These super soft and fluffy hot cross buns are studded with chocolate mini eggs for the ultimate Easter treat. Fragrant with cinnamon and topped with a creamy vanilla custard cross, you won’t be able to stop at just one.
I’ve discovered that mini eggs are a bit of an Easter staple in the UK. And they ARE very cute. Who can resist little pastel-coloured, crispy-coated morsels of milk chocolate? Here, I’m combining them with another Easter staple – hot cross buns.
Hot cross buns are traditionally served on Good Friday and made with dried fruit, although alternative hot cross buns are becoming more and more popular. Not everyone likes dried fruit in these lovely spiced buns, but I don’t know who doesn’t like these chocolate studded, super soft, cinnamon-spiced, hot cross buns.
These buns are a labour of love, but there really isn’t much hands-on time here. Make your dough in a stand mixer, fold in the mini eggs, form the buns and bake. I’m also giving you two options for the crosses on your buns here – the regular flour and water cross, and a very special vanilla custard cross to up the luxurious factor even more.
I love using the custard cross because it adds another layer of flavour, while the flour and water version doesn’t taste like anything – but still looks great. Plus, if you make the vanilla custard version, any leftovers are wonderful dolloped onto toasted buns!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- They’re super soft, fluffy, light and DELICIOUS.
- A perfect alternative to traditional hot cross buns for picky eaters or kids.
- Great fresh from the oven, and equally great toasted and served with leftover vanilla custard.
- They freeze well and are quick and easy to defrost.
There are no fancy ingredients here and in fact, aside from the mini eggs, they’re all cupboard staples.
- Mini eggs. These crispy-coated milk chocolate eggs are a serious favourite when it comes to Easter. I don’t know what it is about that crispy coating, but it just makes them taste better than regular chocolate! If you can’t find them, regular mini chocolate easter eggs, a block of chocolate or chocolate chips will work just as well.
- Instant yeast. It’s super important that you’re using instant yeast, rather than active yeast when you’re following this recipe. If you only have active yeast that’s fine, but you’ll need to sprinkle it onto the milk and let it sit for 10 minutes to activate, before using it. If you try to add active yeast straight into the dough, you’ll end up with weird little yeast granules and your dough won’t rise properly.
- Bread flour. This is going to give you a softer, fluffier result, but if you only have plain flour that’s totally fine, the recipe will still work.
- Milk. I use whole milk, but low-fat milk would be fine too. You want it lukewarm in this recipe – 30 seconds in the microwave should do the trick. Check it by sticking your (clean) finger in – it should feel comfortably warm, but not hot.
You’ll also need a stand mixer for this recipe. This is a sticky, enriched dough and it’s hard to handle by hand. You can certainly try, but you’ll have to add more flour to make it workable and it’ll make the buns dense.
If you’re making the vanilla custard cross, you’ll also need vanilla extract, caster sugar and cornflour (cornstarch)
How to make them
Start with the dough. Get all your ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer, then knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is looking soft, smooth and supple and is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. It’ll still be a little sticky to the touch. Cover the bowl with cling film and let the dough rise until doubled in a warm place.
PRO TIP: The time it takes will very much depend on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen. It could take 40 minutes, it could take 1 1/2 hours. I like to take a photo of the dough as I cover it so that I can easily compare and see how it’s going. Watch the dough, not the clock.
While the dough is rising, make your cross mixture (whether that’s the regular flour cross or the vanilla custard version).
Lightly whack your mini eggs (either in their packet or pop them into a ziplock bag) to crush them slightly. Turn your risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a rough rectangle, about 30cm/12″ by 45cm/18″. Scatter the crushed mini eggs all over the dough. Press them lightly into the dough so they don’t move when you fold them into place.
Fold 1/3 of the dough over onto itself, then fold the other end over the top of the first fold. Press the dough together to seal it in place, then rotate it so the shorter side is facing you. Roll the dough up into a rough cylinder, then use your hands to form it into a ball.
