Easter is just round the corner and so it’s time for hot cross buns!
I love this recipe! These hot cross buns are slightly crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle, not oversweet, delicately spiced and generously peppered with sugar-free chocolate chips and chewy tart dried goldenberries. Yum!
These are perfect as they are or toasted and eaten with butter / dairy-free alternative. (Although I just read an article in the Telegraph saying some folks eat theirs with bacon and burgers…hmm. I am not too sure about that, but I guess, each to their own!)
To make them healthier, I have used only a little oil in this recipe and a little coconut sugar, thrown in some ground flaxseed and made the crosses using some protein powder.
The traditional recipe has been tweaked by using ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg instead of the mixed spice, as I prefer the flavour, but please feel free to substitute! Another swop I have made is the glaze. The glaze for traditional hot cross buns is usually a diluted boiled apricot jam or marmalade. I love making a glaze from orange juice or using the syrup from stem ginger (which adds a zesty or gingery kick, respectively). And instead of raisins or sultanas, I have added my favourite; dried goldenberries and sugar-free chocolate chips!
To all those yeast-phobes out there, don’t worry! This recipe is easy to follow and actually, the hands-on time is quite low; it is more case of letting the yeast do its thing! (What bakers call proving time!). Top tip: start making these earlier in the day to allow for the 2 hours proving required!
Preparation time: hands on 35 mins. Proving time: 2 hours (split into two 1hr slots).
- 270ml plant milk (almond, cashew or oat milk work fine)
- 7g sachet of fast-acting yeast
- 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
- 450g strong bread flour
- 50g ground flaxseed (or sub for hemp seeds)
- 5 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 100g dried goldenberries
- 80g Italian mixed peel
- 60g sugar-free chocolate chips
- Zest of 1 orange
- 4 tbsp. rapeseed or coconut oil, melted
- 90ml fresh orange juice (juice from half a large orange)
For the crosses:
- 3 tbsp. plain flour
- 3 tbsp. protein powder (soya bean or pea); optional-you can use more flour if you have run out.
- 4 tbsp. tap water
For the glaze:
- 3 tbsp. Orange juice
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- About 30ml ginger syrup
- In a small saucepan, heat the plant milk until lukewarm. Pour into a medium bowl. Stir in the yeast and coconut sugar and set aside. It will start frothing.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: bread flour, ground flaxseed (or hemp), spices, salt, dried goldenberries, mixed peel, chocolate chips and orange zest.
- Stir in the rapeseed or melted coconut oil, orange juice and yeast froth.
- Using your hands, bring the mixture together and knead into a smooth sticky dough.
- Transfer the dough onto a surface dusted with a little flour and knead for 7 minutes until smooth. Place back into the bowl it came from, with some oil coating the sides (to prevent the dough from sticking) and cover with a damp tea towel in a warm place for 1 hour to allow the yeast to prove. (I pop mine in the oven set to 40°C as my house is quite cold!). The dough should have increased in size by 85-100%).
- Turn the risen dough onto a surface and knead for about 12 mins. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls (about 70-75g each) and place on a lined baking tray(s), well spaced apart.
- Cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm place or back in the 40°C oven for 1 hour to allow for the second prove before baking.
- In the last 10 minutes into this second prove, preheat or up the oven temperature to 185°C fan (365°F)
- To make the crosses: In a small bowl mix together the flour, protein powder (if using) and water to make a viscous yet smooth mixture. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe crosses on each bun.
- Bake the hot cross buns in the middle shelf for 20-22 mins until golden. The goldenberries near the surface tend to caramelise to make them lovely and chewier. If you like them less chewy and brown, in the final 7 mins of baking, cover the buns with a sheet of kitchen foil.
- For the glaze. If using orange juice, place the orange juice and sugar into a small saucepan and slowly bring to the boil to form a syrup. Alternatively use the excess syrup from stem ginger (a lovely sticky choice for ginger lovers out there!). Using a pastry brush, brush over the buns with the glaze of choice while they are still hot.
- Transfer buns to a wire tray to allow to cool. These hot cross bus are best eaten fresh or within 2-3 days. Alternatively, they freeze well!
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