Double Chocolate & Orange Hot Cross Buns



250g strong white bread flour

250g wholemeal bread flour

50g vegan spread (I used Vitalite)

100g coconut sugar

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp all-spice

1 orange - grated zest only

25g raw cacao powder

7g sachet dried active yeast

250 ml almond milk

200g dried apricots - roughly chopped

1 x 100g bar Doisy & Dam Goji and Orange Chocolate - finely chopped

or grated

2-3 tablespoons maple syrup for glazing


3 tablespoons plain flour

2-3 tablespoons cold water


Makes 12 hot cross buns
Takes: Around 3 hours (includes proving time)

1. Put both flours into a large bowl and rub in the vegan spread using your fingertips

2. Stir in the sugar, spices, orange zest, cacao powder and dried yeast

3. Gently warm the almond milk - you want it blood temperature which
means when you put your finger in to test it you can't feel if it's hot or cold! If it's too hot it will kill the yeast and it won't prove (think hockey pucks!) ... too cold and the yeast will take longer to activate! If you get it too hot just set aside until it cools to blood temperature
4. Pour the warm milk into the dry ingredients and stir together till it
starts to form a dough
5. Tip out onto a floured work surface and knead for around 10 minutes
until it's soft and elastic. You'll want to put your back into this as you're trying to stretch the gluten in the flour that gives baked bread its texture!

6. Once its well kneaded put into a large clean bowl that you've lightly oiled and cover with a clean t-towel or piece of clingfilm

7. Leave the bowl in a warm place to prove for around an hour or until doubled in size
8. Once it's doubled in size tip the dough back onto your work surface and knead in the chopped apricots and chopped/grated chocolate until very well incorporated

9. Divide the dough roughly into 12 equal sized balls and using your hands roll/shape them into buns

10. Put onto a large tray lined with parchment. The rolls are going to rise again so you'll want to space them not too close together to allow room to expand. Use 2 trays if you don't have one large enough

11. Loosely cover the tray with a piece of oiled cling film (the oil stops it sticking when you remove it to bake the buns!) and again leave in a warm place for around an hour or until doubled in size

12. Just before they're ready to be baked, preheat your oven to 200 Fan / 220 C / 425 F / Gas 7.
13. Prepare your crosses - whisk together the flour and water to a thick but fluid paste - too thin and it will just run off the top of your buns, too thick and you won't be able to pipe it! This part is a bit trial and error - different flours have different absorbency qualities so add more flour or water to get the right consistency

14. Put the paste into a piping bag - or a sturdy sandwich bag which you'll then snip the corner off. Remove the piece of cling film and pipe crosses of paste over the tops of each bun
15. Put the tray(s) in the oven for 25 minutes. To check if they're cooked, carefully lift one of the hot buns and tap the bottom - it should make a hollow sound

16. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with maple syrup to glaze the buns

17. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
18. To serve, split in half and toast under a hot grill 

These buns freeze really well! Just put into a lidded container (the sticky top will stick to a freezer bag!) and defrost thoroughly before using