Hot Cross Buns are a popular treat enjoyed on Good Friday in the United Kingdom. They are a sweet bread traditionally filled with currants or raisins and topped with a cross . I made the non-traditional Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns last year, but these Strawberry Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns take it a step further. A buttermilk dough base is folded with dark chocolate pieces and butter, then wrapped around a roasted strawberry filling. Crosses made from flour and water are piped on top of each bun before baking. The buns are brushed with more butter once they are removed from the oven.
Allow the buns to cool for about 15 minutes after removing from the oven. The strawberry center will be very hot.
You can also make the cross on the tops of the buns with melted chocolate or white chocolate.
Strawberry Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
Adapted from Passionate About Baking
1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup (240 milliliters) buttermilk, room temperature
2 1/4 cups (270 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 vanilla bean
8 ounces (225 grams) strawberries
2 tablespoons (30 grams) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (50 grams) unsalted butter, melted and divided
3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) dark chocolate, divided
1/3 cup all purpose flour
~1/4 cup water
To prepare the strawberries: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Hull and quarter the strawberries and place in a medium oven safe skillet. Toss with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bake in preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Strain the liquid from the strawberries into a small bowl. Place the liquid back into the skillet and cook over medium heat until thickened. Add to strawberries in a small bowl and allow to cool completely. Cover and place in refrigerator until needed.
In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over buttermilk. Let sit for a minute then stir to combine. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with a dough blade or a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean. Process or mix in yeast with buttermilk and oil until dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and elastic. Oil a large bowl and add dough, turning to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.
On a floured surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle until about 1/4 inch thick. Brush the top with about 1/3rd of the melted butter. Evenly sprinkle with half the chocolate chips. Fold the dough inwardly into thirds, like a letter, to cover the filling. Roll into a rectangle again and brush with another 1/3rd of the butter. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and fold into thirds again. Roll gently to seal and cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Gently roll a piece into a ball, flatten, then place about 1 teaspoon of roasted strawberries in the center. Seal the edges to enclose the strawberries and gently roll again into a ball. Repeat with remaining pieces and place on baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until puffed, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix water into flour until a thick paste forms. Transfer to a plastic bag and cut off about 1/4 inch from the corner. Pipe crosses over the risen dough. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 390 degrees F and bake until the tops are golden, 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with remaining butter. Serve warm or at room temperature.