If you have already made the traditional version, then this is not very different to that. But I thought I would put this down anyway, so if you are a chocolate fan, you can follow straight away, without having to adjust the original recipe.
I love anything chocolate, but, when it comes to hot cross buns, I think that nothing beats the traditional, spiced fruit bun. I may not be the biggest fan of the chocolate version, but it is very indulgent and above all it’s my husbands favorite. So that is a good enough excuse to make these every year.
Personally, I don’t like spices with chocolate, particularly in bread products, so I like to not use any spices. But feel free to experiment. I think vanilla and orange zest would be a nice addition, if you feel adventurous. Also, I use semi-sweet chocolate chips. But you can substitute this with milk, dark or even butterscotch. If you can’t find chocolate chips, feel free to chop up a slab of cooking chocolate, or your favorite chocolate. Use a good quality brand for maximum flavor.
Any type of cocoa powder works for the dough. The flavor might be slightly different depending on the brand you use.
This recipe can be made on the same day too, just like any other recipe. So instead of retarding the dough, you can continue to the next step and bake these on the same day. Start early in the day so you have enough time to finish baking.
Mix everything except water, chocolate chips and start mixing. Add water gradually, until a soft dough is formed. Mix for a minute or two. Scrape down the sides. Once the dough is slightly developed, we can add the chocolate chips.
I added a heaped 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Use more if you like.
If you add the chips at the beginning, it’ll be harder to develop the dough and chips might crush and get mixed in.
Mix on low speed to fold the chocolate chips. Do not over-mix. We can always finish off by hand.
Dump the dough on to a floured surface. Knead by hand to finish off. make sure chocolate chips are spread evenly.
Kneading will make the dough smoother and more manageable. Round the dough up and place in a big plastic/glass bowl
Dough in the plastic tub. Now this is ready to be bulk proofed. Close with a lid/ tea towel and place in a warm, draft free area. Wait patiently until the dough nearly doubles.
It doesn’t have to be exactly double the original size. Noticeably larger is good enough. Check next image.
This might take about 3-4 hours
Notice how the bulked dough looks like. Tip the dough on to a floured surface. The bottom of the dough will be like a sponge. Dough will feel swollen and spongy/airy.
Punch down the dough and place in the same container. Close tightly with a lid and refrigerate over night ( 10 – 12 hours)
If you don’t want to refrigerate(slow ferment), go straight into weighing and dividing.
If you refrigerated the dough, then thaw it before continuing. Leave in a warm place and it will soften up in about an hour.
Divide the dough in to 12 equal pieces.
My dough was about 1100g so I divided into 91g pieces.
Shape each piece into nice smooth rolls. Check this video to get an idea. Place these on a tray.
Place them apart if you want individual rolls. Place them closer, if you want pull-apart. I like to bake them in packs of six. Now cover them to prevent drying. Leave in a warm place to double.
After about 4 hours they will be ready. Check constantly during the final proof as you don’t want them over proofed. Once they are looking like this, pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
355 F in a convection oven.
Make the paste for the cross, in the meantime.
Once the oven is ready, pie the cross over the buns and place them in the oven. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes.
Rotate the tray at 15 minute mark.
Make the sugar syrup while the buns are being baked
Apply the sugar syrup while they are still warm. Now leave them to cool.
Serve with butter