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1. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, butter, mixed spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and the yeast into a large bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre then pour in the tepid water and the egg. Mix well.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead thoroughly for 10 minutes until silky smooth. The dough can also be mixed and kneaded in a large electric mixer fitted with a dough hook – work on low for 1-2 minutes and medium for 6-8 minutes. Now add the chocolate chips (stage 2), distribute evenly and knead.
3. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a snap-on lid or slip the bowl into a large plastic bag - this avoids a skin forming on the dough. Leave in a warm place for approximately 45 minutes.
4. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 16 or 17 equal pieces, approximately 70g each, and shape into balls. Set well apart on the baking tray then slip the tray into a large plastic bag (again this avoids a skin forming on the dough) and leave to rise as before until doubled in size – this could take 60-90. Meanwhile heat the oven to 210ºC/410ºF/Gas Mark 6.
5. To make the paste for the cross (stage 3), mix the flour, water, salt and vegetable oil to make a smooth thick paste that can be piped. Spoon into a greaseproof paper piping bag (or a small plastic bag) and snip off the tip. Uncover the buns and pipe a paste cross onto each.
6. Bake in the heated oven for 13 -15 minutes, watch that you don’t burn the bottoms.
7. Meanwhile, make the sticky glaze (stage 4) by heating the jam and water until dissolved. Boil for one minute then brush over the buns as soon as they are out of the oven. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
If you want to add mixed peel, then replace 50g of the chocolate chips with 50g of mixed peel
Makes 17 buns
465g Marriage’s Strong White bread flour
37g dark cocoa powder
37g fresh yeast or 2 ½ sachets of easy-blend dried yeast
7g sea salt
70g unsalted butter, diced
70g caster sugar
1 large egg
223ml tepid water
23g ground mixed spice
5g ground nutmeg
5g ground cinnamon
210g chocolate chips
Stage 3 - for the cross:
100g Marriage’s Strong White bread flour
100ml cold water
40ml vegetable oil
Stage 4 - for the glaze:
50g apricot jam
30ml of hot water
A baking tray covered in grease proof paper