Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Hot Cross Buns - The Sweet Rebellion
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Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Raisins are not really my thing. Hot Cross Buns however, are. A bit of a dilemma for me. My solution to this problem in the past has been to pick each and every raisin out of my hot cross bun before I can enjoy it.  A better solution of course is to make my own hot cross buns.

I’ve been keen to do this for ages, and naturally thought of going the chocolate chip direction. Eventhough I’m not mad about raisins, I think Hot Cross Buns need some kind of fruit to compliment the spices. I was thrilled to discover dried sour cherries. Eventhough they’ve been dried, they are soaked in juice, giving them a sweet flavour and soft texture. As soon as I tasted them I knew they would be the perfect companion to the rich, slightly bitter dark chocolate. Just a touch of orange zest to enhance all the deliciously dark, spicy and fruity flavours, and my Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Hot Cross Bun recipe was complete.


For the buns:
280ml milk
70g butter
60g soft brown sugar
20ml finely grated orange zest
10g instant yeast
1 large egg
5ml vanilla extract
500g bread flour
5ml salt
5ml cinnamon
10ml mixed spice
100g By Nature Dried Sour Cherries (available at Faithful to Nature)
80g dark chocolate, roughly chopped into chunks

For the crosses:
70g flour
10ml castor sugar
approx. 30ml milk

For the glaze:
65ml sugar
65ml water

milk, for brushing


  • Heat the milk, butter, sugar and orange zest together until the butter has melted and the mixture is lukewarm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and leave to stand for a few minutes.
  • Place the flour, salt and spices into the bowl of your stand mixer. Make a well in the centre, then add in the milk and yeast mixture as well as the egg and vanilla extract.
  • Use the dough hook to mix together until a soft dough has formed. Continue mixing for 5 minutes until the dough starts “climbing” the dough hook. Scoop the dough onto a floured surface and kneading by hand for a further 5 minutes. Alternatively use a wooden spoon to blend the ingredients together and knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand.
  • Place the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
  • Add the sour cherries and chocolate chunks to the risen dough and knead in to distribute evenly. Roll the dough into 12-18 equal balls (depending on how big you like them) and place onto a lined baking tray, quite close together but not touching. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for a further 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. Make the flour paste by mixing the flour and sugar together, then gradually adding just enough milk to make a thick paste. Place into a piping bag.
  • Brush the risen buns with a little milk, then pipe on the flour paste crosses. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make the glaze by heating the sugar and water together until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Remove the buns from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Brush the warm buns with the warm sugar glaze, then leave to cool a little more until ready to eat!
  • Best serve fresh with lashings of butter.  Can also be enjoyed the next day by halving the buns, then toasting in your toaster until crispy.



  • Nina Saacks
    Posted at 08:33h, 13 April Reply

    I made these for Easter yesterday for the first time ever, as it is not easy to come by fresh ones out here in the sticks in Moz! Unfortunately I didn’t have sour cherries or chocolate but I did find currants in my pantry which I substituted with. I was so surprised that I actually managed to make them and they were utterly DELICIOUS! They didn’t look half as pretty as yours (that’s because I didn’t have a decent piping bag – well, that’s the excuse I’m going with). But they were a big hit and worth all the experimenting. I’ll definitely be making them again, Craig’s favourite!

  • Astrid
    Posted at 13:30h, 25 April Reply

    Hi Nina. Thank you SO much for the feedback. It really makes my day! Glad to hear the buns were a hit, I hope you’ll make them again and again!

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