It wouldn't be Easter without hot cross buns, which is why I HAD to make this recipe. Yeah, store bought hot cross buns are delicious, but when you turn the packet over and read the ingredients, they are usually packed full of refined sugars, thickeners, nasty oils, and artificial flavouring. If you know me, you would know that's not how I roll, which is why I had to put my baking skills to the test and make my own healthy version... and my gosh they didn't disappoint!
Now, before you make these, please be aware that you need to allow yourself enough time for the dough to fully prove, so please don't be in a rush!
Makes 12 | Refined Sugar Free | Vegan | Dairy Free
1 orange, juiced
2 tbsp of chia seeds
1 cup of almond milk
1 x 7g sachet of yeast
1 tbsp of coconut sugar
2 cups of flour (I used spelt flour) + extra for kneading the dough
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp of allspice
Pinch of Himalayan salt
1 tsp of vanilla essence The zest of 1 orange
3/4-1 cup of sultanas
12 cubes of vegan chocolate (optional)
2 tbsp of flour
2 tbsp of water
Honey or maple syrup
In a small bowl, add the orange juice and chia seeds and stir until well combined. Put this aside to for later.
Warm the almond milk until it's luke warm, and then add it to an empty bowl with the coconut sugar and yeast. Mix the ingredients thoroughly using a whisk. Put this aside for at least 10 minutes to allow the yeast to start activating (the mixture will expand so make sure your bowl isn't too small).
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt, vanilla and orange zest and stir until all of the ingredients are well combined.
Next make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the almond milk mixture. Use a wooden spoon and gently mix the ingredients together. Next, mix in the chia seed mixture.
On a clean bench top / surface, sprinkle over an thin layer of flour. Now use your hands and place the dough on the floured surface.
It's time to knead the dough! Use the heel of one hand to press the dough in the centre, and use the other hand to fold the top edge of the dough over and turn it. This will allow an even distribution of the yeast (aka delicious fluffy hot cross buns). Add the sultanas into the dough and repeat this kneading action until your dough is smooth and elastic (this usually takes upto 10 minutes, so be patient).
When you're satisfied with your dough, put it back into the bowl, cover it with cling wrap or a tea towel, and leave it in a warm area for 50-60 minutes to allow it to rise.
When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and back onto the floured surface. Repeat the above kneading method again. Roll the dough into a long log and divide it into 12 even balls of dough.
If you want to fill your hot cross buns with chocolate (I highly recommend it), now is the time! Place the individual ball of dough in your palm and use your thumb to press a dent into its centre. Now place a small square of chocolate (I used Loving Earth chocolate of course) and fold the dough back over itself.
Place all 12 balls onto a lined baking tray (don't worry if they're close to each other in the tray, this is traditional!)
Cover the tray with cling wrap / a tea towel and leave the tray aside for another 40-60 minutes to allow the hot cross buns to prove.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180°C.
Now it's time to make the white cross! Simply add 2 tbsp of flour and 2 tbsp of water to a bowl and stir until it forms a paste - you don't want this to be too thick or too runny. Transfer this to a zip lock bag.
Once the hot cross buns have finished resting, cut a small hole in the corner of the zip lock back and use this as a piping bag to draw on the crosses. Put your buns into the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Take the buns out of the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack. Whilst they're still hot, brush over a thin layer of honey or maple syrup.
That's it! So simple, affordable, healthy and rewarding!
I love having my hot cross buns with my homemade jam and some whipped butter.
It definitely isn't Easter unless you sit in bed on Sunday morning with a warm drink and a hot cross bun!!