Fugly Cross Buns

I really miss hot cross buns. It’s hard to find a commercial bun that isn’t weirdly non-vegetarian and, even then, all that sugar, fruit, and white flour makes them a fairly poor choice for a bung pancreas. Fortunately I’m willing to spend my time and money on experimental, and often unsuccessful baking and, just this once, I’ve come up with something that, while slightly funny looking, is undeniably delicious. I started with the Edmonds hot cross bun recipe but swapped half the flour for wholemeal and the rest for almond, replaced the fruit with sugar free chocolate chips (the Healtheries ones are not bad), and adjusted the other ingredients to compensate. The resulting buns are soft, flavourful and suitably festive, if a little rough looking.

imageHot Cross Buns

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 2 cups wholemeal flour (a fine or zentrofan ground variety is best if you can find it) plus extra for kneading.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon orange essence
  • 3/4 cup sugar free chocolate chips
  1. Heat milk until almost boiling. Stir in butter and sugar and leave to cool until luke warm.
  2. Sprinkle yeast over milk mixture and leave in a warm place until foamy.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre
  4. Add milk mixture and essences and stir to combine. The dough will look hopelessly sticky at this stage but do not despair.
  5. Mix in chocolate chips.
  6. Dust your work surface with a thick layer of flour. Turn your dough out and dust more flour over the top.
  7. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, until you have a soft dough that springs back when pressed.
  8. Place dough in a oiledbowl, cover (I like to used oiled glad wrap), and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
  9. Punch dough down and knead lightly. Form into 16 balls and place, not quite touching, in a large, greased tin.
  10. Cover and leave to rise again until doubled in size.
  11. Pipe flour and water paste crosses on top of risen buns if you so desire.
  12. Bake at 200°C for approximately 20 minutes.
  13. Turn out onto a wire rack.