Having made the traditional hot cross buns many times before, I wanted to experiment and try something different this year. Of course, I thought of green tea, one of my favourite flavours. I came across quite a few recipes that paired these green tea hot cross buns with red bean paste or sweetened red beans, but I love the pairing of green tea and white chocolate. The bitterness of the tea flavour works well with the sweetness of the white chocolate and it’s not so far off from making chocolate hot cross buns. I bought some hot cross buns from my local bakery to compare with and these hot cross buns are just as or even more so, fluffy inside. Perfect warm, with a thin smothering of butter or even red bean or black sesame paste if you’re feeling a bit adventurous.
600g Plain Flour, Extra for Dusting
14g Dried Instant Yeast
100g Caster Sugar
25g Matcha Green Tea Powder
1 1/2 tbsp Mixed Spice
1/8 tsp Salt
250g White Chocolate Chips
50g Unsalted Butter
300ml Full Cream Milk, Room Temperature
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
Flour Paste for the Crosses
90g Plain Flour
4-7 tbsp Water
30g Caster Sugar
1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, caster sugar, matcha green tea powder, mixed spice and salt. Then add in the yeast and stir until mixed well.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat. Then add in the milk and heat until the mixture is lukewarm.
3. Pour the lukewarm milk and butter mixture into the dry ingredients, along with the beaten eggs and mix slowly until the dough starts to combine then add in the white chocolate chips and mix until the dough forms into a ball.
4. Take the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface, and knead the dough for around 10 minutes or until the dough is nice and smooth. Place the dough into a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for around 1 to 1.5 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
5. Once the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and knead the dough back to its original size. Split the dough into 12 equal parts (roughly 100g in weight) and roll into a ball. Then place onto a lined baking tray roughly 1 cm apart and allow the dough to rest for another 30 minutes. Once the dough has doubled in size again or near doubled in size, preheat the oven to 170?C.
6. To make the crosses, combine the plain flour and water in a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until it’s just runny enough to pipe. Place the paste into a piping bag and pipe onto the buns.
7. Once the dough has doubled in size, place in the oven to bake for around 20 to 25 minutes or until they have browned on the top. Remove from the oven and place the buns onto a cooling rack.
8. To glaze the buns, combine the water and caster sugar into a small saucepan and heat over low heat. Bring to the boil, stirring if necessary so that the sugar dissolves and boil for around 3 to 4 minutes. Brush the glaze onto the warm hot cross buns then serve the buns warm or at room temperature.
Chocolate mousse is so easy to make and it’s such a lovely treat and you want to indulge just a little. I recommend using decent quality dark chocolate to make this as that will make a big difference in taste! Once you have the basic method down pat, experiment with some alcohol or coffee for a bit of a kick.
Chocolate Mousse (Taste.com.au)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Passive Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
300g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
45g caster sugar
1 tbsp good-quality cocoa powder, sifted
300ml thickened cream
1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Stir until melted. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
2. Place eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 5 minutes, or until mixture is pale, thick and doubled in volume. Fold in cooled chocolate and cocoa powder until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whip cream until thickened (be careful not to over-beat). Use a large metal spoon to carefully fold the cream into the chocolate mixture, trying to keep the mixture as light as possible.
4. Spoon into 6 serving glasses and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving, then top with strawberries.
I love freshly baked cookies and even more so love making cookies. For one, it’s so easy to make and secondly, just the smell of them baking in the oven makes you all feel like a kid again. I made these cookies when I really had nothing else to do and had walnuts and choc chips lying around in the pantry. I must point out that these cookies don’t use baking powder so you will find they will not expand in the oven nor will they have that chewy texture some might prefer (like Subway cookies). These are slightly denser but tasty nonetheless. Check out the recipe from Taste.com.au below
125g butter, softened (You can use baking margarine but will not have the same taste)
50g (1/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
150g good-quality dark cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped (or buttons)
150g (1 1/2 cups) walnut halves, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
3. Sift the flour over the butter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add the chocolate and walnuts, and stir to combine.
