Easter Hot cross Buns recipe

Hot cross bun recipe

It's that time of year when the hot cross bun makes it's appearance and don't we wish it was all year round?! They are just so damn delicious, all warm and toasted topped with butter and jam (if that's your sort of thing).

This  year I was tasked with making 1700 of them for an event of which I can't disclose, but I tell you, after making so many I would consider myself somewhat of an expert. Last year I developed my own recipe after much practice. This year, I've changed it again slightly, and frankly think they are the best thing ever.... and completely fail safe. They will take you all of about 2-3 hours... and this includes proving time!

So.... to the recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 12g dried yeast
  • 44-50ml water - the amount depends on what you use for a 'filling'. If using chocolate drops, fudge or anything that could melt with the hot milk and butter, use less water.
  • dried fruit - your choice, I like cranberries
  • 1 orange zest
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg for glazing
  • 50ml golden syrup

And now to the method...

  • Heat your milk to hot, not boiling, but hot.
  • Melt butter
  • Warm water to luke warm
  • Mix all your dry ingredients in a stand mixer, leaving the yeast to the last minute. Stir with a wooden spoon so everything is well mixed. 
  • Make a well in the middle and add the wet ingredients - Milk, Water, Butter then egg. Be careful with the water, it has to be exact or it will make your mixture too sticky and difficult to work with.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until a little bit incorporated. Then using a dough hook in your stand mixer, mix on medium speed till incorporated. Keep mixing for about 3 minutes, this will help with the kneading.

    Here's a little video on kneading, or at least how I like to do it!
  • Turn the dough onto a work surface - no need for flour, unless your dough is too hot and sticky, you may need to use a bit of flour, not too much as your buns will be heavy and won't rise properly. Knead for about 6 minutes - this is important as you want your dough to be stretchy. By doing this you are activating the gluten and making sure the yeast is working with the hot milk and butter.
  • Make into a smooth ball and put into a well oiled bowl, don't oil it too much or your dough will be too oily. Wrap in oiled cling film and place in a warm area. I usually put it either on top of my oven, or I turn my oven on high, once it's heated, turn it off, open the door and stick your bowl in front of it.
Proving dough
Proving hot cross buns
  • Leave your dough to prove until it has doubled in size
Proving hot cross bun dough
  • Once it has doubled in size, push all the air out and knead again for a further 2-3 minutes. You don't want any air or you will get empty pockets in your finished buns, and frankly we want as much bun as possible to enjoy right?!
  • Cut, weigh and roll into smooth balls. I usually make mine between 61g-63g each, you'll have a tiny bit left over, just roll it into a small ball and enjoy it straight from the oven!

Rolling into perfect balls!

  • Cover in oiled grease proof paper and leave to rise again till double the size.
  • While they are proving, make a paste with flour and water, you want it to be gloopy and thick.
  • Preheat oven to 170ºC / 338ºF / Gas mark 3.
  • Once doubled in size, brush with egg wash, and draw a cross over each, either by piping or with a spoon. They might look a little suncken and wrinkly, don't worry, they'll be fine!
Hot cross bun crossed
  • Bake for 13-14 minutes in preheated oven or until golden brown.
  • As soon as they come out, brush with heated golden syrup. You can also use warm apricot jam, or a simple syrup. 

When eating your hot cross buns, if you'd like them hot, either eat them straight from the oven - the best, or slice in half and stick under the grill for 30-45 seconds. Don't put them in the toaster because of the glaze. Of course you don't have to glaze them if you'd rather use a toaster!

Christmas Whoopie Pies

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This weekend was the Christmas Foodies Festival at The Truman Brewery. I had so much fun teaching how to create quirky Christmas Whoopie Pies. 

 

You can do so much with Whoopie pies, and we have loads for this years festivities. Here are a few of what we have

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And don't forget you can get these in The Food Hall in Selfridges.

So as promised, here is the recipe for the chocolate Whoopie pies that we did at Foodies. 

Ingredients

125g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 teaspoons red food colouring
225g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
122g buttermilk

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Remember that it will depend on your oven. At the festival I had it on at 160ºC, but in my own kitchen I have it on at 140ºC. Line baking trays with baking paper. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Step 2

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add food colouring (optional). Beat until combined. Meanwhile, sift flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl.

Step 3

Add half the flour mixture to butter mixture. Stir to combine. Add vinegar and half the buttermilk. Stir to combine. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and buttermilk until just combined.

Step 4

Drop level tablespoons - (you can use an ice cream scoop or put in a piping bag to make sure you get the size you want) of mixture onto prepared trays, 5cm apart, allowing room for spreading. Bake, 1 tray at a time, for 12-14 minutes or until puffed and cooked through. Stand on trays for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Cool. Repeat with remaining trays.

