Chocolate Chip Brioche Hot Cross Buns

4/21/2019 05:49:00 PM

Chocolate Chip Brioche Hot Cross Buns!

Chocolate Chip Brioche Hot Cross Buns

I had the idea to make some super-indulgent brioche chocolate chip hot cross buns, and thought the long Easter weekend would be the perfect time to give it a go. I used a classic brioche recipe (from the Roux Brothers) as my base, adding milk chocolate chips, a touch of candied mixed peel and some warming spices - cinnamon, mixed spice, and cardamom.

Brioche Ingredients

I'm not gonna lie, I nearly didn't blog this recipe at all. This was my first time making brioche the traditional way, and it was a long process with a LOT of effort! (I've previously used Fanny Zanotti's 5-Minute Brioche with good results). The results were also a little messy - or "informal", as Mary Berry might kindly say. I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested in seeing these, or if even I'd be keen on making these again in future. 

However, when I finally got to eat them, they were just so good! The buns were rich and buttery (but not greasy), with a hearty yet fluffy texture and crisp edges, and they had a good amount of chocolate without being cloying or overly heavy. The warm spices and the hint of orange really lifted the flavours. Gorgeous! I baked them on Easter Saturday, and by today, Easter Sunday, I've already smashed four of them. Whoops. Everyone who I've shared them with have loved them too! So, here's the recipe for my little ol' blog.

Brioche dough is basically a regular yeasted bread dough, enriched with eggs and (lots of) butter.  You make the dough as per a usual bread dough, kneading the base mixture for about ten minutes in a food mixer. Then you slowly work in the butter, kneading all the while. Once the butter is incorporated, you keep kneading it for yet another five minutes. Phew! (Of course, those times are much longer if you're kneading by hand).

I started with my Kitchen Aid, then, getting impatient during the butter-adding stage, transferred the dough to a food processor, where it promptly leaked through the hole in the centre of the mixer bowl and prevented the double-blade from rotating. Ugh! At this stage, there was nothing left to do but tip the dough out onto my kitchen bench and keep going by hand. The kitchen was a mess.

But finally, I finished the kneading, folded in the choc chips and mixed peel, and transferred the dough to a bowl for the first rise. And it was at this stage that I realised that the butter was starting to seep out of the dough - d'oh! I was exhausted and totally ready to chuck out the whole lot, but the amazing Sandra did some Googling and informed me that this problem is common if the dough is too warm (for example, if you've been kneading by hand for twenty minutes and essentially melting the butter with the warmth of your hands). So, I popped the leaky dough into the fridge for ten minutes to let the butter resolidify, then put it back in the Kitchen Aid for a minute or two to incorporate the butter back into the dough. From then on it was all fine! Learn from my mistake, kids, just use a mixer and be patient with the kneading! It will take time.

So, you prove it in a warm room for two hours or until doubled in size, then punch the dough to expel the gas (heh, never not funny). From here you need to refrigerate it for at least six hours and up to twenty four. I left the dough overnight. Here it is! All kneaded, proved, and rested. Aaah...

Dough, proved and rested

Then I rolled them into sixteen little buns... and let them prove in a warm room for another hour.

Buns ready for proving

I then piped some chocolate crosses on them...

Hot cross'd buns

... and baked them! As you can see from the pictures above, the brioche buns didn't really expand that much on the second proving, so I was worried the buns would be dense, but luckily, they were still quite fluffy! Hooray!

Fluffy innards

I think it's normal for a brioche dough not to rise too much on the second prove, what with all the added eggs and butter, and with it having been in the fridge overnight, slowing down the yeast activity.

I didn't glaze these - either before or after baking - as I knew the sugar and butter in the dough would cause the buns to brown quickly in the oven, and I didn't want to mess up the melty chocolate crosses after baking. They didn't need anything extra, they were just lovely as they were!

Chocolate Chip Brioche Hot Cross Buns

So, it was a lot of effort (all the cleaning!), but definitely worth it in the end. They were super delicious, and now I've learned how to make traditional brioche, woohoo! Save these for when you have time for an extended weekend baking project. They're perfect unadorned with a cup of coffee or tea - they certainly don't need any extra butter. Of course I made these for Easter, but just leave off the crosses and these would be suitable for a year-round treat! (Having said that, I'm not someone who complains about hot cross buns being available straight after Christmas - I love them!)

Enjoy! I hope you're having a great long weekend!

Brioche and Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
A recipe by Sarah Cooks, Brioche recipe based on The Roux Brothers' recipe

7 grams dried yeast
70 millilitres warm milk
15 grams (2 teaspoons) salt
500 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
6 eggs
350 grams softened butter
30 grams sugar
25 grams (2 tablespoons) chopped mixed peel
150 grams (3/4 cup) milk chocolate chips
50 grams (1/4 cup) dark chocolate chips, for the crosses

Place the yeast and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together. Add the salt, flour, spices and eggs.
Knead together with the dough hook until smooth and elastic, approx. 10 minutes.
Beat the softened butter and sugar together. On a low speed, add the butter a tablespoon at a time, making sure that it is completely amalgamated before adding the next spoonful. (If the butter is too soft or the dough gets too hot in the mixer it won't combine properly and be soft and squishy. If so, place the mixture in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to cool down and then continue).
Once combined, mix for a further 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and glossy and elastic. Add the mixed peel and chocolate chips and knead to distribute them throughout the dough.
Cover the dough with clingfilm and allow to rest in a warm place for approximately 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
Punch the dough to release the gas (heh). Form the dough into a ball, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
Divide the dough into 16 even pieces and roll into balls. Arrange the balls on a baking tray, and allow to prove in a warm place for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Melt the 1/4 cup chocolate chips, and place into a small ziplock plastic bag. Snip the edge off and pipe crosses onto the buns. (Of course you could use a piping bag if you have an appropriately sized one).
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
Makes 16

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

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  1. Brioche is such a PITA at times but then it comes out of the oven so buttery and rich and all is forgiven :P

  2. Wow the photos looks sweet and delicious, It makes me drooled just by looking at the pictures. can't wait to try baking these chocolate chip brioche hot cross buns together with my niece.



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