Tender, lightly sweetened, warmly spiced, and speckled with chocolate, these buns are perfect to cozy up to along with a warm cuppa. I love the chocolate chips in these buns with the spices. I recommend using a stand-mixer if you have one to incorporate the chocolate chips into the dough. The first time I tested this recipe, I added the chocolate chips around the same time I combined the wet and dry ingredients because I thought it would be easier. I didn’t have access to my stand-mixer and it was the most painful kneading experience with the hard little knobs of chocolate poking out everywhere. They also heated up a bit from my hands so some of them smeared although this wasn’t entirely a bad thing as the chocolate flavor was spread around more, but I definitely wouldn’t do it this way again. Add the chocolate chips towards the end of kneading, so they aren’t handled as much and if using a stand-mixer, won’t be in contact with warm hands during kneading. It’s definitely worth the effort though, these buns are so delicious and our family ate them up that same day!
Chocolate Chip Spiced Hot Cross Buns
For the buns:
- 1/2 cup coconut oil* (refined if you don't want mild coconut flavor)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 ground allspice
- 1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the crosses:
- 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 5-7 tbsp water
For the glaze:
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1-2 tsp unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the buns:
- Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper, or grease well.
- In a small pot, melt the coconut oil over low heat. Add the plant-based milk, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, yeast, salt, and spices. Whisk well. Check the temperature of the milk mixture, it should be lukewarm (110-115°F) - if it's too hot, it will kill the yeast. Once cool enough, pour it into the flour mixture and stir to combine.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic (if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can use it instead of doing it by hand.) Knead in the chocolate chips. Some of them will rebel becoming part of the dough, don't fret, just press them back, kneading for another minute or so until they are mostly throughout the dough.
- Rinse out the large bowl and grease well. Place the dough ball into the bowl, cover with a tea towel in a warm place for about an hour or until about 1.5 times its original size.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll them into balls, pressing in any chocolate chips dropping out. Place them in the pan, 3 across and 4 down. Cover again and let rise for another 30-60 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350° F. Whisk together the flour and water in a small bowl for the paste to make the crosses. Once no lumps remain, pour into a small zip-lock bag or piping bag fitted with a very small round tip. If using the bag, snip off a tiny corner (slightly more narrow than you want the lines of the cross to be) and slowly pipe a line down the middle of buns one way, and then the other way.
- Bake for 25-27 minutes or until the buns are light brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before glazing.
- For the glaze, mix together the confectioner's sugar, plant-based milk and vanilla in small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the warm buns taking care not to smear the warm chocolate chips.