Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

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Oh boy do I have a treat for you. As Good Friday is tomorrow I decided to create one more Easter recipe, a twist on the traditional Hot Cross Buns that we all love to eat this time of year. May I present my Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns!

FF Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Having been sent some medjool dates from The Medjool Date Co. I wanted to incorporate them into different recipes. So in a moment of inspiration today I decided to use them in these Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns. How glad am I, that I had that moment of inspiration!

Now there are dates and there are medjool dates from Jordan. Once you have tried these medjool dates it is impossible to use any others – well for me it is! Big, sweet, but not tooth achingly so, good for you and they taste amazing. While I have been cooking and baking with them a few, maybe more than a few have been eaten along the way.

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Creating A New Recipe

Knowing I had ordered some stem ginger in syrup from Waitrose a couple of weeks ago, instead of opting for crystallised ginger, I used their stem ginger. Finely diced it is the only ginger in the Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns. Using warm syrup from the stem ginger jar, to glaze the buns, still hot from the oven is the final touch.

These Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns are so utterly delicious eaten just as they are, sliced and buttered, or toasted and buttered. They make a fantastic alternative to traditional Hot Cross Buns and are great for those who dislike raisins/sultanas, or cinnamon.

RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns perfect buttered with a hot cup of tea.

I love baking our own hot cross buns for Good Friday. We always have them toasted, with butter and large cups of tea or coffee. For our family it is the start of Easter. The day we remember that Jesus Christ gave His life for us all on the cross at Calvery. In fact I’ve always wondered why it is called Good Friday? As truly thinking about what Jesus went through, for me, brings me to a place of deep conviction – please see Important Stuff if you’d like to know more.

Recipe: Makes 12 Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

140ml/scant 5fl oz Whole Milk – slightly warmed (body temperature)

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – slightly warmed (body temperature)

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey

10g/1.5 Sachet Fast Acting Dried Yeast

10g sea salt – I use Maldon

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

150g/5oz Medjool Dates – pitted and chopped to medium dice

2 Balls of Stem Ginger – removed from the syrup and finely diced

1/2tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

For the crosses:

50g/2oz Plain white flour

50ml/2fl oz Water

Approx 30mls of syrup from the stem ginger jar to glaze the baked buns

Method:

This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer, if you wish to make by hand, I suggest you look to the original recipe in Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake’ ISBN 9781 4088 19494.

Making The Spiced Sweet Bun Dough

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

  • Add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the chopped dates, finely diced stem ginger and nutmeg. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the chopped dates, finely diced stem ginger and nutmeg . Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the stand mixer dough has doubled in size, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

Shaping the Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

see Hot Cross Buns for full step by step photos.

  • First of all grease a large baking tray with butter.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • It will be quite sticky, so ensure you have floured your hands well.
  • Cut the dough in half and then cut each half into 6 even pieces.
  • Shape each piece into a ball and place on the baking tray – the dough was very sticky so some of my balls weren’t perfect!
RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Once shaped place each bun in rows of 3 on the baking tray.
  • When all 12 buns have been shaped, cover the baking tray with a clean tea towel.
  • Leave the buns in a warm, draught free place, until doubled in size.
  • While the buns are proving, make the flour paste for the crosses. Add the water to the flour and mix until you have a smooth paste.
  • Place in a small, disposable piping bag and secure the top with an elastic band.
  • 10 minutes before the buns are ready to bake preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.

 

 

RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns doubled in size and ready to be piped.
  • Snip the end off the piping bag, so there is a small hole.
  • Pipe down the line of buns and then across the line of buns.
RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Perfectly crossed buns, ready for the oven.

Baking And Adding A Glaze To The Buns

  • Place the Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. They are baked when they are golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.
  • As soon as the buns are baked remove from the oven.
  • Take the buns off of the baking tray and place onto a cooling rack.
  • Remove approx 30mls of syrup from the stem ginger jar.
  • Place into a microwaveable bowl and heat for 20 seconds.
  • Brush the warm syrup over the buns whilst they are still hot.
  • Leave to cool until at least warm.

 

RT Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns glazed with syrup.

Biting into my very first, warm, Ginger Date Hot Cross Bun is an experience I will never forget!

So light and fluffy.

So tomorrow morning on Good Friday, we have a choice of traditional Hot CrossBuns which I also baked today, or these delicious Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns.

Breakfast will truly be a feast, as much as making these has been fun!

If you’ve enjoyed these Easter Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns you may also want to try these other recipes:

Hot Cross Buns

RT Hot Cross Buns
Traditional Hot Cross Buns.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

RT Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
100% Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

RT Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Whatever you make or bake this Easter, I wish you a very happy time. I love seeing your bakes, so please pop a pic onto Twitter or Instagram and tag me in.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram

Medjool Date Co. provided the dates for this recipe. All opinions, content and photographs are my own. I did not receive payment for writing this recipe. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

I have entered these Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns to the March Tea Time Treats Linky Party hosted by The Hedge Combers and Lavender and Lovage

Tea Time Treats Linky

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Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

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Easter is only a few days away and with it come various traditions. Most importantly for me and many others is attending church to celebrate Jesus our risen Saviour. While others take part in organised Easter egg hunts up and down the country. Another Easter tradition is eating lamb for the main meal. My Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder is such an easy and delicious meal it should be eaten all year round!

FF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

And by that I really mean whenever good, British lamb is in season. Graig Farm is where I buy our lamb from and I can honestly say it really is the best lamb I have ever eaten. Either as Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb or this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder.

So this recipe is ideal for putting in the oven first thing to slowly roast while  you go to church, or take part in an egg hunt. And minimal preparation ensures the delicious aroma of roast lamb as soon as you walk through the front door.

FF Roast Lamb Dinner
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

Cooking For A Crowd

While a whole shoulder of lamb will feed six people generously, if you are cooking for more people, do as I did. And roasting  two shoulders guarantees plenty of meat for dinner and leftovers. Since I was cooking one Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder it would take no more effort or energy to cook two and I wanted plenty of leftovers for another recipe I had in mind.

So, whenever you are feeding a crowd, this is the perfect roast for feasting on. And after slow roasting for 5 hours, you have beautiful, melt in the mouth meat. In fact I pulled our lamb apart using two forks, much like you would for pulled pork. Since the lamb comes clean away from the bone and is so moist. Serve with golden, crunchy roast potatoes or this Leek Colcannon.

GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder so tender it can be pulled apart using forks.

Recipe: One Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder will serve 6 adults

  • Each shoulder of lamb weighs  2.2kg from Graig Farm 
  • One onion, peeled and halved per shoulder.
  • Sprigs of rosemary.
  • Sea salt (I use Maldon)and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Optional –  peeled garlic cloves.

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F

Preparing The Lamb For Roasting

  • First of all, place the shoulder of lamb into a roasting tin that just fits.
  • Using a sharp knife make slashes through the skin into the shoulder of lamb.
  • Push small sprigs of rosemary (and garlic, if liked) into the holes.
  • Sprinkle over with sea salt and pepper.
  • Place the onion halves under the lamb.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Two whole lamb shoulders fitted perfectly in my roasting tin.
  • Finally, cover the roasting tin tightly with aluminium foil. Make a folded pleat down the length of the foil and then crimp tightly to the tin. The pleat allows you to pull the foil away from the lamb, so that they don’t touch, it also gives room for steam to circulate as the lamb is slow cooking.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
The pleat in the foil allows for expansion.

Slow Roasting The Lamb Shoulder

  • Place the lamb into the centre of the preheated oven and cook for 5 hours.
  • NOTE: All ovens vary, the cooking time is a guide only,
  • The meat does not need to be basted. Because the natural fat and juices within the lamb baste it as it slow cooks.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed, remove the lamb from the oven.
  • Remove the foil and check the lamb is cooked by pulling at some of the meat with a fork. If it comes away easily the lamb is cooked.
  • If the lamb is not fork tender, cover again with foil and place back into the oven, checking half hourly until cooked.
  • Once cooked, if you like crispy lamb skin increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6 and place the lamb back into the oven, leaving the foil off. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until you have golden, crispy skin.
FF Roasted Lamb
Two Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulders
  • As soon as it is cooked remove the lamb from the oven.
  • Take the lamb out of the pan and place on a board, or platter, cover in foil to rest for 30-40 minutes. Enough time to finish the roast potatoes in the oven!
  • To serve, pull the lamb apart into chunks, using 2 forks.
  • Because this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder tastes so mouth-wateringly good, you’ll be back for seconds – so maybe roasting two shoulders of lamb wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all 😉.

Whatever you do this Easter, I’d encourage you to take a moment to think about why we celebrate it – see Important Stuff.

If you have enjoyed this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder you may also like these recipes:

Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

Slow Roasted Cider Pork

FF Slow Roasted Cider Pork
Slow Roasted Cider Pork

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken 

FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken

Because I find cooking a roast dinner fairly easy, I often make it when we have friends for dinner. While a few extra roast potatoes make any meal go further, it is ideal for last minute guest invites. Yet I know that some people really struggle with the timing.

Do you have a favourite roast? Or do you struggle to cook a certain roast and you’d like help with it?

Sammie xx

Graig Farm provided the lamb for this post. All opinions, views, recipe and content are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

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Easter is nearly here and with it the traditional Hot Cross Bunswhich I absolutely love. However, after seeing Waitrose selling a variety of different flavours, I decided to take on the Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns.

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

I wanted to use the basic egg and milk enriched dough from my traditional Hot Cross Buns and experiment will cherries and almond flavouring.

As much as I absolutely love all things almond, especially flaked almonds, I decided to keep them out of these Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross BunsI wasn’t sure how they would interact with the dough and I still wanted the buns to have a soft, pillowy, interior.

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Playing Around With Flavours

Leaving out the almonds was a great decision. These Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns are so light and very more-ish. Crunch would not have been a good thing!

Instead I used Sugar and Crumbs cherry bakewell icing sugar. Substituting it both for the honey in the dough mix and using it to glaze the buns, instead of apricot jam. This with the addition of some almond extract, gave the buns just the right hint of almond. The flavour is subtle and works so well with the fluffy, light bun.

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Now for the cherries. I used both glacé and dried cherries. They both add their own flavour and pretty colour to these Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns. The dried cherries also give a lovely chewiness, similar to that of raisins. While the glacé cherries add bursts of sweetness, similar to that of mixed peel (of which I am most definitely not a fan!).

Hot Cross Buns – Not Just For Easter

Over all these Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns have been a huge hit in our home. So much so, that I can see myself making them all year round, although I’ll probably leave off the cross!

They are an utterly delicious bun, not dissimilar in taste to old fashioned, bakery, iced buns. Perfect toasted with butter, or eaten, as I did, just like an iced bun, with a lovely cup of tea.

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Some Tips On How To Bake The Lightest Buns

If you haven’t made bread dough before, or used yeast in baking, please don’t be daunted by the prospect. Ensure the yeast you use is fresh. Yep, even fast action dried yeast, which is what we use in this recipe, loses its potency. So if you have yeast that’s been sitting in the cupboard for more than 6 months I really would recommend buying new.

I bake regularly enough to get through a tin of fast action dried yeast, every 2-3 weeks. It’s a regular on my grocery order. Don’t worry if all you can by is sachets, that’s fine as we weigh the yeast for this recipe.

Likewise with flour, you need good strong, white, bread flour. I buy mine from Shipton Mill via Amazon UK. It works out a lot cheaper than buying the best organic supermarket brand. That said, I’ve already mentioned that I bake a lot, so buy a good quality, organic if you can afford it, brand from the supermarket. All flour has a use by date, check yours.