4. Use your hands to roll tablespoonsful of the cookie mixture into balls. Place the balls, 3cm apart, on prepared trays. Use a fork to flatten slightly.
5. Bake in preheated oven, swapping the trays halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on the trays for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
I used margarine (that can be used for baking) but found it lacks the buttery taste that makes cookies so tasty and also slightly drier. It’s a somewhat strange taste at first but after a few bites it isn’t so bad and actually kinda addictive. The chopped walnuts have this beautiful aroma in the cookies and the dark chocolate chips give it just enough sweetness. I know most would prefer more sugar, so even doubling the sugar while using dark chocolate chips still would be not too sweet.
I found that the original recipe uses 200g of cooking chocolate but when mixing it all in, it looked like a ridiculously large quantity that would overwhelm the entire cookie and you wouldn’t be able to shape them properly. Just slowly add the walnuts and chocolate in until you come to your preferred balance. As mentioned above, the cookies will almost be the same size before and after baking so keep that in mind. I wouldn’t call these healthy cookies but they are a lighter option if using margarine and less chocolate (and sugar)
Wanting to make a Panna Cotta but without the trouble of pureeing fruits like mangos to make the Panna Cotta, I found this white chocolate recipe on Taste.com.au. The addition of the coffee syrup intrigued me as it seemed too delicious not to give it a try. I’ve made this a couple times already and have made a few changes to the recipe to my liking. As something extra, I tried to add some toffee on top just to make it look nicer.
You will need eight 150ml capacity dariole moulds for this recipe. If you like to serve it in bowls, just any small bowls will do.
600ml thickened cream
1 x 180g pkt white chocolate, broken into small pieces
160ml (2/3 cup) milk (can use light milk)
70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
2 tbs boiling water
3 tsp powdered gelatine
Coffee Syrup (Version 1)
100ml freshly brewed strong espresso coffee or 3 Nespresso capsules using the espresso function
3 or 4 tsp white sugar
Coffee Syrup (Version 2)
100ml freshly brewed espresso coffee (3 Nespresso capsules using the espresso function – froth skimmed off)
100g raw sugar/caster sugar
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) water
1. Heat water in a small saucepan over medium/high heat until it starts to boil. In a separate heat-proof bowl place the cream, chocolate, milk and caster sugar in the bowl and over the saucepan over medium/low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
2. Place the boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Sprinkle with gelatine and whisk with a fork to remove any lumps. Set aside for 3 minutes or until gelatine dissolves. (I also just place the bowl of gelatine on top of my bowl of boiling water which helps keep it warm/dissolve any extra gelatine powder)
3. Add gelatine to cream mixture and whisk to combine.
4. Pour among eight 150ml capacity dariole moulds. Place on a baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 6 hours to set. Or overnight. Make sure the plastic wrap is tight as some of the heat from the mixture may create water droplets and affect the consistency on the top layer of the panna cotta (Although not an issue if using dariole moulds and turning them upside down)
5. Dip moulds, 1 at a time, into hot water for 1-2 seconds, then turn onto serving plates. Drizzle with coffee syrup (steps below) to serve.
Coffee Syrup (Version 1)
1. Place the coffee and white sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.
Note: You may not even need to heat it over a saucepan if you can dissolve the sugar in the hot coffee/espresso. If using Nespresso capsules, just skim off the froth before serving.
Coffee Syrup (Version 2)
1. Place the coffee and sugar in a small saucepan over medium/high heat until it starts to boil. Reduce down to a medium/low heat and stir until the syrup coats the back of the spoon or until the consistency desired. Please note that if you place the syrup in the fridge (or when cooled down) the syrup will be slightly more thicker and viscous than when it was cooking. Set aside to cool and then place into the fridge if you prefer it to be a thicker consistency.
1. Stir water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Don’t bring it to the boil until all the sugar is dissolved.
2. Increase heat to high. To dissolve any sugar left on the side of the pan, brush down with a wet pastry brush. Bring to boil.
