It’s Easter time and that means chocolate eggs and hot cross buns! Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, hot cross buns are enriched bread made with spices and citrus zest/peel. They are marked on top with the symbol of the cross, made from either a flavourless flour water mix or a mix of powdered sugar and milk.
This weekend I undertook a hot cross extravaganza and made hot cross cookies, scones and my signature buns known as hot cross bunnies; obviously made in the shape of a (Easter) bunny.
Previously I have made hot cross brownies and plan to make hot cross pancakes and muffins for next year.
Many recipes for hot cross buns call for ‘mixed spice’. So what exactly is in this blend?
Hot Cross Bun spice mix:
2 teaspoons of true cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon clove
This quantity will be more than sufficient for one full batch of hot cross buns. Use the leftover spice blend to make cookies, scones, cake or whatever else you can think of to ‘hot crossify’.
*For best flavour, grind the spices fresh just before using in a recipe.
*For more pungency double the amounts of allspice, nutmeg and clove.
It was Robbie Burns day on January 25th but what’s it to me? Besides a Scottish surname and perhaps some Scottish blood amongst the other known and prominent blood in my DNA, my connection to Scotland is through plaid and porridge oats.
An ode to oatmeal, it’s not just for breakfast anymore. Use it in the following ways:
to toughen up a veggie burger
sprinkle on top of or mix into breads
as a base for homemade granola
mix with some nutritional yeast and crumble on top of mac n’ cheese
bind a vegetable and pasta bake
make a vegetarian haggis! cook mushrooms, lentils, oatmeal, spices and gluten flour and wrap in rice paper
Tip: The larger the oat flakes, the better. They are usually less processed and therefore, retain more of their inherent nutrients.
After cross referencing a few recipes, I performed my alchemy to come up with the following. Of course, substitute with similar ingredients if you don’t have the items listed below.
1/3 cup each of muscovado sugar, vegan peppermint marshmallows and vegan butter, softened.
¼ cup each of fair-trade cane sugar, cocoa powder and non-dairy milk (how about holiday nog?!)
candy cane dust ie 3 candy canes blitzed in a food processor or coffee bean grinder
1 teaspoon of Madagascar vanilla extract
½ teaspoon each of baking soda and Himalayan pink salt
½ each of whole wheat pastry and spelt flour
¼ cup unbleached white flour
optional: ¼ cup chocolate bits (dark chocolate, vegan white chocolate or just regular white chocolate if you’re vegetarian)
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
In a medium-sized bowl, cream ‘butter’ and sugars together. Add ‘milk’ and vanilla then stir.
Put candy cane dust and salt into bowl then stir to fully combine.
On top, measure in the flours, cocoa powder and baking soda. Stir to combine. If mixture is too stiff, add a little more ‘milk’ bit by bit until mixture forms a dough.
Add vegan marshmallows (and chocolate) and stir until everything holds together.
Use a small ice cream scoop to equally portion out individual cookies onto a lined baking tray. Cookies will spread a little so place them accordingly. Make sure a bit of marshmallow and chocolate gets into each one. Should make around 15 palm sized cookies.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until you smell that fragrant bakery-like smell. The marshmallows should look deflated like cartoon characters flattened by a car.
Place tray on rack and let cool.
Enjoy! I had mine for breakfast with some coconut milk holiday nog.