Tear-n-Share Sticky Hot Cross Buns

Serves: 12 Cooking time: 30 minutes

These vegan and reduced sugar Hot Cross Buns, by Joanne Wood of The Balanced Kitchen, not only taste great but look fantastic in the middle of the table.


  • 390ml unsweetened soya milk
  • 60g dairy-free spread
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 14g fast action yeast
  • 400g strong white bread flour
  • 200g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 tbsp gram flour. This is ground chickpeas and is a staple ingredient in Indian cooking. I have bought mine for the last few years in larger Tesco stores in the alternative food section but it can be found in many Asian stores. The reason it is such a great egg replacement is that it actually tastes a little like an egg and also, once mixed with water and cooked, has a consistency like an omelette (for which it is good for making with some herbs and spices).
  • 1 eating apple peeled and grated
  • 1 orange - zest only
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 50g raisins and sultanas
  • 50g 100% cacao dark choc chips sugar-free or buy a 100% dark chocolate bar and chop into small chunks, as 100% cacao chips can be hard to find
  • Oil for greasing the bowl
  • Flour for dusting

Cross Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp white flour
  • Drops of water to form a paste

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp powdered Total Sweet XylitolGround in a coffee grinder or similar
  • Drops of water to form a paste


  1. Place the milk and dairy-free spread into a small pan and heat gently over low heat until the spread melts. Do not allow the milk to boil or get too hot. Set the pan to one side, off the heat, once complete and stir in the apple cider vinegar.
  2. In a large bowl, add the white and wholemeal flour, yeast, xylitol, salt, and gram flour and mix them together with a wooden spoon.
  3. Once the milk mixture is lukewarm, make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and begin to pour the milk slowly into the flour whilst stirring with the wooden spoon. Continue until all of the milk has been incorporated into the flour.
  4. Dust a clean work surface with flour and turn the mixture onto the surface. Knead with clean hands by folding the dough into itself to the centre, turning and continuing to fold into the centre until you form a smooth ball shape, this should take about 5 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky, to begin with.
  5. Oil the bowl and then return the dough to the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
  6. After 1 hour, add the grated apple, orange zest, mixed peel, ground spices, raisins, sultanas and choc chips to the dough. Knead with clean hands, folding the dough into the centre until the added ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  7. Place the dough on to some scales, it should weigh exactly 1200g. You will now make 12 equal sized balls of dough by taking 100g of the dough each time and forming a small round bun shape with your clean hands. Place each bun into an ovenproof dish, 9 around the perimeter and 3 in the middle, equally spaced. They will expand in the oven so do not worry if there is significant space between the buns.
  8. Place a clean tea towel over the buns and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  9. Just before the end of the 2nd 1 hour rising time, create a paste for the crosses by mixing the extra flour with a few drops of water until you reach a thick paste consistency. Add the paste to a pipping bag with a thin nozzle and draw crosses on each bun.
  10. Place the dish in a pre-heated fan oven at 220 degrees C for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove the hot cross buns from the oven and whilst still warm, brush with the glaze of powdered xylitol which has been mixed with a little water to form a paste.
  12. Leave to cool before serving. Best eaten on the day of making or stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.