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ingredients (MAKES 12)

3/4 C dried fruit (raisins/sultanas/currants)

Orange peel

1/4C brown sugar

1C water 

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1/2 c lukewarm water 

420g flour (I used high-grade bread flour)

40g cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 C sugar

3/4 tsp salt 

Zest of 1 orange

1/4 c orange juice

1/2 c lukewarm milk of choice

1/3 c melted butter or oil 

75g chocolate, chopped into small chunks

1/4 C flour + a few tbsp water for crosses


  1. Put the dried fruit, orange peel, brown sugar and water in a small pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes, then leave to soak (ideally overnight)
  2. Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in lukewarm water, then gently stir in yeast and leave for 5-10 minutes. It should foam up.
  3. Sift flour and cocoa into a large bowl, then whisk in remaining dry ingredients (except chocolate chunks). Pour over foamy yeast mixture + wet ingredients. 
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough begins to come together, then tip out onto a floured surface and begin kneading. By hand, you will knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, elastic and less sticky.
  5. Put back in bowl, and cover. Leave to proof in a warm place until dough doubles in size (approx. 60-90 minutes).
  6. Drain the dried fruit, but reserve the soaking liquid as this will be your glaze later. 
  7. Punch down the dough when it is ready, and knead in the dried fruit and chocolate chunks. You may need to add a little more flour if the dough becomes too sticky from the soaked fruit.
  8. Portion into 12 pieces, shape and place in a lined baking tin. The dough balls can be touching. 
  9. Cover and leave to proof in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 180c fan-forced. 
  11. Mix flour and water until a thick paste forms. 
  12. Pipe the crosses (or messily drizzle with a spoon like i did); allow the lines to extend between each bun.
  13. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crosses are golden brown.
  14. While buns are baking, reduce the soaking liquid on the stove to form a thin syrup.
  15. Brush buns with syrup when they come out of the oven.  

Serve warm with lots of butter! 




  • Your yeast is active if it foams up when added to sugar + water. mine is 2 years past the best before date but still works! 
  • Lukewarm water = 30-40C (body temperature)
  • I put it in the sun or in a warm water bath to help along the foaming. 


Proofing in a warm place

  • Try the hot water cupboard, the oven with only the light on, or in your car if it is parked outside (unless the inside of your car is scorching hot). 
  • Use doubled in size as a guide, the time for proofing is not always accurate. 



  • Using a stand mixture with a dough hook - knead for 7-8 minutes. by hand, about 10 minutes. again, it is less about time, and more about how the dough looks and feels (smooth and elastic is the goal)



  • I use high-grade bread making flour (it costs the same), but all purpose flour will also work. I have tried with wholemeal and it is fine too, but less fluffy and may require a little more milk/water in the dough. I have not experimented with gf flour.


About the author

Kathy Xu

Kathy is a qualified nutritionist and soon-to-be dietitian, who just finished her Master’s degree at the University of Otago. She chose this career path because she loves talking about food – from the science behind nutrition to new recipes and even the more boring details of your grocery shop!

Kathy’s goal is to make evidence-based suggestions to help individuals find what ‘healthy’ looks like to them. Her Instagram page (@balanceyourplate) aims to show people that eating well can be simple, affordable and delicious.


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