Easter just isn’t complete without hot cross buns. There’s something about these cute little things that makes them synonymous with spring and new season veggies and kind of the start of all things warmer weather. It’s the combination of bread with sweet bread with icing, with raisins, that just makes them so dang good and definitely something not to be left off the seasonal baking list.
And it’s why every year, I make them again and try out a new kind. I’m not into just the plain Jane hot cross buns with the sugary crosses piped on top. I like to mix it up, experiment with some new and different flavours, and as per usual, make them a little healthier than the traditional. I had the best of intentions this year to take it to a gluten free version. My pantry is typically stocked with lots of gluten free flours, giving me lots of room to play around. And while I did play around, and trial a few different recipes, they just weren’t coming out the way I hoped – soft, not too dense, rising up and easy to pull apart, while being studded with raisins.
I also had in the pantry though, some sprouted spelt flour. While not gluten free, spouted flour is better for you than traditional flour because the sprouting step infuses it with more enzymes. It also is often easier to digest and break down in the gut than traditional flour. With never having used sprouted spelt before, I thought it was worthy of the hot cross bun trials. I combined it with some plain whole wheat flour, and my new fave, tapioca flour, and let it do its magic. Along with hints of orange, and lots of dates, these were just the hot cross buns I was after. Soft, a little chewy and crusty on the outside, rising up nice and not too sweet with the icing on top. I decided at that moment, that gluten free hot cross buns just weren’t going to be this year. I’ll try again next spring!
Orange Date Hot Cross Buns
A fun and healthy take on the Easter classic.
For the Buns
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 tsp raw honey
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 1/2 cups sprouted spelt flour
- 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 3 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp orange rind
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 3/4-1 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
For the Crosses
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 2 tbsp coconut milk, or coconut cream
- Begin by proofing the yeast: add the warm water, 1.5 teaspoons of honey and yeast to a small bowl and stir to combine and dissolve the yeast. Once the yeast has dissolved set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the sprouted spelt flour, whole wheat flour, tapioca flour, cinnamon and orange rind. Stir the honey and orange juice into the cup of warm water and add into the flour mixture, stirring until absorbed.
- Once yeast has proofed, add the mixture to the flour mixture and stir (or work with your hands) until a dough forms. You can add more warm water if the dough seems dry, adding in 2-3 tbsp at a time.
- Once the dough is formed, knead it with your hands for 5-7 minutes, sprinkle the bowl with flour and return the dough to the bowl, placing it in a warm place to rise.
- After it has risen and doubled in size, remove the dough from the bowl and knead a second time for 5-7 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl as before and set aside to rise.
- Once dough has risen a second time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead and then form into medium size balls and place side by side in a 9×9 square baking tin.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden.
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a rack.
- Meanwhile, make the icing by melting coconut milk and almond butter in a small saucepan. Stir often to prevent it from burning, and when it is ready, pour onto buns as crosses.
- Store the buns in an airtight container.
Try your hand at baking some other healthy spring treats: