The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Sharing a hot cross bun with someone is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. Because there is a cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten. If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns! Hot Cross Buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha’ penny, Two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns

Dress up your buns for Easter! We’ve glamorized the traditional Hot Cross Bun by lightly sweetened with cocoa, cinnamon and tender dried cherries strewn throughout. The egg yolk wash gives these buns the signature browned, glossy finish, making a canvas for the namesake cross, a painting of milk, cocoa and sugar icing.”

Hot Cross BunsPrep Time: 20 Minutes
Bake Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 3 Hours 30 Minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:
3/4 cup warm water (110º F)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon instant powdered milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup dried and sweetened cherries, small dice
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons water

For the icing:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 teaspoons whole milk (use a little more or less depending on how fluid the mixture is)

Directions:

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the warm water, butter, skim milk powder, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg, egg white, flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and yeast. Mix for about 7 minutes until the dough begins to cling to the dough hook. Roll it into a ball and cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and let it rise for the first time in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until the dough ball doubles in size.
  2. Punch down the dough down on floured surface, add cherries and cinnamon. Knead for 5 minutes and shape into 12 balls and place in a greased 9 x 12 inch pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double, about 35-40 minutes.
  3. Mix egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Brush on balls.
  4. Bake at 375º F for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.
  5. To make decorative crosses: mix together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Pipe a cross on each cooled bun.

ChefSecret: You can also make chocolate only or two-tone decorative crosses. For the chocolate crosses, mix together 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder , a drop or two of almond extract and 3 teaspoons of milk. Pipe a chocolate cross on each cooled bun or atop the white cross previously piped and set. After all, you can never have enough chocolate.

If you have the time, soak the cherries in a little port or brandy for about 30 minutes for additional flavor. It also helps the cherries from scorching if on the outside edge of the bun when baking.

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