In some form or another, hot cross buns have been enjoyed during the Easter holiday for centuries. Perhaps as early as the 12th century, hot cross buns were said to be prepared on Good Friday to be enjoyed on Easter morning. Back then the buns were marked with a cross, typically as a knife imprint right in the dough.
From ingredients to the way the cross is done, things have changed quite a bit since the 12th century, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the joy that these buns bring to those who eat them.
Making hot cross buns gluten free means taking a centuries old tradition and applying the power of gluten free flours, starches and liquids to transform it. No tasteless, dry or crumbling buns here – you want just the right balance of ingredients to get tender buns that will impress a crowd.
Tips for making the best gluten free hot cross buns
Considering the tradition behind hot cross buns, creating this recipe meant adhering to long standing ‘bun’ expectations, but also having something so delicious that no one would even know it’s gluten free! I think we’ve nailed it with this one. In fact we definitely nailed it.
It’s my new Easter, go-to recipe and now it can be yours too.
But first, some tips and helpful hints…
The hot cross buns dough will resemble thick cake batter. It will be thinner than bread dough, but should be thick enough to hold it’s shape when portioned into the pan. For easy portioning, use a 1/3 cup measuring cup and a spatula to scrape the batter out.
For the best results, use a baking pan, not a glass dish.
Raisin and Cranberry Combination
While these hot cross buns are probably amazing even without raisins or cranberries. It’s these dried fruits that make them truly mouthwatering. Using both raisins and dried cranberries adds to the perfect balance of sweet and slightly tart. Could you use all raisins? Sure, but the real treat is in the combination.
The glaze is what makes a hot cross bun, a hot cross bun. But this glaze is what makes these buns perfect. It’s deliciously sweet and slightly thick. If it’s dripping off the sides of the buns, add a little more powdered sugar and mix it again. It should hold it’s cross shape and, after it sits for a few minutes, will be dry to the touch.
Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns
Yield: 12 buns
1 cup potato starch
1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup tapioca starch
½ cup brown rice flour
1 ¾ tsp. xanthan gum
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast (not active dry)
¼ brown sugar
3 Tbls. butter, softened
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup water, warmed to 110° F
½ cup raisins
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. – 1 Tbls. milk
1. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan by spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, add the potato starch, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and yeast. Combine with a whisk.
3. In the bowl of stand mixer, or a large bowl for a hand held mixer, add the brown sugar, eggs and softened butter. Mix on medium for 1 minute.
4. Add the vinegar and water and beat on high for 2 minutes.
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix on high for 2 more minutes.
6. Using a spatula, fold in the raisins and cranberries.
7. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, portion out 12 lumps of batter in the prepared pan.
8. Cover the pan with a piece of plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
9. Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are browned.
10. Remove from the oven and let the buns cool in the pan on a wire rack for a few minutes.
11. Combine glaze ingredients.
12. Scoop the glaze into a small plastic baggie. Cut off a very small corner of the baggie (a little larger than the thick part of a toothpick)
13. Pipe crosses on each bun.