The reason I have emphasised using fresh ingredients is, whilst this recipe is relatively easy, it can be heartbreaking to make a yeasted bun, only to find it doesn’t rise. So if you check everything before you start, you are much more likely to have a deliciously, positive outcome. Which is what we all want. Right?

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Recipe: Makes 12 Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

For the buns

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

140ml/ Scant 5fl oz Whole Milk – warmed slightly to body temperature

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – warmed slightly to body temperature

2 Large Free Range Eggs

1tbsp Cherry Bakewell Icing Sugar – or plain icing sugar

10g/1.5 Sachets Fast Acting Dried Yeast

10g Salt

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter – softened to room temperature

100g/4oz Dried Cherries

75g/3oz Glacé Cherries – chopped into quarters

1tsp Almond Extract

For the crosses

50g/2oz Strong White Bread Flour

1/2tsp Almond Extract

50ml/2fl oz Water

For the glaze

50g/2oz Cherry Bakewell Icing Sugar – or substitute plain icing sugar plus 1/4tsp almond extract.

Hot water approx 50mls/2fl oz

Method: This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer, if you wish to make by hand, I suggest you look to the original, traditional hot cross bun recipe in Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake’ ISBN 9781 4088 19494.

Making And Proving The Enriched Dough

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

  • Add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the icing sugar and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the dried cherries, glacé cherries and almond extract. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the dried cherries, glacé cherries and almond extract. Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the stand mixer dough has doubled in size, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

Shaping the Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns 

Grease a large baking tray with butter – see Hot Cross Buns for full step-by-step pictures.

  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • It will be quite sticky, so ensure you have floured your hands well.
  • Cut the dough in half and then cut each half into 6 even pieces.
  • Shape each piece into a ball and place on the baking tray – the dough was very sticky so some of my balls weren’t perfect!
W Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns ready for their second prove.

Proving The Buns For The Second Time

  • Cover the buns with a clean tea towel and place in a warm, draught free place.
  • Leave until doubled in size.
  • While the buns are proving, make the flour paste for the crosses.
  • Add the water and almond extract to the flour and mix until you have a smooth paste. Place in a small, disposable piping bag and secure the top with an elastic band.
W Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Doubled in size and almost round, these buns are ready for their crosses.
  • 10 minutes before the buns are ready for the oven, preheat it to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.

Piping Crosses Onto The Buns

  • Snip the end off of the piping bag, so there is a small hole.
  • Pipe down each line of buns and then again across each line of buns.
W Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Ready for the oven.

Baking And Glazing The Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

  • Place the buns into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. They are baked when they are golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckle.
  • Remove the Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns from the oven.
  • Take the buns off of the baking tray and place onto a cooling rack.
  • Make the glaze by adding the very hot water to sifted icing sugar and stirring until completely dissolved.
  • Brush the glaze over the buns whilst they are still hot.
  • Leave to cool until at least warm, before diving in and taking your first bite!
W Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns glazed and cooling on a rack.

These Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns may not have the traditional taste of the usual buns, but they are a complete and utterly delightful alternative!

For those people who are averse to raisins, sultanas or cinnamon, here is a bun they can thoroughly enjoy in the run up to Easter. In fact all year round.

Have you ever tried making hot cross buns?

Do you like the idea of the Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns as an alternative?

I hope you have fun whatever you bake this Easter and also take a moment to consider what Easter really means, see Important Stuff.

If you have enjoyed these Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns here are some more traditional recipes for you.

Hot Cross Buns

W Hot Cross Buns
Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

W Hot Cross Buns
100% Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

 

Whatever you make or bake over this Easter period, please pop a photo onto Twitter/Instagram? I love seeing your pictures and reading your comments.

Wishing you all a happy, safe Easter.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting

This recipe has been submitted to Baking Queen 74 for March’s Perfecting Patisserie.

March Perfecting Patisserie

 

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please seek my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies

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Since Easter is fast approaching I decided to take advantage of the range of chocolate eggs available and bake with some. These Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies are the perfect large cookie. Soft, chewy, buttery cookies with whole Smarties mini eggs baked into the batter.

FF Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies

I am thoroughly enjoying the lead up to Easter this year. Especially as last year I was unwell and in hospital over Easter, see Living With Seizures which really sucked. Although I still have seizures every day, at least I am at home, with my family.

Baking up a treat

Baking these Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies is a great way to share with our children, nephews, nieces, family and friends. I love seeing the excited look of anticipation. What has mummy baked today. Also, in spite of my health issues, it gives me real joy to see the pleasure a treat brings to someone else.

Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Watch out, these Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies are very tempting!

As well as these delicious cookies, Smarties mini eggs have also made there way into Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies so I am definitely feeling the mini egg love this Easter!

I absolutely love Cadburys mini eggs and may well have polished of a packet or three whilst in hospital last year! They will feature in a recipe I have planned, but the colours of the Smarties mini eggs really grabbed my attention. Especially as they keep their shape while baking, yet soften a little. Resulting in a combination that works beautifully in this cookie recipe.

Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies perfect for every Cookie Monster, including me!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I am a self confessed Cookie Monster. While I find no shame in admitting this, you should know this recipe makes 12 Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies. Absolutely perfect for cookie lovers like me!

Mindful of moderation

Due to their size these cookies are most definitely not a one bite and they’re gone. In fact I had one for my lunch today with a hot cup of tea and I have to say, I was one very happy bunny (see the Easter pun there 😉).

Obviously these are intended as a treat and that’s part of the reason I give so much of my baking away. It wouldn’t be very healthy if we ate all of every batch of say Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes that I bake.

So by sharing the love, I also share the calories, that are balanced out in our home with lots of fruit and vegetables.

Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies a delicious treat.

