Choc-Chip Hot Cross Buns

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The biggest problem with Easter is that while it’s lovely to see the kids having fun, and get lots of family time, all that sugar really adds up. When my daughter was younger, I’d see a noticeable difference in her behaviour before and after a big sugar intake. There was one memorable evening when we’d gone out and left her with a babysitter, who I’d warned not to give Jess sugar after about 4pm. When we got home at just before midnight, there was Jess, wide awake and grinning in the middle of the floor. Sure enough, our lovely babysitter had decided to treat her with a lolly at about 7pm. Let’s just say she didn’t do it again!

These Choc-Chip Hot Cross Buns look and taste very similar to the high-sugar ones, but they come without the blood sugar crash a couple of hours later!

Choc-Chip Hot Cross Buns

Did you know you can rise yeast without sugar? Which means you can make your favourite traditional recipes, only healthier, like these Choc-Chip Hot Cross Buns. Serve with a generous slather of butter.

Serves 15. Preparation time 1 hr 35 mins; cooking time 20 mins.


  • 1 tablespoon dried yeast
  • 4 3/4 cups spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat milk, lukewarm (not hot otherwise it will kill the yeast)
  • 3 teaspoons rice malt syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated stevia
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 60g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 50g dark chocolate (85-90% cocoa), chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons rice malt syrup
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water


Mix yeast, 1 tablespoon spelt flour, warm milk and 1 teaspoon of rice malt syrup in a mixing bowl. Cover and stand in a warm place for 15 minutes until mixture is frothy.

Meanwhile, sift 4 cups of the spelt flour, salt, stevia and spices into a large bowl and toss to combine. Add in the butter and rub with your fingers until combined.

Once the yeast mixture is frothy, add to the flour mix with the whisked egg. Stir to combine. Add in the chocolate pieces than fold through. Cover the bowl again and allow to stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200° and lightly grease an 18cm x 30cm lamington tin.

Punch dough down, turn onto a floured surface, and knead well unti dough is smooth and elastic. Cut into three equal pieces then cut each piece into five. Knead each into round shape.

Place buns in the prepared tin in rows. Don’t worry if they don’t touch, they will expand in the oven. Cover and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes in a warm place or until the buns have expanded.

Meanwhile, to make the crosses, sift remaining 1/2 cup of the spelt flour into a bowl and add 1/4 cup of water, to form a paste, You may need to add a touch more water to make the mixture a thick, but still fluid, consistency. Place in a small ziplock bag and then cut a hole across the corner. Use this to pipe crosses onto the top of each bun.

Place buns in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the rice malt syrup with boiling water. Once hot cross buns have cooked, remove from the oven and immediately brush with glaze. Serve buns warm with a generous slather of butter.


Recipe extracted with permission from The Ultimate Chocolate Cookbook by Sarah Wilson, Macmillan, RRP $29.9



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