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Hot Cross Buns with Dark Chocolate

Hot Cross Buns with added dark chocolate pieces, dried cherries, and/or raisins. Traditionally eaten on Good Friday before Easter, these spiced sweet rolls will be a holiday hit.

Hot Cross Buns with added dark chocolate pieces, dried cherries, and/or raisins.

Hot cross buns ALMOST ended up permanently on my Failed list.

Logically, I don't know how I messed it up the first time. No matter what, you'd think you'll still end up with deliciously sweet bread, right?

Wrong.

There are about a million recipes online for hot cross buns and I tried to combine a bunch of them. Leave it to me to go off-script and ruin something as timeless as hot cross buns.

Somehow mine ended up hard and tasteless. I tried to add the yeast directly to the milk instead of proofing it in water first (never works for me), not enough spices, and who knows what else.

But never fear, I did not abandon the project! Since I've already given you both my Nana's Easter recipes (here and here), I wanted to add to the list this year.

Hot Cross Buns with the options for added dark chocolate pieces and raisins and/or dried cherries.

What makes a hot cross bun a hot cross bun? Basically it's spiced (with cinnamon and possibly nutmeg), with added dried fruit (usually raisins or currants) and a cross usually made out of either icing or pie crust.

I wanted to make mine a little bit different so I decided to add dark chocolate pieces and use cherries instead. I also made a batch with a mixture of dried cherries and raisins together (mostly because I was running out of cherries), so go with whatever proportion you feel like.

Since my first batch was such a fail, I figured I couldn't go wrong starting with a tried and true recipe and adapting from there.

Enter: Nana's Easter bread.

I started with that recipe (minus some of the butter and added egg yolks), added spices and sweetness. And orange juice! That's my secret ingredient in some recipes that need a hint more sweetness, and I figured it would work here since I've seen some recipes that use orange rind.

Hot cross buns with dark chocolate before baking    Hot cross buns with dark chocolate after egg and nutmeg glaze, before baking.

The second picture above has an egg glaze with some grated nutmeg on top.

You can either mix in the chocolate pieces or press some into the top of the dough before baking.

Hot cross buns with dark chocolate and dried cherries with icing cross.Hot cross buns with dark chocolate pieces and dried cherries.

My crosses might need some work.

ALSO I learned that there is a thing called “not cross buns.” I wanted to call this post “not hot cross buns” but then all I could think of was that dumb game “hot or not hot.” Isn't that similar to how Facebook started?

Anyway, to get back on track, a NOT cross bun is just one that doesn't have a cross on top. They originated because people started to get mad (/cross) when hot cross buns were sold before Good Friday (since that is when they are traditionally eaten in some countries or religions). To I guess make people happier (/not cross), some bakeries started putting something other than a cross as decoration.

Like a smiley face. 🙂

"Not cross" buns made with dark chocoalte

All of my decorating needs some work. I get it.
Hot Cross Buns with the options for added dark chocolate pieces and raisins and/or dried cherries. Makes two dozen.
Do you have any Good Friday or Easter traditions?

If you make this recipe, tag it on Instagram with #trialandeater and @trialandeater, I'd love to see!

Recommended and useful items for this hot cross buns with dark chocolate and dried cherries or raisins recipe:

Hot Cross Buns with the options for added dark chocolate pieces and raisins and/or dried cherries. Makes two dozen.
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5 from 10 votes

Hot Cross Buns with Dark Chocolate

Hot Cross Buns with added dark chocolate pieces, dried cherries, and/or raisins. Traditionally eaten on Good Friday before Easter, these spiced sweet rolls will be a holiday hit.
Course Dessert
Cuisine European
Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 24 buns
Calories 206kcal
Author Kelly @ Trial and Eater

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (no pulp)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick or 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast (2 packets)
  • 1/2 cup hot water (around 115°F)
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cherries or raisins, or a mixture
  • 3.5 ounces good quality dark chocolate , broken into pieces

For glaze (optional):

  • 1 egg
  • nutmeg for sprinkling (optional)

For icing:

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk

Instructions

  • In a medium pot, heat the milk, sugar, orange juice, butter and salt on the stovetop over medium heat. Stir occasionally and remove from heat once butter has melted (about 5 minutes). Do not let boil.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the yeast by mixing it with the hot water. Let sit for 5 minutes until bubbly.
  • Add the yeast mixture and 2 cups flour to a large mixing bowl. When combined, add in milk mixture, eggs, remaining flour and cinnamon.
  • Knead with a dough hook or by hand for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add in dried cherries and chocolate pieces while kneading.
  • Let rise in bowl for 1 hour.
  • Separate into 24 rolls and place on greased baking sheets or pie pans. Let rise for another 30 minutes to an hour. Glaze tops of buns with a beaten egg and sprinkle freshly grated nutmeg if using.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 22-27 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Prepare icing by combining powdered sugar and milk in small bowl. Once buns have slightly cooled, add icing in the shape of a cross (or any other desired shape to make "not cross buns!").

Notes

Recipe modified using this Easter Paska bread recipe as a base.

Need more Easter recipe ideas? Check out this list of 40+ vegetarian Easter mains, sides, and desserts.

Hot Cross Buns with added dark chocolate pieces, dried cherries, and/or raisins. Traditionally eaten on Good Friday before Easter, these spiced sweet rolls will be a holiday hit.

 

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Daniela Anderson

Saturday 22nd of April 2017

Easter or not, hot cross buns are my favourite. In fact, in the UK they are available in supermarkets throughout the year, and they go down a treat with some butter on them. I love the addition of dark chocolate, it sounds great!

Amy

Thursday 20th of April 2017

I have never had hot cross buns but now I most definitely need to try them! Love the idea of cherries and chocolate!

Natalie

Tuesday 18th of April 2017

I loveeee Cross Buns. Honestly, I love to make ones no matter what season or holiday! Kelly, these buns looks absolutely perfect. I love the addition of dried fruits.... and smiley face ;)

Kelly

Wednesday 19th of April 2017

The smiley face makes me laugh! Thanks Natalie!

Kylee from Kylee Cooks

Monday 17th of April 2017

I love Hot Cross Buns - they are my favorite part of the holiday! Reminds me of my childhood, my mother and grandmother and I in the kitchen, shaping these and then munching on them for days. These look fabulous!

Lori Vachon

Monday 17th of April 2017

Great additions into this classic dish! I love taking delicious classics and adding my own twist, these look great!