Recipes from Bakeclass, by Anneka Manning

Hot cross buns: Serve them warm.
Hot cross buns: Serve them warm. Photo: Supplied

Classic chocolate-chip cookies

Makes 30

These good old-fashioned cookies are simple to make and even easier to devour. Either dark or milk chocolate (or a combination of the two) will work well – just take your pick. Eat them with a glass of cold milk.

Bakeclass, by Anneka Manning. Murdoch Books. $45.
Bakeclass, by Anneka Manning. Murdoch Books. $45. Photo: Supplied

125g butter, at room temperature, cubed

220g brown sugar

1 tsp natural vanilla extract or essence

2 eggs, at room temperature

300g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

200g good-quality dark or milk chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced. Line two large baking trays with baking paper.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder, add to the butter mixture and use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix until well combined. Mix in the chocolate.

Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on the oven trays, leaving about 5cm between each for spreading. Flatten each ball to about 5cm in diameter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, swapping the trays around halfway through baking, or until light golden and cooked through. Leave the cookies on the trays until cool (about 30 minutes).

Baker's tip: These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Dried cherry & chocolate hot cross buns

In this updated version of the traditional Easter hot cross bun, chunks of dark chocolate and tart dried cherries make these even more irresistible.

750g bread or pizza flour

55g castor sugar

14g dried yeast

1½ tsp mixed spice

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tsp salt

150g dried cherries (see Baker's tips)

75g currants

435ml milk

60g butter, cubed, plus extra, to grease and serve

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp natural vanilla extract or essence

100g chopped good-quality dark chocolate

Flour paste:

75g plain flour

75ml water

Glaze:

55g castor sugar

2 tbsp water

Put the bread flour, sugar, yeast, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Stir through the dried cherries and currants.

Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has just melted and the milk is lukewarm. Whisk one of the eggs with the vanilla and add to the milk mixture. Whisk to combine. Add to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a clean large bowl with a little butter, add the dough and turn to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Punch the centre of the dough down with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Knead in the chocolate. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on the tray, allowing room for spreading. Cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel) and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C or 160C fan-forced. Meanwhile, make the flour paste. Combine the flour and water in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spoon into a small plastic bag.

Whisk the remaining egg and brush the tops of the buns with it. Snip a small hole in the corner of the plastic bag containing the flour paste and pipe crosses on the buns.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the buns are cooked and sound hollow when tapped on the base.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and simmer for one minute. Transfer the hot cross buns to a wire rack and brush the tops with the glaze. Serve warm, spread with butter.

Baker's tips: Dried cherries are available at selected supermarkets, delicatessens, grocery shops and specialty food stores. You can replace them with good-quality dried cranberries.

These hot cross buns are best eaten the day they are made. To freeze for up to three months, wrap in plastic wrap and seal in an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature.