Cooking With Charl

Amateur home cook, with a love for baking and all things garlic :)

Chocolate orange hot cross buns (with orange glaze)

Easter is the one time in the year when you can get away with having chocolate with everything! Why should hot cross buns be any different?

As an avid fan of the great British bake off, of course I was going to watch the Easter special to see if I could get some seasonal inspiration. All of the recipes were fantastic as always but Paul hollywood’s hot cross bun recipe really caught my eye as I have never worked with an enriched dough before, so I took on the challenge.

Only problem is, I’m not too keen on hot cross buns, and my boyfriend hates dried fruit, so I came up with the idea if switching fruit for the just as healthy chocolate!!! (Because what’s Easter without chocolate?)

As I still wanted my buns to have great flavour I used orange zest and made a glazing syrup with the fruit as traditionally they are glazed with an apricot jam.

I hope this recipe inspires you to get creative and tamper with recipes to your liking.

(Makes 12)

INGREDIENTS

500g strong bread flour (+a little extra for the cross)
50g soft butter
75g caster sugar
1 egg
7g fast action yeast
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp salt
300ml warm milk
250g dark (or milk) chocolate
1 large orange
4 tbsp sugar

METHOD

Warm milk in the microwave or in a pan and set aside. Place the chocolate in a bag and smash into small chunks with a rolling pin. Grate the zest from the orange with a fine grater.

Sieve the flour into a bowl, add the sugar, salt, egg, cinnamon and cubed softened butter to one side and add the yeast to the opposite side of the bowl, ensuring the salt and yeast do not come in contact with each other.

Roughly mix the ingredients together and slowly add the milk, you may not need to use all of the milk, just enough to make a sticky soft dough.

When well mixed add the orange zest and chocolate chunks to the mix, knead the dough in the bowl slightly just to combine the chocolate and orange. Add more milk if needed.

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Tip the dough out on to a floured surface and knead the dough for around 10 mins, pulling and stretching the dough until it becomes smooth.

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Dust the mixing bowl with flour and place the dough inside and cover tightly with cling film. Place the dough in a warm place to prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. ( this may take slightly longer as the chocolate weighs the dough down considerably)

Slice the white pith from the orange in a downwards motion on a board, then when all the flesh of the orange is exposed, slice the individual segments out into a pan catching all the juice. When all segments are removed squeeze the rest of the juice out of the orange into the pan. Add the sugar and rapidly boil for 3 mins. Leave to cool.

When the dough has doubled in size, tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knock the air out of it. Start to roll the dough into a large sausage shape, cut in half and half again until you have 12 pieces of dough.

Roll the individual pieces of dough between the work surface and your palm to create perfect balls of dough.

Cover a large baking tray with greaseproof paper and place the balls of dough fairly close to each other so as they rise again they touch each other.

Cover the tray with cling film and leave to prove for a 2nd time in a warm place until doubled in size again.

In a bowl mix flour and water until it becomes a thick batter and place in a piping bag. Snip the end off and pipe the crosses, I like to start from the work surface and pipe continuous lines over them all like a noughts and crosses board.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 160c gm 5 for 20-25 mins

When baked and browned on top brush the buns with the sticky orange glaze and leave to cool on a wire rack.

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I hope you all have a chocolatey Easter!! 🙂

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Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling (a mary berry adaptation)

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I absolutley love carrot cake, but its something i rarely bake myself as i can never get my cream cheese frosting just right, but i came across these little lovelys in the new good food magazine. originally from a feature on Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief by Mary Berry.

Now im not one to ever tamper with any of Marys recipes but i struggled with the ingredient ‘shredded bran cereal’ that she uses, as this could be a number of things, and we are not ceareal eaters in the house, and i wanted to make these quickly so i subsituted for porridge oats which i love in muffins anyway, so really this was nothing more than an experiment, which thankfully worked in my favor 🙂

Ingredients

(makes 12)

For the filling

  • 150g cream cheese
  • grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

For the muffins,

  • 50g porridge oats
  • 225ml milk
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 150g grated carrot
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 200g self raising flour (if using plain flour add 2 tsps baking powder, 3 in total)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220c/gm7, place 12 muffin cases in muffin tins and set aside.
  • Place porridge oats in a bowl, cover with the milk and add the zest of half an orange, leave to sit for 5 mins.
  • In a large bowl add the light brown sugar, carrots and the porridge mixture and give it a good mix.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into the bowl but DO NOT MIX.
  • Break the eggs into a measuring jug with the oil and mix together until the eggs are properly broken up. Add this to the large mixing bowl and combine everything together.
  • Mix together the cream cheese, caster sugar and 1/2 orange zest in a small bowl and set aside.
  • With a tablespoon place a dollop of the batter in each muffin case, making sure to cover the bottom of the case, then add a teaspoon of the cream cheese filling in the centre of each muffin.
  • Use the rest of the batter to spoon over the filling making sure all cakes are evenly filled.
  • Bake in the over for 15-20 mins until the cakes spring back when touched and are golden brown in colour.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack and eat within 1 day.

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I was quite impressed with my experiment and I think the porridge gives the cakes a nice texture 🙂 and after having friends over there are only 2 left!

If you want the original recipe you can find it through the Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief’s website.

Happy baking 🙂

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