Getting the photos for this recipe was difficult to say the least.
Melted, ooey chocolate, dark and inviting, was piping in all the wrong directions (with thanks to my impatience, not having waited for it to cool slightly). The crosses were... interpretive; I embraced the imperfection, channeling every ounce of my artistic flair.
Obstacle overcome. But there was a another, more worrisome, obstacle ahead.
My tummy was rumbling. I mused, "Wouldn't this photo look so much more enticing if one bun was half-eaten?" and while quickly stuffing one in my gob I hollered, "Ohm nom... Nathan, come and have one!"
I'm surprised there were muffins to photograph at all.
Orange and lemon zests, paired with diced apricots and dark chocolate are a match made in heaven. Melted dark chocolate forms the 'crosses', which hardens nicely when the buns have cooled (see pictures below) - if they aren't gobbled up beforehand! So GORGEOUS eaten fresh from the oven, with warm, melted chocolate - these buns get my vote for Easter Sunday breakfast.
I love that these hot cross buns do not require intensive labour, nor expensive ingredients, but they are free from additives and much lower in natural (or otherwise) sugars than their supermarket counterparts. Yet they are perfectly satisfying and indulgent.
- Rye and Spelt flours have been used. These grains contain less gluten than wheat, and have been less genetically modified, thereby retaining more nutrients. Choose organic wherever possible.
- I used chocolate for the crosses only, but if you're seeking ultimate indulgence, chop up extra chocolate and chuck it in the batter!
- The recipe makes about 16 large muffins. I made 12 large muffins and 16 mini muffins (perfect for little hands).
- Nut free means they are great for the kindy or school lunchbox.
- Dairy free, if dairy free chocolate is used.
orange & Chocolate Hot Cross Muffins
Makes 16 large muffins / Dairy free* / Nut free
1+1/4C organic whole spelt flour
1C organic rye flour
1+1/2t aluminium-free baking powder
1t baking soda
1t ground ginger
1/2t flakey sea salt
1/3C (packed) dried apricots, diced
1 small grated green apple (scant 1/2C)
100g dark chocolate (dairy free if necessary), for the crosses
1t vanilla extract
Zest of 2 oranges
Zest of 1 lemon
2T coconut sugar, or other unrefined sugar (optional)
1+1/2C coconut cream or milk
8 drops each of orange & lemon essential oils (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan-bake) and grease two large muffin trays with coconut oil.
2. Sift flours, spices, baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar (if using), then add the coconut milk and water and continue beating until combined. Add the zests and essential oils (if using) and beat again briefly.
3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, add the dried fruit and grated apple, and then mix until just combined.
4. Using a large tablespoon, fill muffin trays almost to the top. Put trays into the oven and bake for about 17 minutes, or until risen, golden, and springy.
5. Use a knife to loosen the buns from the tins, then place them on a wire rack to cool.
6. In a saucepan, over a low heat, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring into a piping bag. Using all your artistic flair, pipe the chocolate into crosses on the buns.
7. Either eat immediately, warm and gooey, or leave buns to cool and chocolate to harden.
8. Store in an airtight container for 4 or 5 days.
*Dairy free only if dairy free chocolate is used.