Recipe: Makes 12 Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies

225g/8oz Soft Light Brown Sugar

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter- at room temperature

2tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1 Large Free Range Egg – plus

1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Pinch of Salt – I use Maldon 

2 Packets Smarties Mini Eggs (2x100g) – alternatively Cadbury’s mini eggs also work well in this recipe

Method: Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3, 325F

Making the cookie dough

  • First of all, place the sugar and butter in a large bowl and whisk/beat for 5 minutes until pale and creamy – whisking for 5 minutes here and then after adding the eggs is very important to the finished texture of the cookie.
  • Add the vanilla extract and the eggs and continue whisking/beating for a further 5 minutes.
Smartie Monster Mini Egg Cookies
This is how light and fluffy the mixture should look now.
  • Sift in the flour, bicarb. and salt.
  • Add both packets of Smarties mini eggs
  • Fold all the ingredients together until you have uniform cookie dough.

Shaping the cookies

  • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop mounds of cookie dough onto baking parchment lined baking trays.
Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookie dough mounds.
  • I place 4 scoops per baking tray as these cookies do spread.
  • With clean damp hands, use your fingers to press down and flatten the mounds.
Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
These cookies are ready for the oven!

Baking The Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies

  • Place the cookies in the preheated oven and bake for exactly 15 minutes.
  • Once baked the cookies will be golden but still very soft. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the baking tray. The cookies harden on cooling.
  • When cold store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. There is no way that they ever last that long in our house!!
Smartie Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies
Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies

These Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies are utterly irresistible and so satisfying to eat, due to their size.

They are sure to be a hit with whoever you share them with.

If you have enjoyed making these Chocolate Monster Mini Egg Cookies here are some more cookie recipes:

Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

FF Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake
Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

Vanilla Mini Egg Nest Cupcakes

FF Vanilla Mini Egg Nest Cupcakes
Vanilla Mini Egg Nest Cupcakes

Chocolate Mini Egg Sponge Cake

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Sponge Cake
Chocolate Mini Egg Sponge Cake

Also if you make any of these, or my other recipes I’d love to know how you get on. Please leave a comment and/or post a photo on Twitter/Instagram? Because seeing your bakes really makes my day!

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens this Easter, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Also entered for the month of March Simply Eggcellent over at Belleau Kitchen

simply eggcellent linky

 

Supersized Easter cookies packed with Smarties chocolate mini eggs.

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Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

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Easter is nearly here and the shops are filling up with all sorts of chocolate goodies. Including chocolate bunnies, Easter chicks and eggs in every size, shape and colour. So, to have some Easter baking fun I made these Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies.

Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Using Smarties mini eggs with their bright colours meant they showed up so well on top of the brownies. Also Smartie mini eggs are hidden within each brownie, keeping their shape once baked.

Each of these Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies are deliciously fudgey as you bite into them, with extra crunch and chocolate when you find a hidden egg.

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Since our children were little we have made up an Easter egg hunt for them. Sometimes friends and cousins get involved too, now they are a bit older. Yet, what never ceases to amaze me is the sharing that happens after the egg hunt is finished.

Each child and sometimes adults, sit down with their spoils from the hunt and make sure everyone has the same number of eggs. Because I can never remember where they were hidden the numbers aren’t always even! So a good tip is to have a few eggs stashed in the cupboard, ready to even out the numbers so it’s fair.

And, if they do manage to find all of the eggs, you’ve got a secret stash of chocolate hidden away 😉.

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

What Easter Means To Me

While we celebrate Easter for it’s true Christian meaning, see Important StuffI’ve never found being a Christian to be boring.

We certainly have lots of fun in our home and making these Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies, really is good fun! I had specific instructions from one daughter to make them larger than the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites and I had the idea to bake them with whole, Smarties mini eggs, hidden inside.

Each Chocolate Mini Egg Brownie is drizzled in white chocolate before topping with more Smarties mini eggs. Easter is most definitely not the time in our house, for chocolate restriction!

In fact I’m not sure there ever is an appropriate time for that – but that’s a whole different subject!

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Recipe: Makes 16 Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

200g/7oz Plain Chocolate – minimum 70% Cocoa solids

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate – minimum 35% Cocoa solids

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter

4 Large Free Range Eggs

225g/8oz Dark Brown Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

4 Packets of Smarties Mini Eggs – 4 X 100g packets

75g/3oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

100g/4oz White Chocolate – optional

Method: Preheat oven to 170C/150 fan, gas mark 3 1/2, 325F

Making The Brownie Batter

  • Line a 22.5cm x 30cm (9″ x 12″) deep baking tin with aluminium foil
  • Break up the chocolate (or chop) into individual squares, dice the butter and place both into a heat proof bowl.Place the bowl over a simering pan of water (a double boiler) ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  • Stir continuously until both the chocolate and butter are two thirds melted.
  • Carefully remove the bowl from the pan and continue stirring until the contents are completely melted.
  • Set the chocolate aside to cool.
  • Into a separate bowl add the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract.
  • Whisk lightly to combine the ingredients.
  • When the chocolate has cooled to just warm pour it into the egg mixture slowly, whilst gently stirring.
  • Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl and add two packets of the Smartie Mini Eggs.
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Gently fold all the ingredients together.
  • Pour the brownie batter into the tin.
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Pour the brownie mixture into the lined tin.
  • Give the tin a couple of sharp taps against the worktop. This will help bring any trapped air bubbles to the surface.

Baking The Brownies

  • Place the tin into the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  • Halfway through the baking time carefully tap the tin against the oven shelf, this helps the brownies stay fudgey and not rise, like a cake.
  • The brownies are baked when the outside edge has set and the top has the familiar, sugar cracked look. There should still be a bit of wobble at the centre.
  • As soon as they are baked remove the tin from the oven and allow the brownies to cool in the tin.
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Look at the classic brownie top on the Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies?
  • Once cooled remove the brownies from the tin and peel away the sides of the foil.