Cut the dough into 12 roughly equal pieces – I like to weigh the dough to be precise but you don’t have to. Lightly flatten each piece out, then bring the edges up into the middle and roll it into a little circle. It can get a little messy forming the dough balls, so don’t worry if some of the mini eggs wiggle out. Just push them back in and patch the dough up.
Place each ball onto a small lined oven tray or dish, leaving a little room in between each because they will rise quite a lot. Cover lightly with cling film and let the buns rise again until they’re looking puffy and have increased in size by about 50%. To check they’re ready to bake, give one a little prod with your finger. If the indentation slowly fills and doesn’t bounce back immediately, they’re ready to go.
If you’re using the regular flour and water cross, go ahead and pipe the crosses onto the buns now. Do this slowly so that the mixture can cling properly to the buns.
If you’re using the vanilla custard cross, bake the buns for 15 minutes, then pipe on your crosses, then put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes. If you’re doing a regular flour cross, bake the buns for 30 minutes, undisturbed.
Remove the buns from the oven, then brush them with sugar syrup while they’re still hot. Let them cool for about 15 minutes before digging in while the chocolate is still gooey and gorgeous.
Got a question?
Yes! Any other mini chocolate Easter egg will work well, or just use a regular block of chocolate or chocolate chips.
Like most bread, these buns are best the day they’re baked. However, they’re wonderful when toasted (I love serving them dolloped with any leftover vanilla custard!) which is what I tend to do after the first day. You can also pop them in the microwave for 15 seconds to freshen them up.
You can! These buns freeze really well. I like to pop them into zip lock bags, and then you can just throw them (covered with foil) into the oven to defrost at 160C/320F fan for about 10 minutes. You can also cut them in half before freezing them and then just defrost them in the toaster.
There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can mix the dough, then let it sit for about 10 minutes at room temperature before covering it and popping it in the fridge overnight to rise. Then just pick up the recipe the next day by adding the mini eggs, shaping and baking. The buns may take a little longer to rise the second time because the dough will be cold. You can also pop the shaped buns into the fridge, before the second rise. Cover them and pop them into the fridge overnight (don’t leave them for more than 24 hours). Then you can bake them straight away.
Why is the recipe in grams?
Baking is all about precision, and weighing your ingredients using a digital scale is really the best way to do this. It’s just too easy for a cup measurement to be inconsistent – depending on how you pack in your flour, butter or sugar.
To guarantee you get the same results as I do in this recipe, you really do need to use a scale. You can buy them cheaply and you’ll find them SO useful. I use this digital scale from Amazon.
Like this recipe? Here are some more sweet ideas
If you make these hot cross buns, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print
Mini Egg Chocolate Hot Cross Buns Recipe
- Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 12 buns 1x
- Diet: Vegetarian
These super soft, fluffy hot cross buns are studded with chocolate mini eggs for the ultimate Easter treat. Fragrant with cinnamon and topped with a creamy vanilla custard cross, you won’t be able to stop at just one.
For the hot cross buns –
- 425g white bread flour
- 7g instant yeast
- 30g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 250g milk, lukewarm
- 50g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 160g mini eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
For the regular flour cross –
- 50g plain white flour
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the vanilla custard cross –
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 45g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 200g milk
- 20g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Make the dough. Add 425g bread flour, 7g instant yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 30g brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix to combine with a spatula or wooden spoon, then add 250ml lukewarm milk (I find popping it into the microwave for 30 – 45 seconds does the trick here), 50g melted butter and the egg. Fit your mixer with the kneading hook and knead the dough until smooth and supple. This will take about 10 minutes – stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl about 3 times just to make sure everything is being properly mixed together. Once the dough is smooth (it will still feel a little sticky), and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave it in a warm place to rise, until it’s doubled in size. PRO TIP: The time your dough takes to rise is going to depend on the temperature and humidity in your kitchen. Take a photo of the dough as you cover it so you can easily compare it to see how it’s doing. It could take an hour, or it could take 40 minutes. Watch the dough, rather than the clock.
