Sticky Toffee Hot Cross Buns

sticky toffee hot cross buns, dairy-free

I posted my recipe for chocolate chip hot cross buns last week, but toffee/fudge flavoured hot cross buns seem to be a big thing this year. I’ve noticed varieties in Waitrose and Marks and Spencer – it really must be the bang on trend flavour of 2016. Never one to miss an opportunity to play with new and exciting flavours, I thought I’d experiment myself with these toffee ones. Now, I haven’t eaten one of the commercial buns, as you can imagine there is no room or need to buy such items in our household, so this is entirely my take on the idea.

I’ve combined the flavours of sticky toffee pudding with hot cross buns and what a cracker of a combination it is. The mellow sweetness of the date purée and subtle spices do work. The purée also gives a rich colour to the dough, enhancing the whole ‘sticky toffee’ look and feel. The dramatic shiny glaze is simply  a thin coating of warmed golden syrup and the buns are then returned to the oven for a few minutes, giving the perfect sticky, shiny top.

vegan sticky toffee hot cross buns

I’ve hardly ever seen a baked item disappear with such speed, they were requested for breakfast, snack and puddings, working perfectly slightly toasted with a smidgen of dairy-free margarine and an extra drizzle of syrup for added sticky toffee naughtiness! I’d think I can safely say these are our new family favourite Easter treat!

Sticky Toffee Hot Cross Buns

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

egg-free sticky toffee hot cross buns

makes 12 large buns

500-550g strong bread flour

1 tsp dried yeast

3 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2-1 tsp ginger

1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

100g dates, makes approx 1 cup purée

2 cups dairy-free milk

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tbsp melted dairy-free margarine

For the crosses:

2 tbsp flour

2 or 3 tbsp water

For the glaze:

2 tbsp golden syrup

  1. Add the dates to 1 cup of dairy-free milk and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until dates are soft. Blitz, stir in the bicarb and set aside to cool. This should make approximately 1 cup of date purée.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oat milk, date purée and melted dairy-free margarine, bring together to form a dough (adding more flour if too wet, or more liquid if too dry)
  3. Knead for about 5-10 mins until the dough is smooth and springy. Place in a bowl and cover, leave in a warm place to double in size
  4. Knock back, knead again and then form into 12 even sized balls (for a professional look, weigh them to make them all the same size). Place well spaced on a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper. Loosely cover with cling film and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes or so.
  5. Mix together the water and flour to make a paste and pipe onto the top of the buns in crosses
  6. Bake at 190 degrees/Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes until risen, golden  and the buns sound hollow

    before the glaze...
    before the glaze…
  7. Make the glaze by warming the syrup. Brush over the hot buns. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.
  8. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  9. These buns are best kept loosely covered or the glaze will make them go a bit soggy.

    toasted and ready to eat
    toasted and ready to eat

Dairy-free Mini Creme Eggs

dairy-free creme egg

Creme eggs are such a part of Easter, they’re almost iconic. In fact when they appear on the shelves days after Christmas, the whole country makes a collective sigh over the march of time and the incessant selling of seasonal goods by the big supermarkets.

Creme eggs seem to pop up all over the place, so often the egg of choice in commercial Easter egg hunts; events which sadly have never held much appeal for my girls. It’s no so fun to search for something you then have to hand over to a grown up, whilst all your friends gorge themselves on sweet chocolatey delights.

So I’ve always wanted to recreate creme eggs, at least then the girls would know they’re not missing out on not eating the sickly sweet commercial variety. As it happens, these are far more moreish that I remember the shop ones being, no doubt helped by their dinky size! Whilst by no means healthy, I’m sure this variety must be a little more wholesome than Cadburys ones!

dairy-free nut-free creme egg

 

Now I can’t take full praise for the filling, (one which I’d always wondered how to successfully recreate) as I came across a link to Paul A Young making these on This Morning. The idea he used is total genius (well he is a genius chocolatier) and so very simple! The filling is simply grated fondant icing, mixed with a little sugar syrup to give a sticky gooey centre. I happen to have a stock pile of nut-free Dr Oertker roll out fondant icing, but I know since the change in production that nut-free can be hard to find. If necessary homemade can be made using this marshmallow based recipe, or this veggie version.

homemade vegan creme eggs

make dairy-free nut-free creme eggs

Dairy-free Creme Eggs

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, can be gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan creme egg

Makes 6 small eggs, multiply as necessary

100g dairy-free chocolate

125g fondant icing, grated

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp water

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Melt and temper the chocolate. Coat the egg moulds with a layer of chocolate. Let set and then coat again. Place in the fridge to firm up. Hopefully you’ll have some chocolate left over which should be placed in a piping bag.
  2. Make a sugar syrup by melting the sugar into the water.
  3. Split the grated fondant into two bowl, 100g in one and 25g in the other.
  4. Colour the 25g with yellow food colouring (or use already coloured yellow). Add a dribble of syrup to make the correct gooey texture.
  5. Add the vanilla and sugar syrup to the white icing and again mix to the correct texture (it wants to be thick but gooey).
  6. Fill each half egg, two thirds full with white fondant, top with a dollop of yellow to form the yolk.
  7. Pipe the melted chocolate around the edge of the egg and sandwich two halves together. Leave to set in the fridge and then shave off any excess bits of chocolate.

homemade vegan creme egg

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

 

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It’s not long until Easter, so definitely time for some seasonal baking, and Easter is not Easter without hot cross buns. I made some friendly hot cross buns when I first started blogging and they’ve become a firm favourite. But with my children’s aversion to dried fruit, I concocted this variation that appeals more to them. This recipe also leaves out the flax seed egg-replacer – I seem to have moved away from replacers and prefer to adjust recipes so they don’t need them instead.

