Lemon and White Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

My secret to better Easter Baking with Stork is giving Hot Cross Buns a modern twist by adding lemon zest, white chocolate and a hint of cardamom. The result is perfect for Easter. The zest from the lemon and the warmth from the spice is dreamy, especially when you bite into a chunk of creamy white chocolate. Cardamom is the perfect spice for hot cross buns, they are usually made with cinnamon but I think cardamom works best, especially for this recipe. 

I've never made hot cross buns before and for a long time I wasn't a fan. When I was younger I always preferred a hot buttered tea cake and my palate didn't extend to the mixed peel and spices in a hot cross buns. I also hated mashed potato so what did I know? As I got older and my tastes changed I began to appreciate the wonder that is a hot cross bun so I was really pleased when Stork emailed me and asked if I'd like to come up with my own take on the Easter staple as it gave me a good excuse to give them a go.

At first this dough will be super sticky and you might feel like you need to add loads more flour. You don't, it will work out. I had to use a palette knife to get all the dough off the counter to move it into the oiled bowl the first time but it's nothing to worry about. Adding too much flour will create a dry bun and nobody wants that. Another tip is don't skip the weighing out of the the buns if you want them all to look even, it's the best way to get an even looking batch. I will definitely be making these again in a few weeks time for Easter, they will be perfect on Easter Sunday morning with lots of butter and a coffee in bed - though I'm sure Matilda will have other ideas. 

Lemon and White Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

300ml milk
50g stork
550g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
80g caster sugar
7g sachet easy bake yeast
1 egg, beaten
130g dried fruit (sultanas and mixed peel)
zest of 2 lemons
100g white chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

for the cross:
80g flour
5 tablespoons water

for the glaze:
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon caster sugar

  1. Boil the milk in a small saucepan, remove from the heat and add the butter. Let it reach room temperature. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, yeast and sugar. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk and butter. Bring together with a wooden spoon then get in there with your hands.
  3. Lightly flour your work surface and tip the dough out. Knead for 5 minutes, it will become more elastic but still remain very sticky. 
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size.
  5. Leave the dough in the bowl and tip in the dried fruit, lemon zest, chocolate and cardamom. Knead the add ins into the dough until everything is evenly distributed. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Cover with cling film again and leave to rise for another hour. 
  6. Divide the dough into lumps of around 80g - I got 13 buns in total. Roll each piece into a ball on a lightly floured surface and arrange on a baking tray (two baking trays are best) leaving room for them to expand. Cover with cling film and leave for another hour. 
  7. Heat oven to 200 C / 400 F. To make the crosses, mix the flour with the water to make a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag and snip a small hole at the bottom. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create the crosses. Bake for 20 mins until golden.
  8. For the glaze, heat the honey and sugar in a small pan and brush over the buns while they are still hot.
Stork very kindly sent me the basic ingredients to make these buns.