If you are making the rudolf whoopies, do the same process and add a little bit of red food colouring. Remember to use the paste and NOT the liquid. Pipe little rounds and bake for about 8 minutes.

Once they have cooled, brush some edible glue (you can use simple syrup which is just sugar and water - 2:1) dust a little EDIBLE glitter quickly otherwise the whoopie will soak all the glue up.

Make your Italian Meringue Buttercream (recipe below), you can use normal buttercream if you like - 150g butter, 150g Icing sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla or any flavour you like.

Fill your whoopie with the same amount you piped for the batter. Gently press the other half on top. Pipe a little dollop on top and stick rudolf's nose on.

For the eyes, just use 1 mini marshmallow and cut in half. Stick on with either a little icing or use some melted chocolate.

Give him some pupils, either with melted chocolate or an edible pen.

For the antlers, use salted pretzels and stick 2 in the top!

And hey presto you have Rudolf the Reindeer! Remember, you can make santa and a gingerbread sleigh to create a whole christmas scene. you'll find my gingerbread recipe here

Do send me pics of how you get on, I'd love to see them. You can send them to daisy@daisybrydoncreations.com, or tag me - Twitter @daisybcreations, Instagram - @whoopsiedaisy

We're international!!

It's rather exciting over here! We've become international don't you know! We've just sent some cakes over to Malta by aeroplane...

Last year I did take some sugar flowers over to Massachusetts in New England, USA, with my heart in my mouth, for a wedding - though it was a friends wedding, it still tested my nerves which are slightly on edge at the best of times.

If Ellen Degeneres played one of her scares on me, I'd most definitely jump out of my skin, and probably have a similar experience to when she scared Taylor Swift... if you haven't seen the video, you must, it's hilarious! 

So my first thought was 'how the B*****hell am I going to package the cakes to make sure they don't get crushed.' Thinking about what my suitcase goes through on a plane, I dread to think what will happen with a box, with a cake inside!

They initially asked for a chocolate ganache covered cake.... no chance, a cake, covered in chocolate? That's just asking for trouble. So modelling chocolate it is.  A little side note about modelling Chocolate, I LOVE it. It's so easy to work with - a little temperamental to make at first, but for modelling and covering cakes, it's just perfect... except in the summer.... then it's not so perfect, but still great.... you get the idea! The other thing was the cakes were going to have edible images on top, this was something else I had to think about.

So I researched sending cakes by air for a whole day, watching youtube videos and calling packaging companies. Finally I came to the decision that I would have to bite the bullet, take all the info I had acquired and put it in place. So I ordered 2 insulated boxes (I prayed they were the right size!), 2 sturdy cake boxes (thinking they were the right size) and a whole load of bubble wrap and 'fragile' tape. 

The sturdy cake boxes arrived..... Oh.... wrong depth, bugger! Actually turns out, they were pretty perfect... a happy accident! I was so nervous about the cakes surviving I baked 2 round almond sponges instead of square, and only realised until the day before delivery! Doh! So back to baking! 

Once the cakes were baked, cooled, filled with chocolate ganache and covered in modelling chocolate that I had to rescue twice..... it's summer ok, don't judge me, it was now crunch time... packaging.

In the base of the box I placed 2 large squares of non slip matts, you can get these from any hardware shop.

This will stop the cake moving about in the box.

You can see there is a bit of space between the cake and the box, you can also see that I haven't attached the edible images. I packaged these separately so that they can attach these when the cakes arrive. I was concerned about any condensation from the plane making the ink run. 

I wrapped the cake in parchment paper and then encased it in bubble wrap, this filled all the gaps and on the top too, in hindsight I possibly should have put some parchment on the top of the cake too just incase the bubble wrap marks it, though I had left it long enough for the chocolate to go hard before wrapping it.

You can see in the second photo that I've put some polystyrene on either side, the box was slightly too small to put poly on all sides, so I stuffed some bubble wrap on the other sides.

I also bought some gel freeze packs. As the cakes were chocolate, I wanted to prevent any possiblilty of melting. I didn't place them directly onto the cake box as when it melts I didn't want any condensation to seep through. I wrapped them in those inflatable giant bubble wrap things, I had ordered some cake supplies and kept the bubble wrap that they came in! Perfect. 

As you can see I've wrapped it up pretty well and attached a photo on top of the contents inside the box, this is so security don't have to open it and use their probe, this would make the cake in-edible, so better to be safe than sorry. . Make sure you write 'THIS WAY UP' on the box, the boxes might say it also, but better to double up. 

So... cakes delivered and wished good luck!