Decorating The Easter Brownies

  • First of all break up the white chocolate and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl.
  • Zap in short 20 second bursts, stirring after each heating period.
  • When the chocolate has almost melted, remove and keep stirring until completely melted.
  • Using a teaspoon drizzle half of the chocolate over the brownie slab.
  • Next add as many Smartie mini eggs as you dare, the melted chocolate will help them stick.
  • Now drizzle the other half of the white chocolate over the eggs and the brownie.
  • Leave to set in a cool place.
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
  • As soon as the chocolate has set cut the large brownie into quarters. Then cut each quarter into quarters and you will have 16 delicious Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies!
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies cut into 16 squares.
  • Use a palette knife to remove each fudgey brownie from the foil.
  • Store any spare brownies in an airtight container for up to 5 days – there’s no way they last that long here!!
FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

I like to serve these Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies with a few extra eggs, so that everyone can have the same number of eggs on top of their brownie. While watching their surprise when hidden mini eggs within the brownie. 😉

Whatever your plans this Easter, I hope that you take a minute to remember the reason it is celebrated?

Jesus gave His life that we may all know Him, true forgiveness, unconditional love and peace. With Him life may not be perfect, but the journey is much easier.

If you’ve enjoyed these Easter Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies then you may like these recipes too:

Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

Chocolate Mini Egg Sponge Cake

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Sponge Cake

Caramac Drizzle Rolo Caramel Brownies 

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Caramac Drizzle Rolo Caramel Brownies

Whatever you make and bake, I would love to see your pictures. Please tag me in on Twitter/Instagram.

Sammie xx

Entered for March We Should Cocoa over at Tin and Thyme  and Lancashire Food

we should cocoa brownies

Easter sweet traybake filled and decorated with pretty little Easter eggs.

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Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

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Easter Sunday will soon be upon us and traditionally Lamb is the meat served for the big Sunday roast. And that is exactly what I am going to give you here today, albeit with a few tweaks to ensure you have the very best Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb Leg as your table centre piece.

GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
Perfect for your Easter Sunday table – Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

So to ensure a great roast I turned to my favourite Organic meat supplier Graig Farm Organics.

I have been buying meat from this Welsh organic farm for almost three years. Because the quality of the meat is consistenly excellent. Since Graig Farm is a place where animals are reared using traditional methods and looked after with care and respect.

Graig Farm meat is a reflection of the time and care that has been put into raising the animals. Also it is always utterly delicious, full of flavour and cooked properly, the best meat I have ever tasted!

FF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

Since a lovely friend had given me a jar of homemade Redcurrant Jelly I thought it would work perfectly as a glaze on this roast leg of lamb. And trust me if you enjoy a glazed Ham at Christmas, you will love this Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb!

British Bakeware have also recently added this Oval Roaster with lid to their fantastic range of British manufactured bakeware. So it seemed the perfect vessel for cooking the Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb in. As you will see, it was the perfect size.

GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
The Oval Roaster – perfect for this recipe.

British organic meat roasted in a British manufactured roaster!

Recipe: Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb serves 6 generously

2kg/4.5lb Leg of Lamb – trimmed and tied

1 Onion

Few Sprigs of Rosemary

3tbsp Redcurrant Jelly

Sea Salt – I use Maldon and freshly ground Black Pepper

Method: Preheat oven to 150C/130C fan, gas mark 1-2, 300F

Preparing the leg of lamb

  • First of all take the lamb out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking.
  • Remove all packaging and pat dry with kitchen towel
  • Place the lamb in in a roasting tin that is just big enough.
GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
This roasting tin is a perfect fit for the leg of lamb.
  • Make incisions through the skin of the lamb with a sharp knife.
  • Poke small sprigs of rosemary into these holes.
  • Sprinkle over sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 

GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
The Rosemary imparts such beautiful flavour to the lamb. 
  • Also, cut up one onion and place under the leg of lamb.
  • Put a lid on the roasting tin, or cover with foil, ensuring the foil doesn’t touch the lamb.

Roasting the lamb

  • Place in a preheated oven and cook for 4 1/2 hours.
GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
Baste the leg of lamb a couple of times during it’s cooking period.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed remove the roasting tin from the oven.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F.

Applying the Redcurrant Jelly glaze

  • Remove the lid/foil from the roasting pan and spoon the Redcurrant jelly all over the roast lamb.

  • Leave the lid/foil off and place the roasting tin back into the lowest part of the oven. Also this will free up the top of the oven for crunchy roast potatoes!
  • Roast the lamb for a further 20-30 minutes, until the glaze has become deliciously dark and sticky.
  • Once cooked remove the roasting tin from the oven.

Resting and serving the lamb

  • Remove the Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb from the tin, set on a platter, cover in foil and leave to rest for 30-40 minutes – plenty of time to finish cooking the crunchy roast potatoes and other vegetables.
  • Before serving remove any string.
  • Finally, I served our delicious lamb on a platter surrounded by delicious, golden roast potatoes, with a side dish of freshly steamed vegetables.

There is nothing that says celebration to me more than a beautiful roast, on a platter, in the centre of the table.

As Christians on Easter Sunday we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ, from the dead. He offers new life to all who seek Him see Important StuffThat, most certainly, is worthy of a celebration.

GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb the perfect roast to celebrate with.

Spring as a season heralds the beginning of new life.

Finally, Winter has passed and as blossom appears on the trees and birds build nests for their eggs, let’s take a moment to consider what a wonderful and beautiful world we live in.

Do you celebrate Easter?

