What could make a traditional hot cross bun better? The answer, of course, is chocolate! This recipe yields vanilla almond flavored hot cross buns stuffed with chocolate and chopped fresh strawberries. The cocoa powder cross adds an extra touch of chocolate and creates a striking presentation. Bake the buns in festive cupcake liners to complete the look.
Yield: 18 cupcakes
1 cup warm milk
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
5 large strawberries, finely chopped
Crossing Paste Ingredients:
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
½ cup whole milk
In a small bowl, mix together milk, yeast, one teaspoon of the sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
Let stand for five minutes or until foamy.
In a large bowl, mix together, flour, salt, and the remaining sugar.
Cut butter into small pieces and use your hands or a pastry blender to mix into the dry ingredients until it forms a coarse meal.
Add eggs and yeast mixture to the large bowl.
Stir until the dough begins to stick together.
Place dough on a floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic.
Pour oil into a large bowl.
Roll the ball of dough in the oil. Cover and place in a warm place until it doubles in size, about an hour.
Measure balls of dough about 1.5 ounces (To see if the balls are the correct size for your liners, place a ball in a liner. It should fill the width of the liner and come about ¾ of the way to the top.)
Press the balls into flat circles.
Place about 10 chocolate chips and a small handful of strawberries into the center of each circle.
Fold each circle’s dough completely around the fillings and be sure to seal on all sides. Form the circles back into round balls and place them in cupcake tins fitted with cupcake liners.
Loosely cover cupcake tins and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (about one hour).
Crossing Paste Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, and sugar.
Stir in milk a little bit at a time until the mixture forms a thick paste.
Reseal any of the cupcakes that may have opened up during the rise.
Pipe crosses on top of the unbaked cupcakes.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden.