Dark chocolate, beetroot and cranberry hot cross buns
Prep time: 2.5 hours (including dough proving time) | Cooking time: 25 min | Serves: 12–18
For the dough
100 g dried cranberries
3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
250 ml milk
50 g butter, plus extra for greasing
1 large free-range egg
500 g strong unrefined bread flour, plus extra for dusting
250g cooked, pureed beetroot
2 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
2 heaped tbs good quality cocoa powder
14g dry yeast
100 g good quality dark chocolate chips
75 g castor sugar
1 tsp fine salt
For the cross
50 g plain flour
2 heaped tsp cocoa powder
5 Tbsp water
For the glaze
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp castor sugar
1. Soak the cranberries in the orange juice for an hour before you want to start.
2. Melt the butter with the milk in a pan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before whisking in the egg. Set aside.
3. Drain the cranberries, discarding the orange juice, and place in a bowl with the flour, beetroot, cinnamon, cocoa powder, yeast, chocolate chips, castor sugar and salt. Mix well.
4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the milk mixture to it. Stir together until a smooth dough is formed – if you find the dough too wet to come together add more flour until you have a workable dough.
5. Dust your work surface with flour, turn out the dough and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic.
6. Place your dough into a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
7. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Set aside.
8. Place the dough onto a floured surface, and knead for 2 more minutes.
9. Cut the dough in half and roll both into fat sausage shapes. Slice each into 6 even-sized pieces, then roll into balls and place on the baking trays. These will make quite large buns. If you prefer smaller ones, divide the dough into 16 or 18 pieces.
10. Cover the trays loosely with clingfilm and allow to prove again in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
11. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
12. To make the crosses mixture, sift together the plain flour, cocoa and water in a small bowl. It should be of a thick, pipe-able consistency. Using a piping bag, pipe a cross onto each bun.
13. Place the buns into the oven and bake for around 20 minutes. The buns should be cooked through, but still soft.
14. While the buns are baking, make the honey glaze. Place the honey and castor sugar in a pan and heat for a few minutes until the honey is properly runny and the sugar has dissolved.
15. Remove the buns from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
16. Brush the top of the buns a few times with the glaze until sufficiently covered. Leave to cool and serve.