Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hot Cross Buns - 2 Flavours - Double Choc Cinnamon Chip and Mixed Fruit & Spices

        With Good Friday and Easter only days away, I thought I would get my hot cross buns post up. I attempted to make these last year for Good Friday, but they were made last minute. I hadn't planned on making them last year and Ryan showed up at my doorstep proclaiming he had totally forgotten to grab some from the shops, so I offered to 'whip some up' but they didn't turn out too good. This year I thought I would plan ahead, and actually have them ready for Easter week starting with Palm Sunday.
        I wanted to steer away from the the traditional sultana, peel & spice mix, the traditional buns are readily available all over the place anyway, so if I was going to make my own, I might as well put my own spin on them. The two flavours I end up with are, Chocolate with Milk Chocolate Chips & Cinnamon Chips, and Mixed Fruit & Spice (Sultana, Apricot, Cranberry & Mixed Spices).

        I based my buns on this recipe from taste. I doubled the recipe for each flavour I made, which meant I was going to be pumping out 4 batches of hot cross buns - all in one day! I had to enlist the help of Mum's small commercial mixer, my little KitchenAid just didn't quite have the capacity for a double batch of dough. And I spent all day in the kitchen, from the moment I woke up (at 11am) until I left the house that evening to head over to Ryan's place.
        I counted 192 hot cross buns at the end of the day. Yes, 192! Crazy I know. They were mini, but they were many. I wanted to make heaps, so that I had plenty to give around to my family and also for Ryan's family. While I was baking, I thought I might as well make extra to take to work too. So that's how I ended up with my 4 batches. 2 batches would not have been enough and any less than 4 would have been messy trying to calculate ratios and proportions and what not.

Mixed Fruit & Spice Hot Cross Buns
• 1 1/2 cups warm milk
• 2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
• 1/4 cup caster sugar
• 60g butter, melted
• 1 egg, lightly whisked
• 4 cups plain 00 flour
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 1 1/2 tsp all spice
• 1/2 cup dried apricots
• 1/2 cup sultanas
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Variation - Chocolate with Milk Chocolate & Cinnamon Chips
• Replace 1/2 cup of flour with 2/3 cup cocoa powder
• Omit the spices 
• Replace fruit with 1 cup milk chocolate chips and 1 cup Hershey’s Cinnamon chips

Flour Paste
• 1/2 cup plain flour
• 1/3 cup water
• 1/2 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 tsp vanilla powder

Bun Glaze
• 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
• 1/2 cup (170g) apricot jam
• or one part sugar and one part water

Make the buns:
1. Combine milk, yeast and 1 tbsp of sugar and leave aside in a warm place until frothy.
2. Combine all the remaining dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly, make a well in the centre.
3. Beat the egg and melted butter into the milk and yeast mixture.
4. Pour into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
5. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 - 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
6. Place in a bowl and cover, leave in a warm place until dough doubles in size.
7. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius and grease a baking tray or cookie sheet.
8. Punch down the dough to get rid of the air bubbles, divide and roll into balls and place onto the baking tray. Set aside in a warm place until grown by at least a couple of cm.
Make the flour paste:
9. Combine all the ingredients and mix until smooth. Fill a piping bag with a small nozzle or any plastic sleeve will do (just snip off one corner)
10. Pipe rows onto the buns horizontally and vertically.
11. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees celcius for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 180 degrees celcius and bake for another 20 minutes.
Make the bun glaze:
12. Mix together the apricot jam and water and mix over medium heat until combined. Or combine the sugar and water and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens.
13. Brush over buns while still hot.

        Rolled balls of dough waiting for the second rising. If I was going to do this again I wouldn't put them so close together. They really grow when baked.

        My rows of crosses. Probably could have made the flour paste much thicker. On Ryan's complaint that the crosses on the hot cross buns are always so plain, I flavoured mine with a bit of sugar and vanilla powder. Don't think it made such a difference because my crosses kind of just blended into the bun.

        This is what happens when you try to squish too many buns onto the one tray. I brushed them with the sugar glaze and then decided they could probably do with another 5 or so minutes in the oven so popped them back in.

