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Healthier hot cross buns

  • Author: panaceaspantry
  • Prep Time: 2.5 hours
  • Cook Time: 15-20 mins
  • Total Time: 52 minute
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


A healthier hot cross bun made with quality olive oil, dark chocolate and no refined sugar. Fluffy, delicious and easy to make.




  • 3 1/3 cups (420g) bread flour
  • 1/4 cup (25g) cacao/cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp (7g) dry yeast or 14g wet yeast
  • 1 Tbsp (13g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (4g) ground ginger
  • 1 tsp (4g) nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp (2g) all spice
  • 1/2 tsp (4g) salt
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk, lukewarm
  • 2 Tbsp (24g) flax seeds, ground
  • 90ml water
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) pure maple syrup
  • 100ml Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar free dark chocolate chips**.


  • 1/4 cup (32g) flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp (5mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp (3mL) vanilla extract
  • 23 Tbsp (30-45mL) water


  • 1/4 cup (25g) coconut sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp (50mL) water
  • 1/2 tsp (2g) cinnamon


Make the hot cross buns

  1. Make the flax eggs by combining the flax seeds and 90mL tepid water. Stir in a bowl and allow to thicken for 10 minutes.
  2. Add flour, cacao, spices, salt, yeast, flax eggs, milk and maple syrup to the bowl of food processor with a dough hook attached (see post if you do not have this option).*** Run bread/brioche program until well incorporated (6-8 mins). With program running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until a uniform dough ball forms. The ball should be slightly sticky but have pulled away from the ball be be one round, uniform mass.
  3. Cover with a tea towel, and set in a warm place for 1+ hours to rise, until it at least doubles in size.
  4. Turn dough on a floured bench and need a few times, until the dough is smooth enough it doesn’t stick to your hands. Add choc chips and gently need through, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking to the bench.
  5. Divide into 12 equal portions (scales are best used here), and roll into balls. Use your fingers to pinch the dough under each ball, leaving the top to be rounded and smooth- this will allow the hot cross buns to look good once baked, but won’t really affect how they taste.  Place in a small rectangle dish, with roughly 3cm between each ball. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm spot for at least an hour, until they double in size. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Make the cross and bake

  1. To make the cross, whisk together the ingredients. The mixture should be the consistency of running peanut butter, so add more water or flour as necessary, then pipe not the risen hot cross buns. Bake for 15-20mins, or until slightly coloured and they sound hollow when you tap them.
  2. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Add water, sugar and vanilla to a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 2-4 mins or until the water has completely dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to thicken for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove cooked buns from the oven, the use a pasty brush to top the warm buns with the thickened glaze.

Enjoy the hot cross buns immediately, or allow to cool completely and store in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.


*Plain flour will work, but bread flour will yield a better texture

** Any choc chips will suffice, however to keep the recipe sugar free we chose sugar free dark chocolate. Likewise, you can substitute for any block chocolate- just cut into small chunks for use.

*** You can make the dough without a food processor, but it is hand work on your arms. Simply exchange step 2 by putting the listed ingredients into a bowl and mixing with a wooden spoon. It will be HARD work. Once well incorporated, add the olive oil and mix until it is well incorporated. Turn not a floured bench top and kneed until smooth- roughly 8-10 mins.

Ensure when you add the yeast and salt to the bowl that they do not directly touch.

For best results, follow the gram and ml measurements. This is much more accurate, and will ensure the dough works perfectly.