3. Cook until the mixture is a rich golden colour – don’t let it burn. Remove from heat – the residual heat continues to colour toffee.
- Toffee troubleshooting: A common problem when making toffee is crystallisation. The sugar clumps together into a white and grainy syrup that turns into a messy solid mass. To avoid starting again, try these tips.
- Dissolve the sugar completely before increasing the heat and bringing the mixture to the boil. You’ll know when it’s dissolved – there won’t be any crystals on your spoon.
- Brush any sugar crystals from the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush during the toffee-making process. Undissolved sugar on the side of the pan causes crystallisation.
- Don’t stir the toffee mixture once it comes to the boil – this also leads to crystallisation.
I reduced the sugar from the original recipe as I find the white chocolate already adds a significant amount of sugar to the panna cotta. The panna cotta here is smooth and creamy but slightly denser due to the larger quantity of thickened cream used. Some may prefer a lighter panna cotta (I actually do) but due to the amount of cream used and in the white chocolate too, it really can’t be helped. I’m not sure if increasing the milk quantity and lowering the cream would result in a panna cotta that sets properly but certainly I’ll keep you updated to see if that does work.
The coffee syrup (Number 1) is a more liquid syrup with less sugar. It allows the bitterness and strong espresso flavour to come out and since the panna cotta has enough sweetness, the contrast makes an excellent combination.
Version 2 of the coffee syrup is sweeter due to the requirement to make it more viscous and thicker. You don’t know how many times I tried reducing the first version into a thicker syrup when it couldn’t possibly do so with the minimal sugar added. The consistency of version 2 is lovely though.
As mentioned above, the toffee should only be added at the very last minute, as it will start to turn to liquid when either in contact with the panna cotta or coffee syrup slowly.
This recipe was a crowd pleaser so I definitely can recommend giving it a try and it’s very easy to make as well.
This probably isn’t the best time to post this seeing as it’s July. I always end up making things too late or even after the particular festive time comes around so this is just typical me. I love the smell of warm hot cross buns, it’s that cinnamon and spice mix that just keeps me calm. I also love kneading bread so making hot cross buns is jut plain relaxing. I found a recipe on Taste.com.au and it’s quite a good recipe irrespective of my little mistakes whilst trying to make it. Check it out below!
Hot Cross Buns (Taste.com.au)
Makes 12 large buns
4 cups plain flour
2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar (a bit less)
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice (I didn’t have this so I used 1tbsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp ground ginger, 1/4tsp ground cloves)
pinch of salt
1/2 cups currants
1/2 dark chocolate bits
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain flour
4 to 5 tablespoons water
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice, salt and currants in a large bowl. (I split my recipe in half half, with one adding currants and the other with dark chocolate buttons)
2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add milk. Heat for 1 minute, or until lukewarm.
3. Add warm milk mixture and eggs to currant mixture. Use a flat-bladed knife to mix until dough almost comes together. Use clean hands to finish mixing to form a soft dough.
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.
5. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Punch dough down to its original size. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place balls onto lined tray, about 1cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes, or until buns double in size. Preheat oven to 150/160°C.
6. Make flour paste: Mix flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner of bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are cooked through.
7. Make glaze: Place water and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Brush warm glaze over warm hot cross buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The original recipe asked to preheat at 190. I disagree as it turns out, it’s way too hot for my particular oven. It should be more at 150/160 especially if it’s fan forced. Otherwise the bun browns too fast and the inside is undercooked.
My other mistake was I poured the warm mixture of butter and milk onto my dry ingredients for my choc buns I let it sit there whilst I kneaded my currant dough. Big mistake, as it became all stiff and hard once I got back to it. So if you want to split the mixes, either knead/mix the wet and dry ingredients really quickly or do it one at a time. I was just worried the warm milk and butter mixture would cool too quickly (it didn’t).
My currant hot cross buns were soft and had a beautiful fragrance to it. These are best eaten fresh as they get hard pretty quickly unless you warm them up in the microwave. So it’s a good recipe but I’ll probably try another recipe when Easter comes around again.