.Sometimes I get a really inspired to come up with new ideas and recipes to bake and having Easter round the corner has been a real inspiration. I've been trawling the internet for easy ways to decorate cupcakes with an Easter theme and found some wonderful websites like Baking Mad who have some great Easter recipes to give a go.
It wouldn't be Easter without Hot Cross Buns and with the added bonus of chocolate we're definitely onto a winner. I've substituted the fruit for chocolate chips and added cocoa to the flour for a double chocolate hit.
For this I've made one large loaf because I like to slice and toast it the next day but you may prefer the more traditional individual buns.
I like to use a 'Dried Fast Action Yeast' because it's handy and I know I always have it in but you can use fresh yeast which most supermarkets will give you for free from their in store bakery if you ask.
250ml Slightly Warm Milk
500g Allinson's Strong White Bread Flour
15g Yeast (Fresh or Dried)
40g Silver Spoon Sugar
30g Cocoa Powder
50g Silver Spoon Dark Chocolate Chips
2 tbsp Plain Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
water to mix
1 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Water
Warm the milk slightly, you don't want it hot just take the chill off it. Rub the butter and fresh yeast if you're using it, into the flour. Just as you would with pastry till there are no lumps. Next stir through the sugar and dried yeast if you're using that, along with the cocoa and salt.
Beat the eggs and pour them in with the milk. I use a knife to get me started with the mixing, you could use a free standing mixer if you have one. Bring it together to form a dough then tip it onto a lightly oiled surface and start kneading.
It will be sticky to start, if it's too sticky dust your hands with flour, not the surface. If you add flour this will toughen up your dough and we want it nice and soft. The softer your dough is, the softer your bread will be.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes, I know! but you can skip the gym today :) Return the dough to your mixing bowl and cover with cling film or a disposable shower cap and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm draft free place.
It will have risen after the hour, but now you're going to knock the air out, flatten it on a surface and sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Roll the dough up so the chocolate is distributed through the dough and form into your loaf shape. Pop the dough into a 2lb loaf tin (I use a loaf liner to be on the safe side) and cover with a clean tea towel for a further hour.
Once the dough has risen again mix the flour, sugar and water to make a slightly runny paste and pipe your cross onto the loaf.
Bake for 25-35 minutes at 200C but keep an eye on it as sweet dough can burn quite easily. While it is baking heat the sugar and water for the glaze till the sugar has melted. Remove the loaf and check it's cooked by tapping the bottom for a hollow sound. Brush the top with the glaze to finish and leave to cool (for as long as you can keep yourself away)
HAPPY EASTER xx