Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

This time of year is just wrong without Hot Cross Buns. I eagerly await the criss crossed beauties appearing in the shops, and very year there’s a new variety to tempt and inspire. These days I wouldn’t buy a Hot Cross bun as I’ve not found any safe ones (I know vegan versions exist but they’re generally not free-from enough for us) and so come March I make batch after batch of buns. I’d really recommend giving it a go, they’re not hard to make and the satisfaction of a house filled with a spicy aroma and perfect buns appearing from the oven is second to none!

I’ve made many friendly hot cross buns and they’ve become a firm favourite, so much so that Little S has them for breakfast if she gets the chance. For some reason my children have an aversion to dried fruit, so I concocted this variation that appeals more to them.

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. The added bonus is that they freeze beautifully. Simply defrost and then warm in an oven or toaster, and enjoy perfect hot cross buns anytime 🙂

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

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

 

makes 9-12

500g strong bread flour

1 tbsp dried yeast

3 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 or 2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

500ml warm dairy-free milk

2 tbsps melted dairy-free margarine

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 dairy-free milk and dairy-free margarine, 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. Leave to rise again for 10-20 minutes
  6. Mix together the water and flour to make a paste and pipe onto the top of the buns in crosses
  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.

 

Vanilla Spice Hot Cross Buns

 

With Easter fast approaching, my thoughts have turned towards festive baking and what could be more Easter-y than Hot Cross Buns. Every year seem to make a new variety – I was particularly pleased with the flavour combination of last years sticky toffee ones (actually i really must make some of them before the weekend!) and chocolate chip varieties of anything go down well in this household.

But by and large Easter baking means spice – hot cross buns, easter biscuits and simnel cake all have a mellow spice that is the taste of sweet easter baking (if you remove chocolate from the equation!). This hot cross buns variation leaves out the dried fruit (to please my kids) but ramps up the spice and adds the mellow sweetness of vanilla. It’s s great combination and I do recommend taking the time to make these for Easter – they’re so rewarding and fun to make.

Vanilla Spice Hot Cross Buns

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

makes 9-12

550-575g strong bread flour

1 tsp dried yeast

3 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1and 1/5 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

1 and 3/4 cups warm oat milk

2 tbsps melted dairy-free margarine

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, lemon zest, salt and spices. Make a well in the centre and pour in the dairy-free milk and melted dairy-free margarine, 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 (or as i did, nearish so they link up when baked)
  5. Leave to rise again for 10-20 minutes
  6. Mix together the water and flour to make a paste and pipe onto the top of the buns in crosses
  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.

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

‘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)

IMG_4693

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

IMG_4691

Hot Cross Buns

Well, it’s Good Friday so it must be the day to post Hot Cross Buns. I could have easily bought some dairy-free, egg-free low quality buns from the supermarket… but, since I’m challenging myself and the supermarket version “may have traces of sesame” I decided to make a batch. It was a bit of a palaver …. hours of rising and knocking back, but actually they worked really well and it was very satisfying having a home-made batch to hand out. It’s Little S who can’t have sesame and she really isn’t keen on currants/sultanas/raisins so they weren’t her thing… but Big S and I thought they were very authentic and rather yummy!

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

makes 6

  • 320g strong bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 25g dairy-free spread (I use Pure)
  • 45g granulated sugar
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3/4 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp flax seeds mixed with 3 tsps water
  • 140 ml oat milk, hand hot (I use Oatly)
  • 60g dried mixed fruit

Topping

  • 1 tbsp flour mixed with water to make a thin paste
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup

– Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a bowl. Rub in the dairy-free spread with your fingertips.

– Stir in the sugar, lemon zest and yeast.

– Make a well in the centre and add the flax seed mix and warm oat milk. Mix well to form a soft dough. Mix in the dried fruit.

– Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well, until smooth.

– Place in a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and let rise for an hour.

– Turn out and knock back the dough on a floured surface

– Return to the bowl, cover and let rise for a further half hour.

– Turn out again and cut into 6 pieces. Roll each into a ball and flatten slightly.

– Place on a greased baking tray. Cover with greaseproof and wrap in a plastic bag to keep out the air. Rest for 10 minutes.

– Preheat the oven to 240 degrees centigrade

– Meanwhile, place the flour/water mix in a plastic bag. Snip off the very tip of a corner. Pipe a cross of the flour/water mix onto each bun

– Unwrap and bake the buns for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden

– Brush over the warmed golden syrup.

– Cool on a wire rack.

– Serve with dairy-free spread (and jam if you like)