Healthy Hot Cross Buns
This Easter we're going to cook a fresh hot batch of the most delicious and nutritious hot cross buns, and eat them all weekend. Would you like to join us?
We were like toddlers gawking at these buns rising in the oven.
We couldn't believe how Eas-terrific they turned out to be.
These buns are based on a recipe by Elsa from Elsa's Wholesome Life (thank you!). They are soft and dense on the inside, crispy on the outside, a little bit spicy, and a little bit sweet. They are plant-based, and they're full of good stuff like fibre, healthy fats, and antioxidants.
1/2 cup nut milk (we used our homemade cashew milk)
1/2 tbsp dry baker's yeast
1 tsp maple syrup*
2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp mixed spice**
1 tsp vanilla powder (can be replaced with extract, but if so, combine it with the wet ingredients in step 3)
1/4 tsp salt
4 medjool dates
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup mixed dried fruits (we loved ours with cranberries, chopped dates, and apricot pieces)
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp water
1. Activate the yeast
In a small saucepan, heat the milk to a lukewarm temperature (not hot). Take off heat and stir in yeast and maple syrup. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes. You'll know the yeast is activating when small bubbles begin to form.
2. Combine the powders
Sieve the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, and vanilla into a large bowl. Add salt and mix.
3. Combine the wet-ish ingredients
First, blend the dates, water, chia seeds, and olive oil together, then stir this mixture into the milk and yeast.
4. Combine it all
Add the wet mixture and dried fruit to the flour. Combine to form a dough, then cover and set aside for 45 minutes in a warm spot (we put ours outside in the sun). At first, we thought the mixture was going to be too dry, but after mixing with our hands for a while, the dough turned out perfect. Give this a go before you add any extra milk.
5. Knead, divide, and shape
This is a good time to heat your oven to 180C fan-forced. Transfer your dough to a lightly floured surface. Punch it to release air bubbles, and then knead it a few times. Divide your dough into 8 equal pieces, and form each piece into a ball. Place these buns on a baking tray, cover, and set aside for another 15 minutes.
6. Make the crosses
Combine the flour and water and pour this mixture into a piping bag (we use a zip-lock bag with the corner trimmed off). Cut a shallow + over the buns, and pipe the mixture into this cross.
7. Bake those buns
Bake the buns for about 25 minutes, until they are golden.
8. Make the glaze
Meanwhile, combine the maple syrup and water.
9. Spread the glaze
As soon as the buns come out of the oven, use a pastry brush (or a spoon, or your finger? That's what we did...) to coat the buns with the glaze - do it while they're hot.
*You can switch out the maple syrup for other sweeteners like agave syrup, coconut nectar, or coconut sugar if you prefer.
**Andy made our mixed spice by combining:
1/4 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp dried coriander
This made extra of course - for next time!