        Don't ever do that (cram too many buns on one tray, and bake them again once glazed). Oops, baking them further with the sugar glaze crystalised the top, great crispy toffee like tops though.

        I ran out of flour paste for my fruit buns so had to make up another batch. Was a little sloppy and ended up with a much runnier consistency but... I was feeling a little too lazy to fix it up by now. I also never followed the recipe properly hence me stuffing up the crosses.

Finally! All my hot cross buns are baked.

        They were absolutely soft and fluffy and fragrant eaten straight after they're out of the oven and cooled enough to handle. Even though I didn't rebake the fruit buns after glazing them I also ended up with crystalised sugar syrup on them when they cooled. Think it was to do with my syrup mixture, and the fact that I had to keep reheating it because it went cold in between. It all dissolves overnight though.

        Breakfast the next day. The buns actually stiffen and dry a little overnight - the only downside of home made 'bread' but a quick zap in the microwave or a quick toast under a grill and they are alive again! The upside of home made buns is that you can pack them with as much flavour as you like. Even though my buns were smaller than your average store bought ones, each one was packed full of either choc and cinnamon chips or fruit and spice. I also find the store bought ones a bit on the too sweet side, so adjusted the amount of sugar in mine and they were lovely. Because they were not too sweet and were absolutely light and fluffy, it was hard to stop at one. Smother with a bit (or a lot) of butter/spread and serve with a cup of tea and you have the most perfect Easter breakfast.

        Being the good niece/cousin/future daughter in law/colleague I divide up my buns so no one misses out. (Okay I lie, there are so many more family members (and friends) who are missing out but sometimes it's just not feasible to include absolutely everyone. I promise one day I will get around to you all, and visit with some baked goodies). Ryan and his family loved them, he even suggested that I bake some for his Church to serve after the Good Friday Mass this weekend. Work colleagues loved them too. But who in that place doesn't love my baking =p. Don't know if I can go back to store bought hot cross buns now. Home made is just so much better hehe ;)


Maria said...

They look great Angie! I bet that gorgeous KitchenAid made the kneading a whole lot easier ;-) These buns look like a perfect way to celebrate Easter!

chocolatesuze said...

"and they are alive again" HAHAHA best line ever! your buns look great and i reckon id love the crystalised sugar ones!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Well done! I can't believe how many you made. You're practically a bakery! :D

lateraleating said...

Cinnamon chips! Didn't know they existed! Must get a bag now! You're a crazy baker, well done!

Julie said...

oh angie there all look beautiful and so put in so much work :D yum!

chopinandmysaucepan said...

I've never liked hot cross buns, but since I've tasted good ones, I've been looking for the best, decadent French butter to spread onto a freshly baked bun and watch it melt before I sink my teeth it. Can life be any better??

Jacq said...

Wow well done making a whopping 192 hot cross buns! I love the choc chip and cinnamon chip flavour, sounds amazing! Where can you buy the Hersheys cinnamon chips from? (or did you buy them in the US?)

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

I could hardly believe you baked 192 hcb when you tweeted it. Crazy! I was exhausted just thinking about it. I do tend to find that homemade hcb's do harden overnight, but as you say, a zap in the microwave or a flash under the grill works wonders. Oh and lots of

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Hats off to you for making so many HCBs!! They looks lovely!

sugarpuffi said...

you are crazzzyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! i prob wouldve broke down and cried after the 2nd batch.

penny aka jeroxie said...

Those buns LOOKs so so good!

john@heneedsfood said...

I'm actually eating a hot cross bun while reading this. Seriously! Good work lady!

Phuoc'n Delicious said...

Wowsa! Homemade is always going to be better, and it's so true, you can pump any flavour you want into them.

I love kneading the dough with my hands, something like that is therapeutic. But I guess the sensible abd cleaner thing to do is use the Kaid!

Have an awesome Easter!

Cooking Gallery said...

Wow! That's a lot of buns...! Well done, Angle, they look great!

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

So...many...buns! Kudos to you for becoming a little factory for the day =D And I always do something stupid when halving or doubling recipes - there's always an ingredient which I get wrong along the way!

Happy Easter!

Angie's Recipes said...

I wish I could just reach out and grab a few of them out of the screen!! They look heavenly!