I don’t love fruit peel in recipes, and my darling Ty eats everything except sultanas, so I use dried cranberries and chocolate in my version of hot cross buns. 

I’m a bit sentimental so I did some research around hot cross bun traditions. Buns baked on Good Friday will not spoil or mould during the year ahead. A piece of hot cross bun given to someone who is ill will help them recover, and if taken on a sea voyage, they are said to protect against a shipwreck. Sharing a hot cross bun with another is said to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, especially if you chant at the time: “Half for you, half for me, between us two shall goodwill be”. Because there is a cross on them, some say they should be kissed before being eaten. And if hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads baked turn out perfectly.

This recipe was adapted from Teresa Cutter (The Healthy Chef).

Makes 9 large buns 


  • 2 cups wholemeal flour (GF is also fine)
  • 2/3 cup of rolled oats (or quinoa flakes if you’re GF)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (or any Wintery spices like mixed spice or clove)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 1 cup of any milk (dairy or other all work just fine)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or macadamia nut oil
  • 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 80g dried cranberries*
  • 50g dark chocolate*, chopped into small chunks


  • 2 Tbsp plain flour (GF works fine)
  • 20mL milk or cold water


  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp water

*you can substitute cranberries / chocolate for nuts, sour cherries, sultanas, dates, figs, apricots, or any dried fruit


  1. Mix flour, oats/flakes, cinnamon, and sea salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the milk, vanilla and maple syrup to a microwave safe bowl / jug and heat 20 seconds or until just warm, then add the yeast and stir until yeast is dissolved.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry mixing bowl and add the beaten egg and oil.
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon for a good few minutes until all combined. It will be sticky so you need to get some elbow grease behind it (this is necessary to create elasticity and therefore allow the dough to rise in baking). If you have a mixer with a dough hook then I imagine 5 minutes using this would probably be ideal.
  5. Add in the cranberries & chocolate and stir to combine into a big rough ball shape. Use a spatula to scrap down the sides so all the mixture comes together in a dome shape.
  6. Cover bowl with cling wrap** and leave in a warm place to let the yeast do its thing for 2-3 hours until it has increased in size by half.
  7. Preheat oven to 160° C.
  8. Sprinkle the top with flour, then knock the dough down with little punch, then using floured hands and a spatula, divide the mixture into 9 buns (about 100g each), give each ball a little kneed and squeeze to help get any other air bubbles out, and place dough balls in a 3 x 3 square baking tin / casserole dish.
  9. Cover again with cling wrap and leave for another hour – they will rise again and start to join together a little.
  10. For the crosses, combine the flour and milk/water to make the paste for the crosses and pipe over buns to resemble crosses (I don’t have a piping bag but instead use a zip lock bag and snip the corner off ).
  11. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until golden brown, then remove from oven.
  12. Combine the maple syrup and water to make a glaze, brush tops
  13. Allow to cool for 5 mins, then break up buns, split in half and serve with good quality organic butter (or tahini for dairy free).

** Choose composable cling wrap from Great wrap.

These will store wrapped in foil in a tin for a week. Or wrap the loaf up into a nice white linen napkin, tie with kitchen string and give as an Easter gift.