Sorry for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks, but between work and daily life it’s been very busy of late. However, I’m back and I have some great baking posts lined up.
Easter is early this year so with only two weeks to go I decided to get into the spirit and make some chocolate and orange hot cross buns. Now the chocolate and orange detail is very important of which I’ll talk about later. I’ve never made hot cross buns before so this recipe really appealed to me because I love making anything that is bread-based and I find enriched dough very easy to work with. As usual I tinkered with the recipe and used both wholemeal and white flour rather than just strong white bread flour.
Since getting a food mixer I’ve become quite lazy and I usually use my mixer to start the dough off. This is mainly because I find it less messy. However, I still think working it by hand is the best way to find out when the dough is ready so I normally finish off kneading the dough by hand for a few minutes. I also find a mixer disappointing in terms of its reach as I always have to intervene to make sure all the mixture has been incorporated. So, if I was to choose between buying a food mixer and a food processor I would always choose the food processor as I think it’s a lot more versatile and I definitely get more use out of it.
As with most bread recipes these buns need to prove twice before they are ready to go in the oven, so while you are waiting for them to rise on the second prove it gives you enough time to make the crosses, which is just a mix of flour and water. I added some orange juice to my mixture to try and intensify the orange flavour, but sadly it didn’t come through. And I considered changing the cross for a love heart, but in the end I decided to stick with the traditional look!
So with the buns all ready to go in the oven I started to think about what they would taste like when they came out and I suddenly had a thought… I don’t actually like hot cross buns all that much, so why had I bothered to make them? I asked my husband the same question and he said the same thought had crossed his mind and he wondered why I was making them. So in the end the only conclusion I came to was that I was so carried away with the thought of chocolate orange, my favourite flavor combination, and trying out a new recipe that I hadn’t thought about actually eating them!
However, I have to concede that homemade buns taste much better than shop bought ones, which I find stodgy and bland, and with a good cup of strong coffee these are the perfect way to the start the day. I would even go so far as say that I’d make them again but I would add more orange zest or flavouring as I don’t think the orange comes through as much as I hoped it would. In terms of texture these buns are spot on and although they are not as soft after the first few days they are fine once they have been toasted.My recipe came from the Good Food magazine, but there are plenty of others available online. However, if you’d like this recipe please let me know and I’ll be happy to add it.