It's Shrove Tuesday, which can only mean one thing: hot cross buns.
Wait, no. I've got that wrong haven't I? Ah yes, I covered the pancakes yesterday* so it's time to rekindle my love affair with my new best friend -the hot cross bun. As mentioned the other day in my review of Marks & Spark's innovative savoury cheese buns, I made use of the 2 for £2.50 deal and also picked up a pack of their mini chocolate orange flavour.
"9 Mini Chocolate & Orange Hot Cross Buns with Belgian dark chocolate chips, orange puree, candied orange and lemon peel with a hint of spice."
Now I'd hazard a guess and say that these have replaced M&S' so-so mini mocha hot cross buns of 2016. Last year I remember being confused on how to serve the buns but fortunately I've already had my first dose of mini chocolate orange versions this year, courtesy of Waitrose.
I'm not sure who copied who, but Marks & Spencer certainly outshone Waitrose when it comes to aesthetics. I loved the super chocolatey look of the bun and the bright orange cross; they'd certainly make for an appealing centrepiece at afternoon tea.
Once out of their wrapper I was hit by the unmistakable scent of... Christmas cake! Where you expecting that? I certainly wasn't. I blame the pungent aroma of candied peel for confusing my nostrils.
Slicing the buns in half revealed the fluffy texture of the dough, which wasn't as soft or moist as Waitrose's. The majority of the chocolate chips seemed to be on top, although there were a few pieces of candied peel dotted about.
Well, it was just a bit odd. Not in a good way like the aforementioned cheese buns either. It tastes somewhat like an uber dry, under flavoured chocolate cake and the orange just didn't come through in the same strength as the scent alluded to either. Easily the best bit of the buns was the chocolate chips, and I savoured the bites when I found a cluster.
I tried them warm, then cold, then filled with peanut butter (which just didn't work) before deciding that they're best generously filled with JimJam's Chocolate Hazelnut spread. The spread adds some much needed moisture to the very bread-y dough (it's certainly no brioche), and otherwise they're really quite bland.
*and will be making more FlapJacked ones tonight, so keep your eyes peeled on my instagram!