Allyson Gofton - Chocolate Craisin Hot Cross Buns

Publish Date
Friday, 7 April 2017, 1:09PM
By Allyson Gofton

So many store-bought Hot Cross Buns are simply like spiced buns of cotton wool, with no real flavour or texture.  This year, get out the bread machine, electric mixer or the elbow grease and make these. Some tips for great tasting buns:

  • Always add salt to the dough for both flavour and texture.
  • Once the dough is made and set to rest, do not rush it. The longer it takes to proof the dough, the better the flavour will be.
  • When moulding the dough into buns make sure that the top of the bun is smooth and any join is underneath.
  • Allow the moulded buns to rise until they are fluffy and soft before baking.
  • With this number of buns cooking at once, use a fan bake option as it will help in ensuring the buns cook evenly.
  • Should the buns be a little crispy when you take them out of the oven, transfer the buns to a cake rack and cover with a clean tea-towel so that they steam a little.
  • Yesterday’s hot cross buns can be warmed in a microwave where it only takes a few seconds on high, or split and toasted.




  • ¾ cup craisins (dried cranberries)
  • 2 Tblsp cherry brandy or brandy
  • 1½ cups slightly warm water
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 2 Tblsp honey
  • 1 Tblsp salt
  • 75 grams softened butter
  • 3½ cups flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 5 tsp bread machine or Surebake yeast
  • ½ cup chocolate chips


  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tblsp cocoa
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tblsp soft butter
  • about 6 tblsp milk

Sugar Glaze

  • 2 tblsp hot water
  • 3 tblsp caster sugar


  1. Mix the craisins and brandy together and set aside.
  2. Into a bread machine, put the ingredients in the following order: water, sugar, honey, salt, butter, flour, cocoa, and yeast. Set the machine to dough.
  3. Once the dough is ready turn our on a floured board, deflate gently and sprinkle over the Craisins and chocolate chips. Knead in gently and then cover and allow to rest for a further 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 12-16 even-sized pieces and shape into buns. Place on a greased baking tray about 2cm apart. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes until double in size.
  4. Make the mixture for the crosses by sifting together the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Rub in softened butter and add sufficient milk to make a smooth paste. Pipe on crosses.
  5. Bake at 190ºC for 20-25 minutes until the buns are well-risen and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Brush buns with the sugar glaze. Transfer to a cake rack to cool. Serve warm. These buns keep well for 2-3 days.
  6. To make by hand
  7. Mix together the yeast, ½ cup water and honey and set aside for about 3 minutes until the yeast deissolves and becomes slightly frothy. Sift the flour, cocoa, salt and sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast liquid, remaining water and butter and mix with one hand to form a sticky mass. Turn out on to a lightly floured board and just bring together. It will look untidy. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Push the dough out a little and add the craisins and chocolate chips, then fold the dough up like a three-folded business letter and begin to knead. The dough will look almost as if it is about to separate into sections. Don't worry - just keep kneading until you have a smooth supple dough. Dust the board with flour only when needed. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap and a towel and stand aside until double in bulk. Turn out and shape into buns, then proceed as above.
Find more delicious recipes by Allyson here.

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