Healthy Hot Cross Buns

hot-cross-buns1-652x978By Teresa Cutter

Now is the perfect time for making these delicious hot cross buns made from wholemeal spelt, oats, muscatel, honey, cinnamon and vanilla. This is not the light fluff style of hot cross bun you may be used to in the supermarkets made from white flour and refined sugar. My version is full of fibre and the oats give it a wonderful chewy density that marries perfectly with the cinnamon and vanilla.  I’ve used large muscatel raisins in this recipe, but they are also delicious with sun-dried figs, apple and walnuts or a combination of dried cherries and 85 % organic dark chocolate to give it that Easter touch.

What’s good about them:
Whole-meal spelt is often tolerated with people who have digestive issues as it has a slightly lower gluten content and higher amino acid profile then traditional wheat based flours.  The beta-glucan fiber found in oats can help regulate your appetite and lower blood cholesterol. Macadamia nut and olive oils are anti-inflamatory and kind to the arteries. Cinnamon improves insulin’s efficiency, which lower and help to regulate blood sugar levels.

320 g whole meal spelt flour (see notes)
50 g rolled oats
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
grated zest of 1 orange
1 sachet dried yeast
250 ml milk (your choice)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
100 g butter
1 egg
200 g  raisins or golden sultanas
50 g dried cherries or currants

Mix the flour, oats, cinnamon, yeast and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.
Warm the milk, vanilla, honey and butter until just slightly warm and butter has melted.
Remove from the heat whisk in the egg.
Pour the warmed milk into the flour mix.
Mix the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
Add fruits and mix again until mixed through.
Place into a lightly buttered bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or glad wrap.
Rest the dough in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in sized.
Knock back the dough and tip in onto your  working bench.
Shape into buns and place them onto a prepared baking tray lined with baking paper.
Leave about 1 cm to allow room to expand.
Cover  the hot cross buns lightly and rest in a warm place for another 45 minutes until doubled in size.
Brush over the rolls with a beaten egg mixed with a little milk which will form a lovely glaze. ( at this stage you can add cross dough – see below….or wait and create your crosses with chocolate).
Preheat your oven to 200 C.
Bake for 20  minutes until golden.
Cool then if you like pipe a cross made from either white or dark chocolate on top.
Enjoy.

To Make Hot Cross Piping Dough
Combine 50 g spelt flour with 70 – 80 ml cold water.
Mix into a paste and pipe crosses over the buns before baking.

Notes + Inspiration
Replace  100 g of the spelt flour with rye flour.  This will give the buns are richer flavour and aroma.
Add dried chopped apple or roasted pear in place of currants.