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RECIPE: Chef's Chocolate and Peanut Butter Hot Cross Buns

In the spirit of Easter, our executive chef, Steve Barton (AKA "Chef"), has provided us something to do this long weekend with one of his favourite hot cross bun recipes.


In this recipe, traditional hot cross buns get an updated twist with chocolate and peanut butter – ideal if you’re not a fan of dried fruit!


Try them served sliced with butter, or go extra decadent with chocolate spread.


Now, time to get those aprons on and read below!



CHEF'S EASTER HOT CROSS BUNS


Serves 12


Hands-on time: 30 min

Oven time: 20-25 min

Plus rising and proving time


Ingredients

  • 200ml whole milk, warm

  • 7g fast-action dried yeast

  • 60g caster sugar

  • Finely grated zest and juice of ½ orange

  • 200g plain flour

  • 200g strong white bread flour

  • 50g cocoa, sifted

  • 2 tsp mixed spice

  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 tsp fine salt

  • 3 medium free-range eggs (1 beaten together, plus 1 beaten separately for the first glaze)

  • 65g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease

  • 5 tbsp smooth peanut butter

  • 75g chocolate chips

  • 40g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

  • Golden syrup or runny honey for the final glaze


For the cross topping

  • 50g plain flour

  • 50g icing sugar

  • 2½ tbsp milk

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

You’ll also need…

  • Baking sheet lined with compostable baking paper

  • Piping bag fitted with a 0.5cm plain nozzle (or make a cone from rolled-up baking paper)


Method

  1. Get a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and in it, add the warm milk, sugar & yeast

  2. Give it a stir until the yeast is dissolved, cover with a clean tea towel and put it aside for 15 minutes while the yeast activates (if it looks a bit frothy, that's fine!)

  3. Add the orange juice & zest, flours, cocoa, spices, salt and two beaten eggs to the yeast mixture and bring together it all together with a wooden spoon (or mix on a low speed) until it turns into a slightly sticky dough

  4. Lightly flour a surface and then put the dough on it before kneading in the butter, piece by piece, and the peanut butter one tbsp at a time until combined

  5. If you're using a stand mixer, increase the speed to medium and add the butter and peanut butter in the same way - piece-by-piece; one tbsp at a time

  6. Either way you're doing it, make sure to knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic

  7. Add the chocolate chips and peanuts, then knead again until they're evenly distributed

  8. Put the dough into a lightly-greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave it to rise at room temperature for somewhere between 1-2 hours, until it's doubled in size

  9. Turn out the dough back onto your work surface (see our tips below) and divide into 12 even pieces

  10. Shape the pieces into "buns" and set them 2cm apart (so they have space to rise!) on the prepared baking sheet

  11. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave them to prove (they'll rise a second time once shaped) at room temperature for about an hour

  12. Heat the oven to 200ºC bake or 180ºC fan bake

  13. Put all the ingredients for the cross topping in a mixing bowl, whisk until smooth and thick, then scrape into the prepared piping bag (or make yourself a baking paper cone and remember to cut a bit of the end off)

  14. Brush the buns with the one beaten egg, then allow to dry

  15. Pipe over the crosses, then brush with egg again

  16. Put the buns in the oven, immediately reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC bake /160ºC fan bake, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked

  17. Transfer the buns to a wire rack, brush with a little syrup or honey and leave to cool, then serve fresh or toasted with butter

  18. ENJOY!


Tips & insider knowledge:

  • You shouldn’t need any flour during shaping as the dough's got a high fat content that helps prevent it from sticking to the surface

  • You can make these ahead of time. If kept in an airtight container, they'll last up three days. Alternatively, freeze them in a sealed freezer bag and they'll last for up to one month

  • Definitely pull out the stand mixer (with a dough hook) to make these if you have one - it will save mess & time

For more of Chef's own or favourite recipes, click here


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