After trying out multiple “healthier” hot cross bun recipes I have given up trying to make this yeast-leavened, sultana studded treat – at least for this year. My attempts have ranged from disastrous (small sad buns so hard they could be used as a weapon) to disappointing (lovely and risen but dry and lacking salt). As a result, I have hung up my baker’s hat and relegated my box of yeast to the back of the fridge for a while. Instead I have chosen to make the cheats version of this easter staple, the hot cross scone. My rendition is generously filled with juicy pieces of dried fig, 70% cocoa dark chocolate and delicately spiced with cinnamon. Don’t get me wrong, I love the traditional flavours of spice and dried sultanas but sometimes a more luxurious version is called for.
Having said that, these buns are not nearly as sinfully indulgent as they appear….
I have made these hot cross scones healthier by using wholemeal spelt flour instead of the usual white flour. Spelt is an ancient form of grain which has a lower gluten and FODMAP content which may make it easier to digest for some people. Also, unlike wheat flour the wholemeal version of spelt flour doesn’t have that bran infused cardboard taste, meaning you can have your fibre filled flour and actually eat it too. The added sugar in these buns has been replaced with Natvia (stevia for baking), if you don’t have a real big sweet tooth you can also choose to leave this out entirely as the figs and dark chocolate provide sweetness as well. If FODMAPS are an issue for you you may want to leave out the figs.
I have used a 70% cocoa dark chocolate for these buns. Cocoa powder is high in antioxidants and may also be beneficial for heart health. When choosing chocolate go for a dark one with a high cocoa content, this means you get more of the beneficial antioxidants from the cocoa and less sugar, plus it will be richer and more satisfying, meaning you will be more likely to be able to stop at just a few pieces. This easter you might also want to have a go at making your own homemade raw chocolates too.
Any way, its nearly easter time, if there is any one time of the year to indulge a little in some chocolate filled hot cross scones, its now
- 2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp mixed spice or ground ginger
- 3 tbsp Natvia stevia
- 1 tbsp molasses (optional)
- 50 ml rice bran oil (can use light olive oil or grapes oil)
- 180ml almond milk (or any milk of choice)
- ½ cup finely chopped dried figs
- ½ cup chopped 70% cocoa dark chocolate (approx 100g)
- melted dark chocolate, extra for the crosses.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
- Mix up the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, spice and stevia in a large bowl until combined.
- Make a well in the centre and add in the molasses, oil and milk. Stir until just combined then add dried figs and chopped chocolate.
- Mix it all up until combined. You should have a soft, slightly sticky dough at this point. If it's too sticky add a little more spelt flour.
- Sprinkle a little flour onto a large chopping board or clean bench top and tip out dough. Knead very briefly then pat the dough into a 2-3cm thick rectangle.
- Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 10-12 pieces. Place the pieces onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 15-20 minutes until just cooked.
- Allow to cool then drizzle over extra melted chocolate to create the crosses - I just used a spoon to do this but you can use a piping bag if you want it to be neater.
- Enjoy slightly warmed and try not to eat them all yourself.
- Best enjoyed on the day made.
You should have a soft, sticky dough, dont knead it too much, its needs to stay tender….
Cut the dough into pieces, you can also use a scone cutter if you wish…
Drizzle with extra chocolate to make a cheats cross (optional)