Healthy Date Hot Cross Buns

This is a recipe my mum sent me that I got off a blog called the

Overall I was pretty pleased with the results seeing as I’ve never made hot cross buns, but as per usual I made some errors and adjustments to the recipe for next time. 

For the original recipe:
My altered version:


380 g wholemeal organic spelt flour

(190g of white and 190g of whole meal works better as it makes the dough lighter)

10 g fresh yeast 

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons milk

6 free range/ organic eggs

zest from 2 oranges

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

6 g sea salt (1 teaspoon)

250 g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup golden raisins

(I used a cup of dates because I don’t like raisins all that much)

50 g wholemeal spelt flour

70 ml milk or cold water

Makes 24 buns


Day 1

Combine the flour, yeast, honey, milk, eggs, orange zest, vanilla and salt into the bowl of your bench top mixer.

Mix with a dough hook at low speed until incorporated then increase the speed to medium and mix for about 8 minutes or until smooth.

Add the butter slowly, a little at a time until it is all incorporated into the dough. Take your time and don’t add too much at once. (This took me about 12-15 mins)

Add the raisins and mix gently until just incoprpoated then turn off your mixer and remove the bowl.

Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Place the dough into the fridge overnight to rest and develop for a further 12 hours. This dough is quite sturdy, to if you go over 12 hours, that’s ok, so long as you cook the dough the following day. Resting also loosens the dough so you end up with a light and fluffy hot cross bun.

Day 2

Divide dough into 24 even size portions – you can also spoon them into lined muffin tins. (I found that the tray made them flatter, so next time I will try muffin tins)

Leave to prove in a warm place for about 2 – 3 hours. (I put mine in the oven on about 30 degrees for this) This depends on the warmth of your kitchen….I usually turn the oven on just to warm the kitchen and help them prove and they should at least double in size.

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Make an egg wash using 1 whole egg and 2 tablespoons of milk.

Brush tops of the buns with egg wash.

Combine Cross the cross ingredients and mix into a smooth paste.

Pour the paste into a home made paper piping bag….I made mine from baking paper.

Pipe the topping over the buns to resemble a cross.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden and baked through. (Was 25 mins in my oven)

Cool and enjoy.

So in terms of hiccups I had a few. First of all when I left my dough in the fridge overnight I realised that the fridge was set to a colder than usual temperature. This made the dough sink down a little and may also be why mine were flatter. I also didn’t have any vanilla bean paste which I think greatly impacted on the taste of the dough. I used vanilla essence and some vanilla beans (from pods) but it didn’t seem to make it sweet enough. They tasted quite bland. Also next time I think I will put in 2 cups of dates as they seemed to disappear and made it taste better. 

I will be writing up a brief history of the hot cross bun on a new page called ‘food history’, which can be accessed from the menu button. So if you are interesed go have a look. I will be trying to do this for every recipe I make now.