Good old Hot Cross Buns, the Easter-time bakery treat that makes the cold wintry days that little more comforting. As traditional as they may be however, they haven't managed to escape the recent trend of being enhanced or meddled with (depending on your viewpoint).
Over recent years we've seen the emergence of creations such as the double chocolate Hot Cross Buns (Tesco in-store bakery) and chocolate fudge buns (M&S and Tesco). Lauren from Nibbles 'n' Scribbles recently reviewed Waitrose's newest buns on the block- Heston's Cherry Bakewell -which unfortunately I haven't been able to find as they sound divine! Of course M&S couldn't miss the opportunity to create something potentially even more wacky, so they have pulled out the Mini Mocha Hot Cross Buns.
I wasn't sure what to expect. Although I love Mocha, its transference into snack items can be a bit hit and miss. KitKat Mocha underplayed the coffee element, whilst Nakd's bar lacked the required sweetness. I also wasn't sure how to serve them... With butter? Jam? Warm? Or just plain and cold?
I could smell the cocoa and spices as soon as I unwrapped the buns, but couldn't really detect the coffee. However, with my first mouthful, I was pleased to discover that both the coffee and dark chocolate favours were in abundance. I couldn't quite get round my head around the concept at first. It was the combination of flavours one might expect in a mocha cake, but with the light and fluffy texture of a hot cross bun. The spices were somewhat lost against the coffee and chocolate, but that wasn't a problem as there was already so much going on.
I tried a whole realm of possibilities with regards to temperatures and filling, but I certainly most enjoyed the buns when slightly warm and slathered in butter -with the chocolate chips starting to melt. I imagine they would be pleasant filled with cream cheese to resemble the icing on the cake -or rather, bun/
I'm not sure these will ever replace unadulterated Hot Cross Buns for me, and I did buy some of M&S' more traditional buns when purchasing the mocha variety, but they certainly make a good alternative afternoon treat.