Hot cross buns are a classic treat, and chocolate and oranges pair elegantly in this decadent dessert.
Put the water in a large bowl and add the yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes, until foamy. (If it doesn’t foam, toss it out and buy fresh yeast.)
Add 4 cups of the flour along with the remaining sugar, butter, egg, orange zest, cinnamon and salt. Mix until you have a sticky dough.
On a floured surface, knead for about 5 minutes, incorporating more flour as needed if it gets sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Knead in the citrus peel and chocolate. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 12 balls and place in a 9x13-inch baking dish or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and put them in a warm place for another half hour to an hour while you preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. In a small dish, stir together the sugar and hot water until the sugar dissolves. Brush over the buns while they’re still warm, then set aside to cool.
Put the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate into a small zip-lock baggie, seal and put in a bowl of warm water until the chocolate melts. Knead the bag a bit to make sure there aren’t any unmelted bits. Snip off one corner and pipe the chocolate out onto the cooled buns.