It’s Easter time! For me that means chocolate and hot cross buns. Both in moderation of course. The contents of the chocolate are out of my control. Obviously I choose the best quality chocolate, but I haven’t quite got to the stage of making my own chocolate yet. However, the hot cross buns is something I can have some control over, as I can make them myself.
I have been in experimental baking mode recently and that has meant trying to find a way to make my favourite recipes, but without using butter or sugar (just natural sugar from fruit), and making sure that there is no sacrifice in taste. I really cracked it with this recipe. It took a little bit of effort to get the consistency right, as there was extra liquid being used, but it really worked.
I substituted all of the butter I would have used for a banana and as for the sugar, I made a date paste that worked perfectly. Using some whole wheat flour too makes it an even healthier choice. Just be careful of what you top it with, as it is not as healthy when it is smothered in chocolate spread Oh, also, you can’t even taste the banana and dates in this.
Now I have discovered this method of baking alternatives, I will be experimenting with making a lot more baked goods this way. It may take a while again to get the measurements right, but once I have worked it out, I shall be sharing with you all. Let me know what baked goods you would like a healthier alternative to.
I have tried to convert the measurements I use (grams and ml) into cups. I hope they are correct (that kind of measurement is new to me, as we don’t use it over here), but you might want to double check.
Ingredients – serves 12:
- 450g/3.75 cup flour (3/4 all purpose and 1/4 wholewheat)
- 14g easy blend yeast
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 12 pitted dates
- 250ml/1 cup of hot water
- 150ml/just under half cup hot milk
- 50ml/ 1/5 of a cup warm water
- 100g currants/sultanas
- 1 small banana (about 50g), mashed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4tbsp whole wheat flour
1) Put the flour, yeast, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon in a large bowl.
2) Put the dates in a small bowl and cover with the 250ml/1 cup of hot water. Leave for 20 minutes to soften.
3) Add the currants/sultanas to the flour mix.
4) Once the dates have soaked, pour out about half of the water and put the remaining water and dates into a blender.
5) Blend under you have a runny paste.
6) Combine the hot milk, 50ml/ 1/5 of a cup warm water and banana. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the liquid in. Add the beaten egg.
7) Stir mixture until a dough forms. Knead for around 5 minutes, shape into a ball and then transfer into an oiled bowl.
8) Cover with a damp tea towel and leave somewhere warm for around an hour, until it has doubled in size.
9) Knead about for a couple of seconds, just to knock some of the air out of it and then separate into 12 small balls. Put onto a baking tray lined with parchment/greaseproof paper and using a sharp knife, slice a cross over the top of each bun.
10) Leave in a warm place for around 30 minutes.
11) Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 Whilst you are waiting, take the 4 tbsp of flour and put into a bowl. Add a little bit of cold water, a little at a time, until you form a dough. This is really a judgement call. I would say I used around 5 tbsp. If it is too running, add more flour and if it is too floury, add more water. Once the dough it formed, roll it out thinly and then slice thin slices that will form the cross. Put the strips over the buns.
12) Put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes (they may need 5 minutes longer if they still feel soft and have not browned). Serve.
Instagram: search the username hungryhealthyhappy