I can’t believe it’s already Easter! (I think I say this every year though). One of my favourite things about Easter as a kid, apart from eating too much chocolate, was making warm, toasty hot cross buns with my family. So I thought I’d make a recipe that is gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free – so everyone can still enjoy the joy that hot cross buns bring.
Whilst this hot cross bun recipe does take some time for preparation, its quite easy to follow.
For this recipe I do recommend using flours that are a bit lighter, unlike almond/hazelnut meal, as they are quite dense already. I use a combination of the following – Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Tapioca or Amaranth. The combination of brown rice, buckwheat and a small amount of tapioca provides the much needed elasticity when working with gluten free dough
For those who have not heard about Rapadura Sugar and are interested, here is a great write up about its claimed health benefits by the amazing Cyndi O’Meara at Changing Habits http://changinghabits.com.au/healthy-shopping/all-products/rapadura-sugar-500g
For the buns:
1 Cup Almond Milk
1 Packet Dry Yeast
1 Tablespoon Organic Coconut or Rapadura Sugar
3 Cups Flour (any combination). I like 1 1/2 cups Brown Rice flour, 1 1/2 cups Buckwheat flour and 1/4 cup Tapioca starch
1 Teaspoon Ginger
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, Melted
2 Tablespoons Organic Cacao
1 Block Organic Raw Chocolate – Loving Earth works really well
For the ‘Crosses’:
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Row Organic Raw Chocolate (usually 3-4 pieces)
1 Tablespoon warm Water
On a low heat, heat your Almond Milk. You do not want to let it overheat or boil, just until it is quite warm (you should still be able to touch it).
Take off heat and add your yeast packet and Sugar.
Stir well for 1 minute and sit aside.
In a bowl, combine your Flour, Spices and Chocolate. If you are making just triple chocolate ones, add your Cacao now as well (I make half the mixture Choc Chip, then add the Cacao to the other half to make it triple choc).
Now add your Coconut Oil and yeast mixture.
Combine well with a hand beater or mixer. You don’t want the mixture to be really crumbly, but you don’t want it to be wet either – you should be able to easily form a ball.
Form a ball with your mixture and transfer to a clean, dry bowl and place a tea towel over the top
Let sit aside for 1 hour in a warm, dry place.
After an hour the dough should have risen and it will likely be very soft to the touch. Knead mixture well for 5 minutes.
Roll into even sized balls (about 8cmX8cm).
Place dough balls into a baking paper lined tray, touching each other.
Lightly flatten the top of the balls with your hand to form the hot cross bun shape.
Bake in a fan-forced oven (180 degrees celcius) for 20-25 minutes. You want the hot cross buns to still be slightly soft to the touch, not golden brown, as they will go back into the oven shortly.
In the mean time, mix all of your ingredients together for the crosses.
Place into a piping bag (or zip lock bag and make a very small cut in the corner).
Take your hot cross buns out of the oven and pipe your crosses on the top. I find it easiest to run a line one way across the whole row of buns, then the other way.
Bake in the oven for a further 10 mins. Check with a skewer to see if the mixture has cooked.
Best served warm and lightly toasted again. They are also suitable for freezing.