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Celebrate the Easter season with this twist on the time-honoured hot cross bun. Traditionalists may frown upon this week’s creation, however they say success is found when one fills a human need or want! As my children refuse to eat anything with a raisin or sultana in it (probably due to them being forced upon them for years as babies), I had to come up with a solution – a fruitless hot cross bun (well, I hid the dates by blending them). Now the whole family can enjoy these irresistible, spicy cinnamon treats. Your family will salivate on the aroma wafting through the house on Good Friday. Watch out, though, with these tasty numbers you will want to cook them all-year-round. Enjoy!

PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 20 MINS
MAKES: 8 BUNS

Ingredients

400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 x 7g sachet Edmonds instant dry yeast
40g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp ground star anise
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
250ml warm milk
80g dried dates
1 medium egg, beaten
50g butter, melted
100g white chocolate chip or buttons

Cross paste:

1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 tablespoons water

Glaze:

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 tablespoon water

  1. Put strong flour, yeast, caster sugar and salt in a bowl with spices and mix. Melt butter and pour into pan with milk and gently warm. Remove from heat and add dates. Blend until smooth.
  2. .Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in milk mix and crack in the egg. Mix with a spoon and finish with your hands. If dough is too dry add warm water, or add extra flour if too wet.
  3. Knead dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and springy. Transfer to a clean, lightly-greased bowl and cover loosely with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until it roughly doubles. This will take about an hour. Or pop in oven at 50 deg C, covered with damp cloth until it has risen. This is a lot faster than a warm room.
  4. Tip dough onto a lightly-floured surface and flatten. Scatter with chocolate buttons and knead a few more times. Flatten again and divide into eight even portions.
  5. Turn oven to 180 deg C fan bake or 200 deg C with no fan.
  6. Shape each portion into a smooth, squarish shape and place on a baking sheet in two rows of four, leaving room between each bun.
  7. Cover with tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove for further 20 mins, so they double in size and are just touching.
  8. Make cross paste by adding plain flour to water and mix until thick. Spoon into a piping bag (or small sandwich plastic bag with a tiny corner cut off) and pipe white lines on the buns to make crosses.
  9. Pop into oven and bake for 20 mins until light brown. While they are cooking, make the glaze. Combine honey, water and golden syrup in a pot and warm through. Once buns are out of the oven, brush with the gloss and serve immediately with butter.