If you have enjoyed this Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb, you may like to try these:

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder 

FF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken 

FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken

Slow Roasted Cider Pork 

FF Slow Roasted Cider Pork
Slow Roasted Cider Pork

So whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

All content, opinions and views are my own. I was not paid for this post. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

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Today is Monday and while the sun is shining, a cold wind is whipping through the air. And it is making me feel very cold! So I am making this Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake to cheer us all up on chilly days.

FF Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

I absolutely adore the combination of lemon and blueberries together, in fact my Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes are one of my favourite recipes.

Jam Packed With Fresh Fruit

Because this Bundt cake has blueberries whisked into the cake batter, the finished cake is deliciously moist.  Also I saved a few whole blueberries and added them to the batter. Resulting in little pods of blueberry jam throughout the baked cake.

FF Overhead shot of the cake.
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

What I hadn’t bargained for was, the extra moistness the broken blueberries would add to this cake. And plenty of fresh lemon zest added means this Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake delivers moist, flavourful, cake perfection, in every bite!

LemonBlueberry Bundt Cake NW
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake every bite is utterly delicious.

 

Since baking the beautiful Flower Vanilla Bundt Cake for little baby Florrie and her mum, I wanted to make another cake with a sunny, Spring theme. So I chose my Blossom Bundt by Nordic Ware and set about creating the recipe.

I always prefer to use lemon zest in a cake, as it imparts a wonderful, zingy, lemon flavour. And the lemon juice, from the zested lemons, has its own starring role. Added to icing sugar to form the glaze for this cake, it is the first taste to hit your tongue as you bite into this cake, jolting your tastebuds awake!

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake NW
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake after one slice you’ll be coming back for more!

The Brilliance Of Bundt Pans

Bundt tins are a great investment, especially if you aren’t very confident with your cake decorating skills. These beautifully shaped tins do all the work for you. This Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake would still have looked pretty and tasted delicious with a light dusting of icing sugar.

With a little care and proper preparation a Bundt tin will give you years of beautiful cakes, with no extra effort required by the baker. Although that doesn’t mean you can’t choose to decorate them. Since this is the first Bundt cake that I have fully glazed with a thicker icing and little sugar paste flowers. Alternatively my Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake is fully glazed, with a thinner, lighter icing and is also completely delicious.

While I knew I would need a thicker icing to cover the dark blueberries near the surface of the cake. Yet I hadn’t envisaged the thickness of the icing, along with it’s pretty yellow colour, actually looked just like custard as I was spooning it onto the cake!!

We all had a giggle at the similarity – that’s what baking and experimenting with decorating is all about for me. Fun!

Let’s get on with making this cake!

Recipe: Makes one Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake serves 10-12

250g/9oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

250g/9oz Caster Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

5 Large Free Range Eggs

2 Lemons – Zested and Juiced

300g/11oz Fresh Blueberries

250g/9oz Plain White Flour

2.5tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon 

Cake release spray – I use Wilton’s or extra butter & flour for preparing your Bundt tin

450g/1lb Icing sugar

Optional – Yellow Gel Food Colouring I use Wilton food colouring gel

Apperiels, white pre made sugar flowers – these are readily available in supermarkets and online.

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, 325F, gas mark 3

Making The Blueberry Lemon Cake Batter

  • First of all, into a large bowl add the sugar, butter and vanilla extract.
  • Whisk or beat until pale and fluffy – approx 5 minutes
  • Into a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt together (dry ingredients).
  • Add one third of the dry ingredients and two eggs to the creamed butter and sugar, whilst whisking/beating on a slow speed.
  • Repeat the last step.
  • Add two thirds of the blueberries to the batter, the zest of two lemons, one egg and the final third of the dry ingredients. Whisk/beat on a slow speed until just combined.
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake NW
The cake batter should be smooth with broken up blueberries throughout.
  • Prepare the Bundt tin by spraying well with Cake Release, or brush with melted butter, ensuring you completely cover all the groves in the pan – then add 2tbsp of plain white flour and rotate the tin ensuring the entire inside has a flour coating. Tip any excess flour out of the tin and dispose.
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake NW
My Blossom Bundt Tin prepared with cake release spray.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the Bundt tin, pressing down as you do so to ensure the batter fills all the little dips and grooves.
  • Only fill the Bundt tin 3/4 full. Any excess batter can be baked as cupcakes once the main cake is cooked.
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake NW
Press the remaining third of the blueberries into the top of the cake.

Baking The Bundt Cake

  • Place the Bundt tin into the middle of the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven.
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake NW
Allow the Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake to cool in it’s tin for 10 minutes.
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake NW
After 10 minutes turn the Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake out onto a cooling rack.

See how beautiful this cake is?

A light dusting of icing sugar and this Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake would be perfect to serve alongside a nice, hot cup of tea or coffee.

Decorating The Bundt Cake

  • Ensure the cake is completely cold before icing.
  • Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl.
  • Add the lemon juice and stir thoroughly to form a very thick paste – additional water can be added. The icing should hold a figure 8 for a few seconds.
  • Using a cocktail stick add a tiny amount of yellow gel icing, mix thoroughly, add more colouring until the desired colour is achieved. Mine really was the consistency and thickness of really good custard.
  • Place the Bundt cake on a rack over a tray – I used a roasting tin, as you will see.
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake NW
Yellow, lemon flavoured, thick icing.
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake NW
Carefully spoon the thick, lemon icing over the cake.
  • Starting at the top of the cake, spoon over the thick icing evenly.
  • Allow gravity to work and let the icing slowly drip down the cake.
  • Fill in gaps with more icing until the whole cake is completely covered.
  • I did spoon some of the icing, from the tray underneath, back over the cake to fill in gaps – just beware of cake crumbs!
  • As soon as the cake is completely covered and has settled – the icing is no longer moving – carefully place the cake onto a board/cake stand.
  • Add any further decorations whilst the icing is still slightly wet.
  • Set the cake aside to dry.
  • Take lots of photographs and give yourself a big pat on the back for creating such a beautiful Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake.

