Easter is just around the corner and one of my favourite things about this time of year is hot cross buns!
There’s nothing quite like the smell of a hot cross bun heating up in the oven. Aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice mixed with sweet sultanas fill the kitchen and hint at what’s to come.
It doesn’t need to be heated for long. The perfect hot cross bun only needs about 5 minutes in a hot oven so that when it comes out it’s ever so slightly crispy around the edges, and it’s insides are just warm enough to melt a slice of butter.
That is if you eat butter….and gluten…and refined sugar. Sadly I don’t anymore, which means the mouthwatering smell is as far as my enjoyment of warm hot cross buns has gone – until now.
I’ve yet to come across a gluten free hot cross bun that’s also dairy free/vegan, AND doesn’t feel like you’re eating a heavy rock cake. So I decided this was the year to make my own.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with different combinations of gluten free flours, and in particular, trying to find a completely grain free combination that works nicely in baking. What I can tell you so far is it’s not as easy as you might think!
After a few failed attempts at making a completely grain free, vegan hot cross bun minus the yeast, I decided a hot cross muffin would be much easier and way more delicious.
We’re in week 2 of the COVID-19 lockdown here in NZ, so my husband has been working from home and very kindly took on the role of chief taste tester 😉
When I explained what he was taste testing “a hot cross bun crossed with a muffin” he said “oh you mean a buffin?!”and of course the name stuck. A quick google search confirmed my suspicion that we were not the first by any means to come up with this name, but it describes them prefectly.
This hot cross buffun recipe is so simple you might be tempted to question whether it will work as well as I claim, but I can assure you it will! Simply mix all the ingredients together, pour into a muffin pan, pipe some crosses over the top and bake. That’s it.
These hot cross buffins are completely gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar free, plant based and vegan.
The only thing they’re not free of is nuts. They contain both almond flour (ground almonds) and almond butter.
You could substitute the ground almonds for something of similar texture like oat flour, and the almond butter for another type of nut or seed butter, but the almond combination I’ve shared in the recipe below really does work the best so I can’t guarantee any substitution results.
Eat these hot cross buffins straight out of the oven while still warm with a slice of your favourite “butter” or spread.
They’re equally delicious at room tempearture, and when stored overnight in a sealed container they get a little sticky and remiscent of sticky date puddings.
I’ve yet to try toasting them but I think their delicate crumb might be a little too fine for a toaster, but you could definitely heat them up in an oven to get the same toasted hot cross bun effect.
If you make these Hot Cross Buffins, let me know!
Hot Cross Buffins (Vegan/Gluten Free)
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20-25 minutes
160g ground almonds (almond meal)
50g buckwheat flour
30g coconut sugar
2 Tbsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
zest of 1 lemon or orange (optional)
120g rice syrup or pure maple syrup
130g almond butter
220g coconut milk
2 tsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp coconut milk
Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan bake. Either lightly grease a standard 12 hole muffin pan with coconut oil, line with paper muffin cases, or use a non stick silicone muffin mould.
Make the cross mix by combing the ingredients, stir well and set aside.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well until evenly combined.
Make a well in the middle, add all the wet ingredients and stir until evenly combined.
Spoon the mixture evenly into your prepared muffin pan.
Give your cross mixture a final stir then either place in a small piping bag or a small ziplock bag and cut the corner. Pipe crosses onto the buffins.
Place pan into the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes (this may vary according to your oven).
The buffins are ready when they bounce back to a light touch, a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean and the tops turn a light golden colour.
After removing the muffins from the oven allow them to cool in the pan to prevent sinking.
Serve the buffins warm with a slice of “butter” or our favourite spread.
Store any leftover buffins in an airtight container at room temperature where they’ll will keep for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.