Chocolate hot cross buns are the ultimate, indulgent Easter breakfast idea. These little buns of heaven are a decadent twist on the traditional Easter bread recipe. The gorgeous crust gives way to a tender, pillowy interior filled with rich chocolate chips, begging to be devoured.
The aroma of any baking bread makes all manners of problems vaporize. A whiff of these freshly baked hot cross buns? It’s intoxicating. The sweet scent of chocolate chips spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg will leave you drooling in anticipation.
WHAT IS A HOT CROSS BUN?
Hot cross buns are a staple at Easter breakfast or Easter brunch. These slightly sweet buns, typically eaten during Lent and on Good Friday, are made with rich yeasty dough stuffed with raisins or currants. They are spiced (signifying the embalming of Christ) and have a cross on them (representing Christ’s crucifixion).
This time around, I wanted to add icing to the cake (or the bun, in this case), so I sneaked in cocoa in the dough. For an extra layer of richness and depth, I folded in chocolate chips. Bursting with gooey goodness, they perfectly complement the warm spices that dance on your tongue.
WHY TRY THIS CHOCOLATE HOT CROSS BUNS RECIPE?
Mouth-watering, soft, and fluffy
Delicious with butter slathered on top
Perfect for Sunday Easter breakfast, brunch, or anytime you're craving a sweet, satisfying snack
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE HOT CROSS BUNS?
Step 1: Combine lukewarm milk with a pinch of sugar and 2 spoons of yeast and set it in a draft-free corner of your kitchen till it's frothy and bubbly.
Step 2: Meanwhile, prepare the dough by whisking together all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, clove powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, and cocoa powder in a large bowl.
Step 3: Stir the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients along with the coconut oil. Use the back of a wooden spoon or fork to form a shaggy, rough mass.
Step 4: If you’re kneading by hand, transfer the scraggy dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for a good 10 to 12 minutes until you have smooth, elastic Easter hot cross bun dough.
Alternative step: If you're using a stand mixer, begin at low speed. After a couple of minutes, increase the speed and knead till you have a soft dough that starts to leave the sides. About 8 to 10 minutes.
Step 5: First proof the dough by transferring it to a greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or cling wrap and let it rest in a corner until it doubles in size.
Step 6: Take out the risen dough on a lightly floured surface and gently mix in the chocolate chips by hand.
Step 7: After the chocolate chips are distributed evenly, divide the dough into equal pieces.
Step 8: Shape the hot cross buns by rolling each piece into a ball and then place (just about touching each other) on your prepped baking tray.
Step 9: Cover again to second-proof the chocolate buns. This one will take about 45 to 50 minutes, or till double in size.
Step 10: Brush with milk and then pipe the cross by combining 2 tablespoons of water with 2 tablespoons of flour. You'll have a thick smooth mixture, put it in a piping bag, and then form the cross on each risen bun.
Step 11: Bake for 20 minutes, and the little beauties are ready to eat.
Final step: Cool a bit and dig in!
CHOCOLATE BUN RECIPE NOTES
- After the first proof, you don’t need to punch down the dough or knead it.
- A great way to make sure you get light buns and not dense ones is to avoid repeatedly pinching or recutting when dividing the hot cross bun dough.
- The dough for chocolate hot cross buns is supposed to be slightly sticky and moist, so refrain from adding too much flour when kneading. That’s what makes up fluffy buns.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE DOUGH IS DONE?
Instead of timing the kneading, look for visual and textural cues. It should look smooth, which means it has a great gluten structure with air trapped inside, giving you the softest buns.
It should also be very soft and tacky to touch (poke your finger; there should be some resistance when you remove it).
HOW TO STORE HOT CROSS BUNS?
None of us wanted to wait, so my family obliterated them as soon as they were cool enough to hold. And that’s the best way to enjoy hot cross buns with chocolate chips.
My suggestion? Have as-is or slathered with butter. I’m happy dunking them in my tea too.
But if you do have leftover chocolate hot cross buns, cover them well and stash them in the refrigerator. Whenever you want to serve, either microwave them for 20 to 30 seconds or place them in a preheated oven for a few minutes, so they are warm and fresh.
VARIATION HOT CROSS BUN RECIPES
Vegan: Switch to any plant-based milk to activate the yeast. You can even use water as I did for my original hot cross buns recipe. Milk makes them richer.
Flour: Feel free to substitute all-purpose for whole wheat, or you can use half of each.
Dry fruits: Traditionally, Easter buns have dry fruits; I choose not to add them to my chocolate hot cross buns recipe. If you’re in the mood for texture, cranberries, raisins, and black currants will lend a lot of character to the bread.
Some orange zest in the dough would be fantastic, as the combination of chocolate and orange is positively spectacular.
NEED A RECIPE FOR EASTER BRUNCH?
Half the joy of cooking is sharing it with others, which is why I’m always eager to hear from you. So go right ahead and drop a comment or reach out on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or Facebook. I hope you love these chocolate hot cross buns as much as we do!
Simple Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
- 3/4 cup / 178 ml Milk, lukewarm
- 2 tsp Yeast I used dried active yeast
- 1 pinch Sugar
- 2 cups / 250 gms All-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup /18 gms Cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup / 60 gms Granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp Clove powder
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 4 tbsp Coconut oil, melted Please use any oil you prefer
- 3/4 cup / 130 gms Dark chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp All-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp Water
- Combine milk and yeast in a cup along with a pinch of sugar. Keep aside for 5-7 minutes till frothy.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, and clove powder.
- Now add the yeast mixture and oil to the dry ingredients and mix well. Knead well on a floured surface for 10-12 minutes. The dough should be soft, elastic, and a tad sticky.You can also knead the dough in a stand mixer for 8-10 minutes on medium speed.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
- Keep a baking tray ready, lined with baking/parchment paper.
- Take the dough out on a floured surface, mix in the chocolate chips gently until evenly distirbuted. Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces.
- Roll each piece into a ball and place on the tray. The dough balls should barely be touching each other. Cover lightly with a damp tea towel and place in a draft-free warm place to let the double in size.
- Preheat your oven to 200C. Brush the dough balls lightly with milk or cream.
- Make a thick paste with flour and water. Transfer to a piping bag, snip off the end, and pipe a cross on each of the buns.
- Bake for about 20 -22 minutes. Transfer them to a cooling rack and serve them warm. Enjoy!