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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Gluten and Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns (and Chocolate Hot Cross Buns) for National Hot Cross Bun Day

Spiced gluten free buns with orange zest and raisins (or chocolate!)
Free of gluten, nuts, soy and dairy

I realize it's a bit strange to be posting a recipe for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns in September when hot cross buns are traditionally served over Easter.

But for some unknown reason, September 11 is National Hot Cross Bun Day. Although I've never made hot cross buns - I do vaguely recall my mother making them once - I thought this was a perfect time to experiment with them.

So after a few tries I ended up with a couple of hybrids, Gluten Free Hot Cross Pull-Apart Buns and  Gluten Free Chocolate Hot Cross Buns, with an orange twist. And we've been munching them for breakfast all week now...

The Chocolate Hot Cross Buns version came about after my dear husband got excited when he saw and smelled) the first batch of buns. When he bit into it, though, he was disappointed because he had thought the raisins were chocolate chips (he's not a fan of raisins). So I had to make another batch for him with chocolate chips!  Apparently, though, in some parts of the world like Australia, Chocolate Hot Cross Buns are a new tradition.

This recipe requires a few bowls on the go, but it's really quite quick and simple to put together. I know this because I've made several versions this week. This recipe is the best of the bunch, with a soft, spongy texture and a delicate spiced flavour.

My sloppy icing job. Believe it or not I iced my own wedding cake ;)

You can sub lemon zest for orange zest instead for a lemon flavour, or leave it out altogether for a simple spiced bun.

Ingredients for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns (makes 11-12 buns):

1 cup warm milk of choice (rice, coconut, almond, cow, etc)
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp organic brown sugar

1 1/4 cup sorghum  flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour - don't worry, it's gluten free)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
small pinch of cloves

1 egg
1/4 cup olive or coconut oil
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp orange OR lemon zest
1 cup raisins OR 1/2 cup chocolate chips / cacao nibs for Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

1 Tbsp melted butter or dairy free alternative (optional) for brushing


Grease a pie plate or 8x8" cake pan. I used a pie plate but ended up with extra dough so I also used a 6" terra cotta pot plate (it was clean, don't worry, I bought it just for photo shoots!)

1. Mix together warm milk, yeast and sugar. Let rise ONLY for 5-7 minutes. Any longer and the buns  will sink. If this is your first time doing this, prepare your other bowls, THEN prep yeast.

2. Sift together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, oil, honey or maple syrup and cider vinegar together.

3. Blend wet ingredients into dry, then add yeast mix. Beat until smooth.

4. Fold zest and raisins or chocolate into dough.

5. Using a greased ice cream scoop or 1/4 measuring cup, scoop balls of dough into prepared plates. Leave roughly 1/2 - 3/4" between balls. Use wet fingers to smooth tops of buns. Let rise in a warm place for 25 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 375F and bake buns approximately 20 minutes, until buns are browned on top. Brush with melted butter if desired. Let cool in pans for 20 minutes on a cooling rack.  Add icing if desired (recipe below)

Buns before rising

Buns after rising - note that, unlike normal glultinous buns, these won't hold a cross shape in the top due to their wet texture. I tried & failed. It was easier to just pipe icing on the top rather than to try and cut into the top of the bun.
Buns after baking and being brushed with melted butter

Glaze Recipe

3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 - 1 Tbsp orange juice OR lemon juice

* Mix ingredients together until smooth, adding more juice as needed. In an icing bag or plastic bag with a small hole cut out of the corner, pipe icing over cooled buns.

 Due to their texture, these buns will spread and rise, so they end up more hexagonal shaped than bun shaped. If you prefer a more perfect bun shape, try baking these in a muffin tin or round mold of sorts. Personally, I find my pie plate way easier to clean than my muffin tin, and the shape certainly doesn't affect the taste!! 

Happy Hot Cross Buns Day! Do you make hot cross buns? What are your favorite dried fruits and spices to add? 

See those little fleck of orange zest in there? So tasty!

This post was shared on the following great link parties: Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Musings of a  Housewife,Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Fat Tuesdays, The Hearth and Soul Hop,Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Healing with Food Friday


  1. Those look SO amazing! I'd love it if you would share at our Healing With Foods blog hop! Hope to see you there!

  2. Your Hot Cross Buns look amazing, and I like the addition of the chocolate too. They look so pretty baked together like that. I've pinned them to my Gluten Free recipes board.

  3. Thanks for linking up at Healing With Food Friday!


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