Chocolate Orange Brioche Hot Cross Buns

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross BunsIt has been a while since I posted here. It seems like after writing the book, I just subconsciously wanted to take a mental break from blogging about recipes. I think I finally came back 🙂 I wanted to do something different with hot cross buns this year. I was actually inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe and video. This is definitely an upgrade from the usual dried fruits one, which is also very tasty, such as the Honey Glazed Brioche Hot Cross Buns on this blog. For this chocolate one, I even added finely chopped rosemary to make a “grownup” version. The earthiness of rosemary is fantastic with a good dark chocolate and hints and orange. You can leave it out if you prefer. This recipe is based on the brioche recipe in French Pastry 101. I doubled it and added cocoa powder, and inclusions to make these buns. That goes to show that once you have mastered the basic recipes, you can be a little creative and make your own versions. Hope you like theseChocolate Orange Brioche Hot Cross Buns!

Chocolate Orange Brioche Hot Cross Buns


  • 3-1/3 cup (500 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp (25 g) good quality cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp instant yeast
  • 2-1/2 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup (60 g) sugar
  • 6 large eggs, cold
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) whole milk, cold
  • 1-1/3 cup (300 g) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
  • ¼ cup (35 g) chopped candied orange peels
  • ½ cup (80 g) chopped dark chocolate wafers (such as Valrhona Tainori 64%), plus 15 wafers for the centers
  • 2 tsp (2 g) chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • Egg Wash
  • 1 large egg
  • a pinch of salt
  • Glaze
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp (130 g) icing sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp (15-20 g) water
  • Decoration
  • Coloured milk chocolate eggs


  1. For the dough, whisk together the flour, cooca powder, yeast, salt, and sugar in the mixer bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, lightly whisk the eggs and milk. Start the mixer on low with the dough hook attachment in the flour, and slowly add in the egg and milk mixture and let the mixture mix for 2-3 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add in the butter in 3 additions, allowing it to incorporate for about a minute in between additions. The butter will take about a total of about 25-30 minutes to work into the dough; so don’t worry if it looks sloppy in the process. It might be tempting to add in more flour because it will look very loose, but refrain from doing so because it will change the recipe. The gluten bonds needs time and mixing to form so the mixing will eventually firm up the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl twice, about every 10 minutes after you add the butter so it gets evenly distributed. The dough is done mixing when it is elastic and not sticky. Add in the inclusions: candied orange peels, chopped chocolate, rosemary (if using), and orange zest. Mix until it is just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, form the dough into a ball, and place it into a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1-2 hours at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in volume. Turn the dough out again onto a work surface, press out the large air pockets and form it into a ball. Place it back into the bowl, top with plastic wrap and place it into the fridge for 2-3 hours, or preferably overnight.
  2. When ready to shape, butter a 13” x 19” pan with butter. Have the chocolate wafers ready. Turn the cold dough onto a floured work surface, and divided into 15 equal pieces, about 86 g each. Press down to flatten each piece of dough, place a chocolate wafer into the center, and bring in the edges to encase the chocolate. Cup your palm and roll the dough on the work surface in a circular motion to form a round ball. Continue with the rest of the dough and chocolate. Place the dough balls into the butter pan in a 3 by 5 pattern. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place to let it rise for 2-3 hours until the buns have doubled in size.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. To make the egg wash, whisk together the egg and salt in a bowl. Brush the egg wash onto the buns. Bake the buns for 30-35 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned. Cool completely before glazing them.
  4. For the glaze, whisk together the icing sugar, orange zest, and water in a bowl. Transfer the glaze into a small piping bag; you can also use a corner of a ziplock bag.
  5. To finish the buns, snip the tip of the piping bag to the thickness you like, pipe a line across the middle each row and column of the buns to create the signature hot cross buns pattern. Sprinkle with crushed chocolate eggs, and serve!

The tip to making these buns is to fully develop the gluten bonds in the dough when you mix it. After you add the butter it will look like a “hot mess” and you may be tempted to add flour, but it is actually a common mistake when making bread because you are changing the recipe. Let the mixing do its job and the dough will gain elasticity and form.Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Nothing quite beats fresh hot cross buns with some butter and tea in the morning, as Jamie Oliver said in the video 🙂 These are the best warm, when the chocolate centre is still gooey and warm. They can also be reheated in the a 300 F oven for 3-4 minutes before serving. The soft and rich crumb makes these buns a decadent Easter treat, kids can even help out!

Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

What are your Easter traditions?

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