Guest Author - Cynthia Kilmartin
I love tradition, but as a creative Mum, I am always a little conflicted as to whether to adopt my Mum's and Grandmother's traditions or to create my own. Of course you then have to add my husband's family traditions and as we live in Spain, with neither of us being Spanish we do adopt some Spanish traditions as well. So with my children still being quite young, we are still playing around with what traditions we are making our own. Hot cross buns were always a big tradition for both my and my husband's families, even though we are from different countries, but unfortunately not one I was ever enthusiastic about.
I love this version of hot cross buns as they replace the traditional dried fruit with chocolate chips! So not only do they carry a little of the religious significance of Easter with the cross, but they also have the less traditional aspect of adding chocolate! To me – they just taste better.
4 cups all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
¼ cup brown sugar
1 sachet bread yeast
1 cup milk warmed
3 tbsp room temperature butter
½ cup chocolate chips
½ tsp cinnamon or nutmeg optional
Mix the warm milk and the yeast together and allow to stand for around 15 mins or until frothy. Beat the butter and eggs together and add to the yeast mixture. Add the flour cocoa and sugar and spices of your choice and mix thoroughly. Mix to a dough the stir in the chocolate chips. Grease a large bowl with butter or oil and put the mixture in covered to prove for about one hour or until doubled in size.
When it has risen, punch the mixture down and turn onto a floured board or kitchen counter top, divide into tennis ball sized portions and roll. Place balls on a greased and floured oven tray allowing about half and inch between each one. Cover again and leave in a warm place to rise for about half an hour. They may 'meld ' together, don't worry they are fun to pull apart when cooked.
For the crosses, mix half a cup of all purpose flour with ¼ cup of baking powder. Stir in enough milk to make a paste. Put the paste into a plastic bag pushing it down into one corner. When the buns have risen again, cut a small snip in the corner and make a cross on each bun. Brush each bun with milk and place in a medium oven for 20-25 minutes.
A lovely Easter treat for breakfast, dessert or with a glass of cold milk!