Spiced chocolate and orange hot cross buns

  • Makes 12 buns
  • Hands on time 45 mins, 20 mins cooking time, plus proving
  • Easy
Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, hot from the oven with lashings of butter. Try this chocolate and orange hot cross bun recipe for a bit of variation this Easter.

Nutritional info per serving

Per bun

  • Calories341kcals
  • Fat11g (5.9g saturated)
  • Protein6.5g
  • Carbohydrates57.9g (25.9g sugars)
  • Salt0.5g
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  • 475g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 25g good-quality cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 85g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • 100g golden caster sugar, plus 50g extra to glaze
  • 2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 190ml lukewarm milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 75g raisins (optional)
  • 75g milk chocolate, chopped
  • Finely grated zest and juice of
  • 1 orange
  • 75g chopped candied peel


  1. Sift 400g of the flour, the cocoa powder, mixed spice and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and, with your fingertips, rub together until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar and dried yeast, then form a well in the centre. Whisk the egg and milk together and pour into the well. Quickly mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate.
  2. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until soft and silky. Shape into a ball. Put in a large, lightly oiled bowl, covered with cling film. Leave for 1½ hours in a warm place, loosely covered with greased cling film, until doubled in size.
  3. Remove the risen dough to a lightly floured surface, flatten slightly, then knead in the raisins (optional), chocolate, zest and candied peel, until everything is evenly distributed.
  4. Divide into 12 equal pieces (about 100g each) and shape into smooth-surfaced buns. Place in rows on a lightly oiled baking tray, leaving a little gap between each. Cover loosely with lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size again. The buns should now be touching each other. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6.
  5. With a serrated knife, score the tops of the buns with a cross. Mix the remaining 75g flour with 1 tbsp oil and 5 tbsp cold water to a smooth paste, then spoon into a piping bag (or a small, clear, sturdy plastic bag with the corner snipped off).
  6. Carefully pipe the mixture in lines along the knife scores on the buns, going first one way, then the other, using a knife to stop the flow. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
  7. Meanwhile, put the remaining sugar into a pan with the orange juice. Put over a low heat until it has dissolved. Bring to the boil and bubble for 2 minutes until thickened.
  8. Remove the buns from the oven and turn out onto a rack. Glaze with the syrup and serve warm or cold.
  • Freeze the cooled buns in a sealed container between layers of baking paper. To serve, cover loosely in foil and warm through in a low oven.

From April 2011

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  • "
    nate daniels1:14 Apr 01 2018

    Awful recipe. Made twice and had to throw out twice as dough didn’t rise at all.
    My suggestion would be to bloom the yeast in the warmed milk before adding to dough. Such an expensive disappointment 🙁

    • user avatar"
      delicious. magazine15:17 Apr 03 2018

      Hi Nate – I’m sorry to hear that this recipe didn’t work for you. I can only suggest that the milk may have been too warm when it was added. If yeast gets hotter than 65C, it dies, which would cause the dough to not rise at all. However it’s also likely that the dough was in too cool a place to rise – it has taken over 2 hours in the test kitchen sometimes for an enriched, hot cross bun dough to begin to move. If you have a proving setting on your oven, then perhaps use that next time. Alternatively simply turn it down to 50C or lower to help speed up the rising. We can assure you that this recipe has been tested and worked before! Hope that helps and happy cooking. Ellie

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