- Heat the milk in the microwave for 30 secs to take the chill off or over a stove top, being careful not to heat the milk too much or burn it. We keep our dried yeast in the freezer, and for this recipe we took it straight out of the freezer and mixed it with 1 tbsp sugar and the milk in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 mins, the mixture will start to bubble and look a little frothy. Meanwhile, lightly whisk an egg by hand, and weigh out the butter. Combine together with the yeasty milk mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Combine 4 of the cups of flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg, remaining sugar and cranberries. Mix well. Next, slowly add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine. Once it becomes too difficult to stir, you will need to ditch the spoon and switch to using your hands to form a dough. Knead the dough with a little extra flour on a clean dry bench top for about 10-15 mins. At this stage, the dough will have a deliciously spicy smell to it.
- Place the dough in a bowl (a plastic one is fine) pre-greased with olive oil and cover with a damp tea towel for 1 hour in a warm place. Over the hour, the dough should double in size. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface for the second time, this time kneading for about 3 mins. Carefully, open the dough out into a very thick pizza type shape, folding the chocolate pieces inside. Fold back over and roll back into a dough/ball type shape, allowing the chocolate pieces to distribute themselves throughout the dough. Cut the dough with a clean knife into 16 pieces and roll into small balls. Some balls may have more chocolate or may be bigger than others. You can easily pull pieces from each ball and transfer to other balls, you will just need to roll them back into a nice round shape as you do so.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper, no need to grease the tray. Arrange each ball side by side on the tray. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for 30 mins or until the dough balls have risen by 2cm. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ½ cup flour (white or wholemeal) and 1/3 cup water together in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Place the mixture in a piping bag to pipe a cross on top of each of the buns.
- Bake in the oven for 10 mins, then turn down the heat to 180°C and bake for a further 20 mins.
- You can turn the buns out on to a wire rack to cool, but we found it doesn’t matter either way - it depends how hungry you are to devour them! However, before you do eat them, you may like to dress them up with a little glaze. In a cup, microwave the honey for 30 seconds, then use a brush to lightly glaze the buns with the warm, liquid honey. Now they are ready to eat!