It’s not Easter without a Hot Cross Bun but how about trying this chocolate twist of the classic Easter treat and make Chocolate Hot Cross Rolls instead? You’ll want to start making these the night before Easter Sunday so they can prove overnight and baked the following morning for an indulgent Easter Sunday morning treat.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Full of Easter flavours | There are two main flavours associated with Easter; spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and chocolate! These Chocolate Hot Cross Rolls combine them all making this rolls the ultimate Easter flavoured treat.
Great for eating at any time of the day | Cinnamon Rolls have traditionally been a breakfast treat but you can eat this indulgent bread at any time of the day. They’re particularly good fresh from the oven and ideal eaten with a hot coffee or cup of tea so whilst this feels appropriate for the morning, I say eat them all day long and have one for breakfast, elevenses and as an afternoon snack.
Make ahead | If you want to make these for breakfast then you can make the dough ahead the night before and leave it to cold prove if the fridge overnight. By the morning you’ll have a risen dough ready for the oven.
TOP TIPS FOR BAKING A PERFECT ENRICHED DOUGH
Add a little more yeast. An enriched dough is delicious as it’s full of flavour with the addition of butter, sugar, eggs and other ingredients. Whilst it’s great for the taste, these additional ingredients can give the yeast a harder time getting to work as the dough becomes heavier. By adding in a touch more yeast to your dough you can give it a helping hand to prove and rise.
Give the yeast a head start. One of the best ways to give the yeast a helping hand is to give it a head start. This recipe follows this step by mixing the warm milk, some of the sugar and the yeast together and leaving it for 15 minutes. What you’ll come back to is a frothy mixture where the yeast is alive and and ready to roll like it’s just done three shots of caffeine or had a protein shake.
Add eggs to soften the dough. Eggs are an ideal addition in enriched doughs as the proteins in them enhance the proteins in the flour which soften the texture. They also do one of the best jobs in adding depth of flavour to your dough by making them distinctively rich.
Give the dough more time to rest. As mentioned earlier, enriched doughs are heavier than regular dough as they have been weighed down by the additional ingredients. The more you add in the heavier the dough will be so bear that in mind when proving. You may find it can take up to 2 hours to double in size so just be patient.
Bake at a lower temperature. With the additional of butter and eggs, enriched dough will brown much quicker in the oven. This can easily fool you into thinking the bread is baked, but be careful as it is likely the centre is still raw if you remove from the oven too soon. The best way to bake these doughs is at a slightly lower temperature and for a little bit longer to ensure you get a gorgeous golden colour and a cooked centre. I’d also highly advise investing in a cooking thermometer which can test the internal temperature once baked. Bread should read around 200°C when baked.
If you still notice your bread getting browner when it’s not quite cooked is to add a tent of foil over the top of the pan. The foil acts as a sort of parasol shade to prevent it burning.
TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
Large mixing bowl | One bowl is all you need as you can mix your dough and then prove it in the same bowl. Just make sure your bowl is well oiled before you add the dough again to prove it as this prevents the dough sticking to the sides.
Large Rectangle Baking Tin | You’ll need to spread these rolls out to allow space for them to expand when they prove so a large baking tin is required. My tin featured below is about 40 cm long and 30 cm wide and it works perfectly!
Rolling Pin | Unless you’re happy using wine bottles a rolling pin is essential for rolling our your dough and getting it to the right even thickness all around. Most rolling pins are very inexpensive so you don’t need to break the bank to get one in your kitchen drawer.
Whisk | I love whisk! I use them for everything at the moment as they get all my batter super smooth and help mix everything in much quicker. You can use an electric whisk if you want to but I prefer hand whisking for this recipe as it gives me more control and you’re only doing it for a short while at the beginning so setting up a hand mixer is a lot of work for very little use.
Food Thermometer | The best solution to undercooked dough and any bake for that matter. Just look up online what the internal temperature of that particular bake should be and if the reading comes up short then you know it still needs more time. Goodbye sunken cakes and raw dough!
Shop these Tools
OTHER ROLL RECIPES YOU SHOULD TRY
I would love it if you tagged me @mykitchendrawer on Instagram if you make this Chocolate Hot Cross Rolls. It’s the biggest honour to see my recipes come to life in your kitchen and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to drop me a message. Happy baking!
Chocolate Hot Cross Rolls
- 240 ml warm milk not scalding, warm enough to put your finger in
- 75 g caster sugar
- 9 g dry active yeast
- 75 g butter melted
- 2 eggs large
- 1 tsp salt
- 530 g strong bread flour
- 150 g mixed peel/sultanas/raisins
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
For the filling
- 80 g butter unsalted
- 80 g dark brown sugar
- 40 g cocoa powder
- 100 g dark chocolate chips
For the cream cheese cross
- 200 g cream cheese
- 30 g butter unsalted
- 250 g icing sugar
For the dough
- Begin by whisking together the warm milk, 2 tbsp of the sugar and yeast and then leaving it covered for 15 minutes until bubbling and frothy.
- After 15 minutes, to the same bowl add the remaining sugar, melted butter, eggs, spices, salt and 130g of the flour and mix together until combined.
- Add the remaining flour and beat the mixture together until the dough comes together and is soft, and not too sticky.
- Add the dough to standing mixer with a dough attachment or continue to knead by hand until the dough comes together and is soft and elastic. This will be around 5 minutes in the mixer and 7-10 minutes by hand.
- Grease a large bowl and put the dough in there to prove for around 2 hours until it's doubled in size
For the filling
- Melt the butter in a bowl then add in the sugar and cocoa powder and mix them together until well combined.
- When the dough has fully proved tip it out of the bowl and punch it down then roll it into into a rectangle about 16-inches in width by 28-inches in length.
- Spoon over the chocolate filling and spread it out leaving a 1 inch boarder around the edge. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the the top then roll up the dough from the longest side into a log.
- Wrap it in baking paper and transfer it to a baking sheet and let it chill for 15-20 minutes in the fridge.
- Grease a rectangle baking tin then place the chilled log onto a large cutting board and remove baking paper.
- Cut the log into 12 1 inch pieces and lay them in rows of three in the baking tin a few cm apart to allow room when they prove. Cover and let it prove again for 1 hour at room temperature.
- MY KITCHEN TIP: You can choose to prove overnight here. This process slows down the rise and enhances the flavour.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, then place the rolls in oven and bake on the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly for 10 minutes whilst you prepare the cream cheese topping
For the cream cheese cross
- Whisk together the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until soft and smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and whisk again until smoot.
- Scoop the mixture into a piping bag then pipe across horizontally, and then vertically to create crosses of the cream cheese mixture across the top of the each roll.
- These rolls are best served fresh on the day of baking but will keep well if kept airtight somewhere cool for up to 2 days.