Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chocolate Cherry Hot Cross Buns

There's a reason why I don't usually make yeast products at home - they usually don't work out for me. When I worked at the hotel (Westin, Ottawa), I could help produce 4,000 croissants and danish no problem, but I always have trouble making something smaller. I don't know why but the dough never works out, the yeast doesn't work, there's not enough moisture to feed the yeast, there's too much flour, there's not enough flour to provide structure, for whatever reason, it doesn't work out. This makes me sad and frustrated as I love the IDEA of me making home made bread, but the reality is that I don't. I pre-jinx myself and psych myself out of doing it...until today. I am leafing through this spring's Food and Drink (the magazine put out by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, to help you pair food and booze - awesome!) and what do I spy, but chocolate cranberry hot cross buns. WOW! I think I have to make these, but sub in sour cherries for the cranberries and off I go.

The instructions say the dough is wet and sticky, and they're not kidding. There was no way I could form these into rolls without using copious amounts of flour, so I settled for vague rounds.

When I re-read the instructions, they do say to shape it into a round, but give you no tips on how to do it, so I assume you don't have to make a bun, just a roundish shape of dough.

I just checked on them in the oven and the appear to be rising - YAY! This could be the recipe that gives me confidence to make home made bread - let's see.
They made it and they rose and they're done. They smell fantastic and now we have to wait until they're cool enough to decorate and eat.

I know the recipe calls for a chocolate glaze, but I prefer the contrast of white on chocolate, so didn't use the cocoa.

The dough for the buns isn't too sweet, so the chocolate chips make up for it and the luscious sour cherries are wonderful to bite into. I would definitely make these again.
Recipe from Spring 2009 Food and Drink magazine.


Mix all of the following together and set aside. This is your starter:

3/4 C 2% milk

2 T sugar

1 T dry instant yeast

1/4 C regular cocoa powder (NOT Dutch process)

1/4 C all-purpose flour

In a medium bowl sift together the following and set aside:

4 C (520g) all purpose flour

1/3 C (30g) regular cocoa powder (NOT Dutch process)

1 t salt

1 t cinnamon

In a stand mixer:

3/4 C (170g) unsalted butter

1/2 C (100g) sugar
Cream together until light and fluffy.

3 large eggs
Add one at a time, scraping bowl after each egg.

2t vanilla
Add vanilla to egg and butter mixture.

Alternate adding your flour mixture from above and

1 1/2C buttermilk (room temperature)

to the butter/egg mixture beginning and ending with the flour. 1/3 of flour mix. then 1/2 of the buttermilk, 1/3 of flour mix, then rest of buttermilk then the rest of the flour - scraping bowl after each addition.

Add the starter now.

1 C chocolate chips
1 C dried sour cherries, or dried cranberries

dough will be wet and sticky.

Place dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the fridge overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, turn out and divide into 8 pieces. Shape each into a round and place 4 into each of 2 greased 9-inch cake pans. Cover lightly and let rise 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F (180C)

Brush buns with:

1 egg mixed with 2 T water

and bake for 50 minutes.

Let cool completely in the pan.


10T icing sugar, sifted
2 T cocoa
1 T water

mix until thick then pipe a cross over each bun.

Makes 8 large buns.


  1. Congratulations, Jen! Not only do they look delicious but it's great that you had success with yeast at home, which is always tough!

  2. These look AMAZING! I'm not a huge hot cross bun fan - the traditional kind - but these look awesome!

  3. Hmmm, these would make lovely Sunday morning feast.

  4. I just made the lemon currant hot cross buns from Food and Drink, I haven't tried them yet but they look gorgeous!

  5. hey jen, these look so yummy. I'm going to try making them this week. I'm in a yeasty mood this week: thinking about challah, and cinnamon buns, and homemade donuts. Easter brings it out in me.

  6. now I have to follow you these look soo good!