Hot Cross Buns

This spring my daughter Claire began taking piano lessons.  Listening to her practice Hot Cross Buns over and over again has led every member of our household to compulsively hum this little ditty.  Hearing this tune each day put me in the mood to make some of these springtime treats.  I have baked a few batches of Hot Cross Buns over the course of my lifetime, but I had never attempted to make a gluten-free version.  Sometimes tackling traditional baked goods is a bit risky since people are so attached to their own flavor memories.  In the end, I feel like the taste and texture of these is comparable to their wheat counterparts.  I deviated from tradition a bit and baked these in individual parchment lined muffin cups, but they also work in a square pan so that you can get the classic pull-apart look.  These Hot Cross Buns are just a bit sweet, with plenty of orange zest, plump raisins and fragrant spices.

*When I baked these I decided to experiment with Mama’s Almond Blend, Gluten Free Flour Mix.  I recently purchased some and have been trying it out in a few of my recipes.  So far, I have added a few other flours with this blend in order to increase nutrition, but the results have been excellent.  I think it is really well suited to this recipe in particular, since it closely approximates a standard, wheat based all-purpose flour.  If you don’t have Mama’s Almond Blend, but would like to try the recipe, use 2 cups of my Gluten Free Flour Mix for Yeast Breads (click on hyperlink for recipe).

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Hot Cross Buns

  • 2 cups  all-purpose gluten-free flour (click here to see  my basic flour blend)
  • 1/4 cup  millet flour or almond flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum (I use Authentic Foods xanthan gum for a corn free variety)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (Hain brand or homemade for corn-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) of ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Generous pinch of ground mace

—> Place the above dry ingredients in the bowl of your standing mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment.  Turn to low and incorporate the dry ingredients for about 30 seconds.

—> To the mixing bowl, add the following wet ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk or milk substitute, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

—> Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds more.  Then increase mixing speed to Medium-High and beat the dough with the paddle for 2 1/2 minutes.

—> Add the following ingredients to the dough:

  • 3 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup raisins (pre-soaked for a 5-10 minutes in hot water, then drained)

—> Mix on low for a few seconds to distribute the raisins and zest.

—>  Using a large, 4 TB. scoop, place dough in parchment or paper lined muffin cups or nestled into a well-greased 8 by 8 inch metal pan.  This recipe will yield 9 buns, so if you are using a pan, you should place the dough in rows of three.

—> Cover and let rise in warm place (I use the top of my warmed toaster oven) for 1 hour.

—>  After the buns have doubled in size, gently brush the tops with egg wash ( 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk/milk sub. or water)

—> Bake at 375F degrees for 18-20 minutes or until deep golden brown.  ( an instant read thermometer should read 200F degrees)

—> Remove from oven and cool on rack.

—> Frost with:

Royal Icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (use corn free version if necessary)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon, softened non-hydrogenated shortening, softened coconut oil or butter

Whisk together vigorously until you achieve the desired consistency.  If you find that the shortening won’t incorporate, you may need to warm the frosting a bit more.

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9 thoughts on “Hot Cross Buns

  1. These look so yummy and delicious that I can’t wait to make them. I have been eating gluten free for a year and discovering some amazing new recipes here! Thank You!

    • Hi Rachel, My son is also allergic to citrus fruit. When I make these, I always make a separate batch without the zest or orange juice in the icing. I just omit the zest in the dough and icing and the spices and vanilla extract carry the show. For the orange juice that’s called for in the frosting feel free to use water or a milk substitute. I use 100% pure pineapple juice that I get in small cans (I buy mine at Trader Joes). My son isn’t allergic to pineapple (yay!) and I like the way the tangy pineapple juice balances the sweetness of the powdered sugar in the icing. I use pineapple juice as my citrus juice substitute in most recipes that need a bright, acidic liquid to balance flavors or tenderize dough (in bread baking that’s often why orange juice is called for). I hope this helps! Terris

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