Weight Watchers Recipes

Chocolate orange hot cross buns

Hot cross buns have been a staple in our house for as long as I can remember. This recipe puts a cocoa spin on the dough and instead of the fruit in the classic hot cross bun, these buns have choc chips. Use milk, dark, white or a mixture.



  • 1½ tbsp (33 g) bread flour
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp (45 ml) whole milk


  • ¼ cup (56 ml) butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ orange, zested
  • 3 tsp (9 g) instant yeast
  • 2½ cups (340 g) bread flour
  • ¼ cup (30 g) cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1¼ tsp (5 g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (about 120 g) chocolate chips, milk, dark, and/or white
  • Canola oil, for greasing

Toppings and Glaze

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tsp + ¼-⅓ cup (15 ml + 60-80 ml) water, divided
  • ¼ cup (34 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (4 g) sugar
  • ⅓ cup (42 g) icing sugar
  • 3 tsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice

Rising time: About 4 hours in total.


  1. For the tangzhong (see Note), whisk the flour, water and milk together in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thick. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer.
  2. For the dough, whisk the butter into the tangzhong to melt and incorporate. Add the milk along with the egg, vanilla and orange zest and whisk to combine. Sprinkle over the yeast and stir in. Set aside for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
  3. Add the flour, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and salt and, using the dough hook attachment, knead on medium-low until smooth and elastic. This will take between 5 and 7 minutes. Scatter in the chocolate chips and knead until combined. If the chocolate chips aren’t incorporating easily, turn the dough out and flatten and fold until the chocolate is evenly distributed. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1½ to 2 hours or until almost doubled in size.
  4. Prepare a 23 cm (9 inch) square pan by lightly greasing with non-stick cooking spray and line with a sling of parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide into 16 equal pieces. Flatten each and pinch and roll into tight-skinned balls. Place into the prepared pan in a 4×4 grid, loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside for 1 to 1½ hours.
  5. When the buns have almost risen, heat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  6. Prepare the toppings by beating the egg with 3 teaspoons of water to make an egg wash and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar with the remaining ¼ cup of water to make a paste, adding a bit more water, if too thick. You want a pipeable consistency that won’t spread out and lose its shape. Transfer into a zip top bag and cut off the corner to form a small hole.
  7. Lightly brush the buns with the egg wash then pipe the flour paste both ways across the centre of the buns to form the distinctive cross pattern. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the buns are springy to the touch and the internal temperature reaches 88°C to 93°C (190°F to 200°F). Set the buns aside to cool slightly.
  8. Meanwhile, whisk together the icing sugar and orange juice and brush over the warm buns. Enjoy warm, at room temperature, or toasted with butter.

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