The Finshed Cake

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake NW
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake covered in a delicious lemon glaze.

This Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake is certain to cheer up anybody’s day and they get a vitamin C boost as well!

While it may sound silly, looking at this cake really makes me smile. Also, in some ways it is a reflection of my personality, sunny whatever the weather.

If you like this Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake you may also enjoy these:

Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

NW Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
The Crispearls give this moist Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake a crunchy topping.

Pomegranate Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cake

FF Pomegranate Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cake
Pomegranate Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cake

Maple Syrup Iced Coffee Bundt Cake

FF Maple Syrup Iced Coffee Bundt Cake
Maple Syrup Iced Coffee Bundt Cake

 

Since I have discovered Bundt pans I have added more and more to my collection. When I bake with them I know that the cake will turn out beautiful. And if I’m not able to decorate the cake I am assured that it will look finished. As a result I am a firm Nordicware Bundt Pan fan!

So whatever you are making, baking and creating, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy

Citrus and berry bake In a moulded tin, decorated with a pale yellow glaze and pretty white sugar flowers for Mother’s Day.

 

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Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

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Who really enjoys a toasted, buttery, Hot Cross Bun, in the run up to Easter? While my previous post shows you how to make the regular version I wanted to make a wholemeal version. Because some people, for various reasons, can only eat 100% wholemeal bread. Since they shouldn’t have to miss out on all the Easter food fun I developed this recipe for 100% Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns perfect just as they are!

Everyone can enjoy these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns, eaten just as they are or split and toasted with a light spread of butter. And the added beauty of these buns is the spicy, cinnamon aroma, filling the house as they bake and then again when they are toasted. Also these buns are packed full of fibre. So they are tasty and good for you!

FF Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

Also, while toasting a hot cross bun, there was a knock on the front door. Our postman had a parcel to deliver. And as I stood there signing for the parcel, he revealed that the smell of a toasted bun was his favourite smell in the world.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns a healthy breakfast or snack.

Making Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns is as straightforward as for the regular ones. While switching the flour from strong white bread flour, to 100% wholemeal flour, not bread flour, I also upped the yeast content and with a few more tweaks, these gorgeous buns were made.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun
The cross on this Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun is there as a reminder.

Why The Cross On Top Of The Bun?

The cross on the bun, is there to symbolise and remind us of The Cross on which Jesus died, only to surprise a lot of people, when He was fully alive two days later. So it is good, that the small symbol of a cross on a bun, reminds us that Jesus came for a reason. To love the unloved, to heal the sick, to befriend those that society cast out. And remember, out of two of His followers, one was a tax collector and the other a prostitute!

So amidst all the chocolate and bunnies, lovely though they are, take a moment to remember you are loved.

In the bible the book of John chapter 3 verse 16 says:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that who so ever believes in Him shall not be lost (perish), but have everlasting life.”

One small verse packs quite a powerful punch. You and I are the who so ever. Know that you are loved. And whatever your circumstances, you are loved more than you could ever imagine.

If you would like to know more, please read Important Stuff.

Now to show your body some love by making these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Recipe: Makes 12 Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

For the bun dough

500g/1lb 2oz Wholemeal Flour (not bread flour) – I use Duchy Organic from Waitrose

160ml/scant 6fl oz Whole Milk – slightly warmed (body temp)

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – slightly warmed (body temp)

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey – I use runny honey

14g/ 2 Sachets Fast Acting Dried Yeast – I use Allinsons

10g/ approx 1.5tsp Salt

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter at room temp. – plus extra for greasing the baking tray.

3tsp Cinnamon

150g/5oz Sultanas or Raisins

For the crosses:

50g/2oz Wholemeal flour

60ml/2.5fl oz Water

Apricot jam or honey to glaze approx 2tbsp

Method: This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer. Alternatively you can make these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns by hand.

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

Making The Wholemeal Bun Dough

  • First of all, add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

As soon as the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours. As soon as the dough has doubled in size it can be tipped out and shaped.

Shaping The Buns

  • Grease a large baking tray  (40cm x 28cm x 2.5 cm) with butter.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and weigh. Divide the weight by 12 and this will give you the weight of dough needed for each individual bun.
  • Alternatively, cut the dough in half and then cut each half into 6 even portions.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Lightly form the dough into a ball.
  • Cut the dough in half using a large knife or metal dough scraper.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

  • Roll each portion into a ball. Tucking the seam at the bottom.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Place each dough ball on the baking tray, spacing evenly apart.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and place in a draught free place until doubled in size – approx. 1 hour.
  • While the buns are proving make the paste for the crosses. Mix the flour and water together in a small bowl and then spoon into a small piping bag or plastic sandwich bag.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

  • As soon as the buns have doubled in size, snip the end off of the piping bag (corner of a sandwich bag) to leave a small hole.
  • 10 minutes before the buns are ready to bake preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan gas mark 7, 425F.
  • Pipe crosses on to the buns.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
 

Baking The Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

  • Place the buns into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • The Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns are baked when they are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Once baked remove the Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • As soon as the buns are baked remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Place the apricot jam into a heatproof bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt.
  • Brush the warm buns with apricot jam using a pastry brush.
  • Leave to cool completely.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns ready to be shared with loved ones!

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns packaged into a tin, ready to be given away.

Eat toasted with butter or just as they are.

Store in an airtight tin for up to 3 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to one month.

If you have the capacity, why not bake a double batch of these delicious Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns and give some away?

If you enjoyed this recipefor Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns you may also like these: then you may want to take a look at these:

Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns

FF Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns
Extra Fruity Hot Cross Buns

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

FF Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Easter is a time when our family comes together and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Saviour. And sitting together, around the table, giving thanks before a meal is important. Giving thanks for the food we share and the provisions we have however is not only for Easter. Rather, it is an important daily practise in our lives. So is sharing the love that Jesus shows us. Whether it be through words, or more practically. And that is why I am so passionate about sharing food outside of our normal circle on this blog.

So whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Hot Cross Buns

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It is that time of year when the spicy scent of Hot Cross Buns hits you as you enter the supermarket. Somehow though, I’m always a bit disappointed with the slightly squished, supermarket Hot Cross Buns. Yes they may be convenient, but, I’m here to persuade you to try the homemade version.

FF Hot Cross Buns

The Benefits Of Making Hot Cross Buns At Home

The beauty of making and baking your own Hot Cross Buns is that you can add exactly what you like to them. Oh and leave out all the additives that you don’t need.

Our eldest daughter and myself are both allergic to orange, in any form. It brings on really nasty migraines (see here if you’d like to know more). So although orange is a traditional addition to these buns, by making them at home I can leave it out.

Hot Cross Buns

Not Just For Easter?

Speaking of our daughter, for one entire year, when she was a toddler, a Hot Cross Bun would be what she ate for breakfast. In fact she suffered very badly with tonsillitis and had to undergo a tonsillectomy when she was two and a half. We already had another little ‘un and I’d just found out I was pregnant with our son. Times were busy!

Anyway, her operation was during her Hot Cross Bun phase. So I buttered one, wrapped it up and took it to the hospital. I honestly didn’t think she would eat anything after undergoing her procedure, but sure enough, chicken nuggets and chips for tea. Then, the very next morning she devoured her Hot Cross Bun!

She is 16 now and has just shared a bun with me. It got 10 out of 10 which, from a life-long lover of Hot Cross Buns, was all I needed to hear.

Sharing This Recipe

I really do enjoy making food that my family and friends love. It was one of the reasons that I started feastingisfun, so I could share my own recipes with others.

Traditional Easter bread bake, small rolls filled with plump vine fruits, spice and baked with a piped cross on top to represent how Jesus died.
Hot Cross Buns

Now I never actually believed anyone, other than family, would read this blog. But it seems you do and you enjoy it. Not only that but it has helped people, in a number of ways. Last Sunday I know of two people who specifically made recipes from this blog – and they turned out well. That puts a huge smile on my face.

Also others have been able to connect with me, as I understand, due to my own health issues (see Living With Seizures) and have found comfort in knowing they are not alone.

Sharing recipes, fun, love, encouragement and always a hug when ever needed.

The inspiration for this Hot Cross Bun recipe comes from both my daughter and the great baker Mr Paul Hollywood. I did actually start by looking at his recipe. However, me being me, I wanted to add some bits, change others, adapt the recipe for a bread maker/stand mixer. So in fact the recipe and method are mine, but thank you Paul for getting me off the starting blocks.

Recipe: Makes 12 Hot Cross Buns

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

140ml/scant 5fl oz Whole Milk – slightly warmed (body temp)

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – slightly warmed (body temp)

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey

10g/1.5 Sachet Fast Acting Dried Yeast – I use allinson dried fast action yeast in the green tin or sachets

10g/ approx 1tsp Salt

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

3tsp Cinnamon

150g/5oz Sultanas or Raisins

For the crosses:

50g/2oz Plain flour

50ml/2fl oz Water

Apricot jam or honey to glaze approx 2tbsp

Method: This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer, if you wish to make by hand, I suggest you look to the original recipe in Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake’ ISBN 9781 4088 19494.

Making The Spiced Fruit Dough

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

  • Add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the stand mixer dough has doubled in size, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

Shaping the Buns

Grease a large baking tray with butter.

  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Hot Cross Buns
Shape the dough into a ball and using a dough scraper or large knife, cut the dough in half.
  • Roll each half into an even log shape.
Hot Cross Buns
Cut each half into 6 equal pieces.
  • Using your hands form each portion into a ball with the seam underneath.
  • Place the dough balls onto the greased baking tray, evenly spaced apart.
Hot Cross Buns
Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – approx 1 hour.
  • While the buns are proving, mix 50g of white flour with 50ml of water.
  • Spoon into a small piping bag, or a small plastic sandwich bag.
Hot Cross Buns
When you are ready snip the end/corner off to give a small hole.
  • 10 minutes before the Hot Cross Buns are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.
  • As soon as the buns have doubled in sized snip the end of the piping bag and pipe crosses on them.
Hot Cross Buns
When the buns are double in size pipe the crosses on.

Baking The Hot Cross Buns

  • Place the buns in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes. They are baked when they are golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckle.
Hot Cross Buns
The smell that fills the air whilst these Hot Cross Buns are baking is wonderful.
  • Immediately transfer the Hot Cross Buns onto a cooling rack.
  • Heat the 2 tablespoon of apricot jam, in a microwave proof bowl, on medium stating, in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Brush the hot jam over the buns whilst they are still warm.
  • Leave to cool completely.
Hot Cross Buns

These are absolutely THE best Hot Cross Buns I have ever tasted, let alone smelt whilst they were cooking.

Although there are a few steps, most of the hard work is done for you by kitchen machinery. I for one, would not be able to bake the quantity of bread and other items, if it weren’t for a little help in the kitchen.

Hot Cross Buns

We ate one of these Hot Cross Buns split and buttered, not even toasted and they tasted AH-MAZE-ZING. Please try, just this once, to make your own Hot Cross Buns.I am available via the comments section of this site or alternatively over on Twitter @sammiefeasting. It is true, I have been known, whilst on holiday in Devon, with a really dodgy signal, to give advice to someone baking these Crusty Baguettes so please don’t worry, ask.

Who will you share your homemade Hot Cross Buns with

If you have enjoyed this recipe you may also like these:

Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

FF Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake
Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

FF Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns
Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns

Sammie xx

Traditional Easter bread rolls baked with vine fruits and piped crosses on top.

 

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