I’d been thinking about Hot Cross Buns for weeks. It happens every Easter, so it wasn’t a surprise really, however this year it was Chocolate Hot Cross Buns that were hopping through my mind like a hyperactive bunny.
But everyone and their mother has made Chocolate Hot Cross Buns and the bunny got bored with my lack of creativity, then hand on hip it tapped its foot and whistled and refused to make eye contact.
And so it was, as it hopped off on another lap of my brain, that the wheels started to turn. First chocolate led to ice cream (as it does), but the bunny kept hopping and ice cream led to a sundae. Then before I knew it a sundae led to a banana split.
And all of a sudden the bunny stopped hopping and was twerking its pompom tail for all it was worth and I was making Banana Split Hot Cross Buns (two days in a row none the less, to make sure they were ok of course).
But first the shops were closed for Good Friday and so cherries of any kind, aside from the dried ones in the dough, were out of the equation. And then the next morning these were photographed in a flurry of rainy light, as RJ paced the living room because we were late for a family Easter lunch, and a dollop of coconut cream was about as far as I could push things.
I figured that as we were showing up with hot cross buns a few minutes would all even out… RJ was not convinced by my bunny-led logic, although was perfectly willing to share a bun on the drive down.
As it turns out we weren’t even the last ones to arrive so everything worked out in the end (well except my theoretical Pinterest-breaking photo, but there’s always next year — ha!)
In any case, the bunny has now stopped hopping and wants you to know that he wishes you a very Happy Easter or Passover or Eastover or Hot Cross Bun Day or Banana Split Day or Sundae or even just a happy Sunday.
He also told me that you should go make some Hot Cross Buns. Smart bunny.
Banana Split Hot Cross Buns
I’ve realised the method on this reads like a novel — if you are an experienced bread baker you’ll wizz through most of it, if you are less experienced there is some detail to help you out! There are a few ideas in the COOK’S NOTES section if you want to simplify things.
- 1 c warm water, plus 2 Tbsp extra
- 1 packet dried yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
- 2 c organic unbleached white flour, plus extra as necessary
- 2 c organic stone ground whole wheat flour
- ¼ c olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
- ¼ c coconut sugar, divided
- ¼ c cocoa or cacao powder
- ½ c dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (100g)
- ½ dried banana chips (50g), broken into small pieces
- 1/3 c walnuts (45g), chopped
- 1/3 c dried sour cherries (60g) or strawberries, chopped
Crosses & glaze
- ¼ c unbleached white flour
- 2 – 3 Tbsp water
- 2 – 3 Tbsp apricot or strawberry jam
In a large bowl dissolve yeast and 1 Tbsp of the coconut sugar in 1 c warm water. Set aside until foamy. Add 1 c white flour and 1 c whole wheat flour to yeast mixture, beat 50 strokes using a wooden spoon.
Add oil, eggs, salt, vanilla and cinnamon to bowl and beat well to combine. Add remaining 1 c white flour and stir well. Add whole wheat flour a bit at a time, mixing until you really can’t stir with a spoon any longer.
Scrape dough out onto a well floured bench and knead 2 minutes, adding remaining whole wheat flour, until dough is manageable (although still a bit sticky). Invert bowl over dough and allow to rest 2 mins.
Remove bowl and knead dough for 5 mins — you can add extra white flour a teaspoon or so at a time if necessary — until smooth but still a bit tacky. Invert bowl over dough and rest another 2 mins. Meanwhile dissolve cocoa powder in the extra 2 Tbsp water then mix in remaining coconut sugar.
Remove bowl and divide dough in half. Knead one half for 2 mins until smooth, then set aside. Flatten second half with the palm of your hand, spread over chocolate mixture, sprinkle with a Tbsp or so of white flour and roll up.
Knead until chocolate is first marbled then completely mixed through dough, adding flour if necessary but keeping the dough tacky. This will start as a complete mess but just as you’re convinced that it won’t work it all starts to come together — really. Set aside chocolate dough and wash any remaining chocolate off your hands.
Flatten vanilla dough with the palm of your hand, sprinkle over half the chocolate chips, half the banana chips and all the sour cherries. Roll up and knead for 2 minutes until well combined. Drizzle the original bowl with a bit of extra olive oil, turn dough to coat and cover bowl with plastic wrap.
Flatten chocolate dough with the palm of your hand, sprinkle over remaining chocolate chips, remaining banana chips and all the walnuts. Roll up and knead for 2 minutes until well combined. Drizzle a new bowl with a bit of extra olive oil, turn dough to coat and cover bowl with plastic wrap.
Let dough(s) rise approx 1 hour until doubled in size. Grease a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) roasting pan with a bit of coconut oil and line base with baking paper.
Punch down both bowls of dough, turn out one at a time and form each into a long snake. Twist snakes around each other and squeeze gently to combine. Cut snake into 12 even pieces, roll into rounds and place evenly into pan — there should be a tiny bit of room between each.
Cover pan with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise 45 mins to 1 hour until just doubled in size. During the last 15 mins of rising preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Mix flour and water for crosses to a thick pancake batter consistency and spoon into a small plastic bag.
When rolls are ready to bake snip a corner off the baggie and pipe on crosses. Bake for 18-20 mins until just hollow when tapped. While rolls bake warm jam in a pan then push through a strainer to remove any fruit pieces.
Cool buns in pan 10 mins before turning out onto a rack and brushing with jam. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Flours, especially whole wheat flours, vary considerably in how much moisture they absorb. I use a stone-ground organic style, if yours is a bit more processed and closer to white flour with the bran added back in you may not need much extra during the kneading stage. Weather also impacts dough — I made this twice, two days apart, and needed more flour the second time than the first.
- If you want to simplify this recipe you can leave out the cocoa and sugar (except the sugar added to the yeast) and knead all the mix-ins into the whole batch of vanilla dough.
- Or mix the cocoa and sugar in with the eggs and make it all chocolate.
- Or divide the dough at the batter stage after mixing in the eggs etc, then stirring the cocoa and sugar into half, and continuing the recipe with two bowls of dough — adding half the flour to each and allowing one to rest while you knead the other as above.
dairy-free // soy-free // refined sugar-free // vegetarian