The addition of chopped chocolate may be slightly unconventional, but the resulting buns are delightfully aromatic and tasty with the bonus prize of the chocolate going oozy and gooey when the buns are toasted.

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Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 9-12

500g strong bread flour

1 tsp dried yeast

3 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups warm oat milk

2 tbsps melted dairy-free spread

100g dairy-free chocolate, chopped

for the crosses:

2 tbsp flour

3 tbsp water

for the glaze:

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp water

  1.  In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oat milk and dairy-free spread, bring together to form a dough (adding more flour if too wet, or more liquid if too dry)
  2. Knead for about 5 mins until the dough is smooth
  3. Place in a bowl and cover, leave in a warm place to double in size
  4. Knock back, knead again and then form into 9-12 even sized balls. Place well spaced on a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper
  5. Mix together the water and flour to make a paste and pipe onto the top of the buns in crosses
  6. Leave to rise again for 10-20 minutes
  7. Bake at 190 degrees/Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes until risen and the buns sound hollow
  8. Make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the water and boiling briefly. Brush over the hot buns.
  9. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  10. These buns are best kept loosely covered or the glaze will make them go a bit soggy.

IMG_7724

Easter Bunny Rolls

I should have made these earlier in the weekend, but we’ve been so busy that we’ve only got round to making them today – well at least Easter isn’t quite over yet!

I came across the idea of these super cute bunny rolls on Pinterest and just HAD to make them – perfect for getting the girls involved and simply too adorable not to make.

The basic idea is a soft, white roll with ears cuts into the top with scissors before the second proving. Simple but cute – what could be better 🙂

Easter Bunny Rolls (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) N.B. contains gluten

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makes 12

  • 290ml oat milk
  • 2 tbsps dairy-free spread
  • 2 tbsps syrup
  • 400-450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oat milk, for brushing

– Warm the oat milk, spread and syrup together until the spread has melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

– Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and salt. Make a well in the centre of the flour.

– Once the milk mix is at blood temperature pour into the flour. Mix until it has come together to make a soft dough.

– Turn out and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy.

– Place back in the bowl, cover with oiled cling-film and leave to rise for about an hour (it should double in size).

– Once the dough has risen, knock back and knead again to form a smooth ball.

– Cut into 12 even sized pieces and roll each into a smooth oval ball.

– Place on an oiled baking sheet and using scissors cut ear shapes into the dough. The mark on the eyes.

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– Loosely cover with oiled cling-film and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

– Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 7

– Remove the cling-film. Brush the tops with oat milk and sprinkle on the oats.

– Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and sounding hollow when tapped.

– Cool on a wire rack.

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‘Hot Cross Bun’ Cookies

Having posted about Hot Cross Buns last year, I thought I’d spice things up with a new idea. The warm flavours of hot cross buns easily translate to other sweet treats and I especially love making cookies: so thats how we got to Hot Cross Bun Cookies this year!

Soft and delicately spiced, pepped up with currants and finished off with a cinnamon flavoured icing cross, these cookies shout out Easter. I brushed the tops with nappage (thinned, hot apricot jam) to give the authentic shiny, sticky top, but by all means leave out this step if you wish. Hot Cross Bun Cookies cookies are certainly hard to resist and make the perfect unusual treat for the Easter period and take no time to make – always an added bonus!

Hot Cross Bun Cookies (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes about 12

  • 65g dairy-free spread
  • 1/3 rd cup of caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup of currants
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsps oat milk
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam mixed with 1 tsp water
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/gas mark 4
– Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment
– Cream together the sugar and spread until light and fluffy
– Stir in the oat milk
– Sift in the flour and spices and bring together to form a soft dough
– Stir in the currants
– Form walnut sized balls and place on the cookie sheets
– Bake for 15 minutes until starting to brown.
– Cool on a wire rack
– Heat the jam and water mix and bring to the boil.
– Paint over the warm cookies to give a shiny, sticky appearance
– Make the water icing by combining the icing sugar and cinnamon and enough water to make a thick icing
– Pipe crosses onto the cooled cookies and leave to set

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So it’s Easter Weekend…

Easter is a bit different for us, in a household where the children are dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free. All my children’s friends are overdosing on milk chocolate eggs, and decorating the shells of ‘blown’ eggs (a definite no-no, can you imagine the egg-allergic child trying to get the insides out of an egg and then painting it – it would be an absolute recipe for disaster!). Any organised egg hunt involves milk chocolate mini-eggs tossed around at random, or perhaps a trade for a creme egg/kinder egg at the end of the hunt. Not very suitable for us. It really is a time of year to look different if you don’t eat dairy!

In the past I’ve given Whizzers mini-eggs (a great alternative) and perhaps a little cuddly rabbit/chick/lamb. Problem is, those Whizzers mini-eggs have sold out this year and we’re kinda over-run with cuddly toys so one more seems a step too far! Also, I’ve had to pass over the dairy-free Easter eggs I previously bought to both Grandmothers….

So, this year our girls will get a Sweet William Chocolate Bunny each, a lemon flavoured sugar chick from the Vegan Store (so cute) and a Moshi Monsters surprise Easter egg.

Next year, I think I’ll make the chocolate eggs, then maybe I can make something slightly similar to a Kinder egg…..