- Make your cross. You have two options here. For the flour cross, mix 50g of plain flour, 4 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract with a fork or a small whisk in a bowl. You want it to resemble a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more flour if you think it’s too runny, or add more water to thin it out. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag, or use a ziplock sandwich bag, and set aside. For the vanilla custard cross, whisk 1 tablespoon of cornflour, 45g of caster sugar, the egg and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract in a bowl. Heat the milk until it’s ALMOST simmering in a small pot over medium heat, then slowly drizzle half into the bowl with the flour and sugar, whisking as you go. Transfer everything back into the pot over medium heat and cook, whisking continuously until the custard has thickened. Add the 20g of butter and whisk to combine. It should be smooth and thick at this point. Transfer the custard to a piping bag or ziplock sandwich bag and pop it into the fridge.
- Add the mini eggs. Either with your mini eggs still in their packet, or in a ziplock bag, give them a few whacks with a rolling pin to lightly crush them. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and stretch it into a rectangle, roughly 30cm/12″ by 45cm/18″. Sprinkle the crushed mini eggs evenly over the dough, press them lightly into the dough, then fold one-third of the dough on top of itself, and then fold the other third on top. Press to seal the dough together, then turn the dough so the short side is facing you. Roll it up into a cylinder, tuck the ends in and form it into a rough ball. Divide the dough into 12 roughly equal pieces (about 80g each if you’re using a scale).
- Form the buns. Gently flatten each piece of dough out, then bring the edges up together, pinch to seal and flip over so the sealed part is on the bench. Gently rotate the dough and shape it into a tight ball. Place onto a baking paper lined oven tray, leaving a little space in between each ball to leave space for rising. I like to do 4 rows of 3 buns. Cover the buns lightly with clingfilm and let them rise again until they spring back slowly when pressed and have increased about 50% in size. This will take around 30 minutes but again, take a photo so you can easily compare to see how they’re going. While they’re rising, heat your oven to 180C/360F fan.
- Bake the buns. If you’re using the flour/water cross mixture, pipe them on before the buns go into the oven. I like to do this quite slowly so that the mixture is able to properly stick to the surface of the buns. Put the buns in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. If you’re using the vanilla custard cross mixture, pop the buns into the oven for 15 minutes, then remove them and pipe on your crosses. Put them back in the oven for a further 15 minutes.
- Brush with the glaze. Heat your sugar and water mixture in the microwave for 15 seconds. Remove the buns from the oven – they should be looking lovely and golden all over. Brush the sugar syrup all over the buns while they’re still hot. Let the buns cool for about 15 minutes, then dig in while the chocolate is still gorgeously gooey and oozy.
I really recommend you use a scale for this recipe, rather than trying to convert it to cups. Baking is about precision, and using a scale guarantees this and guarantees the best result. You can buy digital scales really cheaply, I use this one from Amazon.
It can get a little messy shaping the buns. If the mini eggs escape the dough, just pop them back in. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect!
INGREDIENT NOTES: Make sure you’re using instant yeast for this recipe. If you only have active yeast and you try to follow the instructions as written, you’ll find you end up with little yeast granules in your dough and the dough just won’t rise properly. If you want to use active yeast, sprinkle it onto the lukewarm milk and let it sit for 10 minutes to dissolve and activate, then continue with the recipe.
SUBSTITUTIONS: If you can’t find mini eggs, use another mini chocolate Easter egg, a regular block of milk chocolate or chocolate chips. Bread flour is going to give you a softer, fluffier bun, but regular all-purpose flour will work fine if that’s all you have. Low-fat milk works just as well as whole if that’s all you have.
STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: The buns are best (and softest) the day they’re baked but will keep for 3 days, stored at room temperature. On the second day, you can either freshen them up in the microwave for 15 seconds or slice them and pop them in the toaster. They also freeze really well. Either freeze them whole in zip lock bags, then reheat them in the oven, covered, for 10 minutes at 160C/320F fan OR slice them, pop them into zip lock bags and defrost directly in the toaster.
- Prep Time: 10
- Rising Time: 90
- Cook Time: 30
- Category: baking
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: british
Keywords: hot cross buns, chocolate hot cross buns