Double Chocolate & Ginger Hot Cross Buns

Do you love chocolate and ginger? If the answer is yes, then these hot cross buns are going to tantalise your taste buds!  Imagine a lightly sweet, fluffy and chocolaty, hot cross bun, with the perfect amount of cinnamon and mixed spice. Each bite contains a generous amount of delicious chocolate morsels and diced glacé ginger through out. The final layer of flavour comes from the sugar-spiced glaze that is brushed over the tops after baking and compliments them so well. You can eat these just as they are or gently heated through in the microwave the next day.

I created this recipe for my good friends at Buderim Ginger, as a thank you for the awesome box of ginger goodies they sent me. I have a few more recipes to come, although these are still in various stages of development at the moment. So watch this space for more delicious ginger recipes.

The almond milk I choose to use is called Inner Goodness and you can find this in the refrigerated section in Aldi. I really enjoy the flavour of this milk, but what made this even more appealing to me was this particular brand contains no carrageenan and it’s also free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.

Here are a few tips to make hot cross buns.

  • There are a few things to keep in mind when making bread. Your oven, altitude and climate, whether it’s dry or humid, can influence your results. At the moment it is autumn here in Australia and the weather is still quite warm, and I know from when making bread rolls, I do have different results in winter compared to making them in summer.
  • Make sure you have all the ingredients at room temperature before you start making the bread. It’s really important to have your milk at the right temperature 41C-46C (105F-114F). If your milk is too hot it can kill the yeast, and if it’s not hot enough your yeast will not activate.
  • I’ve found I have more consistent results by using my oven to prove the bread. I always put a bowl of water on the bottom shelf of the oven, as this creates a warm but humid environment, which is perfect for bread proving.
  • In regards to the ground psyllium husks in the ingredients list, I use my spice grinder to process them into a fine powder.
  • Although you can use your bare hands to roll and shape the dough, I highly recommend you wear disposable gloves, as it makes this process so much quicker and easier. You will still need to lightly oil the disposable gloves before you handle the dough.
  • The paste mixture for the crosses needs to be thick, but not too thick otherwise you will have difficulty being able to pipe it. Once piped, it should hold its shape well. If you do add a little too much water, all it will mean is the crosses will bake up thinner and flatter, instead of having a defined ridge.

For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch and cocoa powder before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed unless stated otherwise.

Makes 15 buns

310ml (1¼ cups) warm dairy free milk of choice, I used almond milk
4 teaspoons (20ml) sweet ginger sauce (I used this brand)
1 tablespoon (15ml) instant dried yeast
64g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) tapioca starch
60g (2.2 ounces or ⅓ cup) potato starch
56g (2.0 ounces or ½ cup) almond meal/flour
50g (1.8 jounces or ⅓ cup) superfine brown rice flour
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) millet flour
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) sorghum flour
44g (1.6 ounces or ⅓ cup) superfine white rice flour
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour)
36g (1.3 ounces or 3 tablespoons) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
33g (1.2 ounces or 3 tablespoons) light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
15g (0.5 ounces or 3 tablespoons) natural cocoa powder
1 tablespoon (15ml) ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon (15ml) mixed spice
1 tablespoon (15ml) xanthan gum
1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) ground psyllium husks
3 large eggs, at room temperature
60ml (¼ cup) light olive oil (I use this brand)
1 teaspoon (5ml) apple cider vinegar
Stir Through
75g (2.6 ounces or ½ cup which is NOT firmly packed) finely diced glacé ginger (I use this brand)
150g (5.3 ounces or ¾ cup) chocolate chips (I use this brand)
Approximately 2 tablespoons (30ml) light olive oil for rolling the dough into balls (I use this brand)
Paste For Crosses
36g (1.3 ounces or 3 tablespoons) golden/raw caster sugar
18g (0.6 ounces or 2 tablespoons) sorghum flour
16g (0.6 ounces or 2 tablespoons) superfine white rice flour
8g (0.3 ounces or 1 tablespoon) tapioca starch
8g (0.3 ounces or 1 tablespoon) sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour)
5g (0.2 ounces or 1 tablespoon) natural cocoa powder
A large pinch of xanthan gum
Approximately 35.5ml (2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) room temperature water, you may need a little more
60ml (¼ cup) dairy free milk of choice, I used almond milk
12g (0.4 ounces or 1 tablespoon) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) mixed spice

Preheat the oven to 75C (167F) and put about 2 cups of warm water in a bowl and place it at the bottom of your oven. Once the temperature has been reached, turn the oven off. Line a large baking pan, mine measured 33 X 23 X 5½cm (13 X 9 X 2¼ inches), with baking paper/parchment, which should line the base and sides with a little over hanging. I then use this excess baking paper/parchment to lift the buns out once cooked.

The temperature of the milk needs to be between 41C-46C (105F-114F). Add the sweet ginger sauce and yeast, then give it a stir to combine. Allow it to stand for no longer than 7 minutes, so please set a timer! The yeast will be frothy and bubbly. While you’re waiting for the yeast to prove, measure out the dry ingredients and sift them together, before setting aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the wet ingredients to the bowl and pour in the yeast when it has finished proofing.  Mix on a low speed to combine. Continuing on a low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and keep mixing until well combined.

Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula, before turning the speed up to medium and beating for 4 minutes.

Now use a spatula to evenly stir the chocolate chips and glacé ginger through the bread dough.

Pour the extra oil into a small bowl. You will need to use a kitchen scale to achieve equal sized balls of dough. It is important that you lightly oil the surface of your scale otherwise the dough will stick. Although the dough is slightly sticky, it is still pretty easy to work with, as long as your hands are lightly oiled. As I mentioned previously, wearing disposable gloves makes this task a lot easier, although you can use your bare hands to roll and shape the dough. I find it’s easier to use an ice cream scoop, but you can also use a spoon to measure out the dough, with each bun being approximately 84g (2.9 ounces or a slightly heaped ice cream scoop).

Lightly oil your hands before picking up the ball of dough. Roll it into smooth round ball and place it into the prepared pan. Leave a small gap between each ball of dough, so that it has space to rise. Repeat with the remaining dough, so there will be 5 buns going across and 3 going down.

Place the pan in the oven and allow the buns to prove for 25 minutes. Remove the pan and the bowl of water from the oven and turn the temperature up to 160C. About 3 minutes before the buns have finished proofing, make the chocolate paste for the crosses. Start by sifting the dry ingredients in to a small bowl. I like to sieve it a couple of times, to make sure that the cocoa powder is mixture through thoroughly. Then add the water to the dry ingredients, stirring until well combined. The mixture should be thick, but not too thick, otherwise you will have difficulty being able to pipe it. Now spoon the paste into a piping bag. I used a plain round Wilton number 10 piping tip. Using an even amount of pressure on the piping bag, pipe across the buns in one continuous line and then pipe down to make the crosses.

Once the oven has reached 160C, place the buns back in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, until they are lovely and golden. A few minutes before the buns have finished baking, you can make a start on the glaze. Add the milk, sugar and mixed spice to a small saucepan on a medium heat. Then stir together until the sugar has dissolved, before removing from the heat. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush the glaze over them. Then allow the buns to cool in the pan for couple of minutes, before using the baking paper/parchment to carefully transfer them to a wire rack and sliding the paper out from underneath them. Brush the glaze over the buns again and allow them to cool slightly before eating.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse

Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.

Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 325F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8

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