1. For the dough: Combine the bread flour, cocoa powder, yeast, sugar, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl, stirring well. Make a well in the middle.
2. Add the warm milk, beaten egg, and melted butter to the well. Start to incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet with a wooden spoon until a rough, sticky forms; add a little warm water if too dry or some more flour if too wet.
3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead well with floured hands until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
4. Place in a clean bowl that's been greased with a little sunflower oil, turning the dough to coat. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
5. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten out with your hands. Scatter over the chocolate chips before enclosing the dough around them and kneading briefly until incorporated.
6. Divide the dough into nine pieces and roll into smooth balls. Arrange on a large greased baking tray in three rows of three, slightly spaced apart as they will puff out as they rise; flatten their tops slightly.
7. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for a further 20-30 minutes until puffed and just touching.
8. For the crosses: Preheat the oven to 200°C (180° fan) | 400F | gas 6. Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar with about 3-4 tbsp to make a thick paste; add more water as needed.
9. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a flat tip, e. g. #45 basketweave tip. Pipe flat lines on the buns to make the crosses.
10. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes until risen and dry to the touch. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool.
11. To serve: When ready to serve, break apart the buns and split in half before serving with some soft butter.
- For the dough:
- 350 g | 2 1/4 cups strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 50 g | 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 tsp active dried yeast
- 60 g | 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mixed allspice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 250 ml warm milk, at ~43°C | 110F
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- 3 1/2 tbsp butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
- sunflower oil, for greasing
- 100 g | 3/4 cup chocolate chips, milk or dark
- For the crosses:
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- To serve:
- good-quality butter, softened