizontal line across all the buns in a row, and then a vertical line down all the buns in a column
- Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for 20-25 minutes
- While they are baking make the glaze by combining the jam and water in a small bowl
- Heat it for 30 seconds in the microwave until a smooth glaze forms
- Once the buns are done remove them from the oven and brush them with the glaze using a pastry brush