Hot cross buns are my weakness and each year I make it my mission to hunt out the best ones. I thought it would be mean not to share. I’m not gonna lie, hot cross buns are generally around 30% sugar. So enjoy this festive treat, and then return to your holy ways.
If you take a look at the ingredients list on the supermarket brands, it is generally a long and scary list. Hot cross buns and fruit breads more generally are tricky beasts, because dried fruit will suck the moisture out of the loaf leaving them dry very quickly – hence short shelf life unless they are pumped with nasties.
Buy these gems fresh and eat them quick, pop them in lunchboxes, or toast them and spread with lashings of organic butter <insert drool face>.
Baker D Chirico $3.50-4 each
These are a beautiful dense bun full of fruit. I’m not sure if it’s the heavy use of spices, or a wholemeal flour (I’m betting both), but the buns are a lovely dark colour and include the tiniest most delicate amount of orange peel. They may be pricey, but the quality of ingredients is evident and they will definitely satisfy. Buns don’t get any better than this.
Find Baker D Chirico stores in South Yarra, Fitzroy and St Kilda, or through stockists such as Toscano’s.
Woodfrog $3.50 each
“Poolish” perfection, with big juicy sultanas and just the right balance of spice. Poolish is a yeasted preferment used in the 18 hour process to make these gorgeous buns. Delicious fresh on the day, with a slightly hardened, sticky top, and even more divine toasted. Woodfrog buns contain orange zest and juice, but not peel. Only downside is vegetable oil in the ingredients list. Shop early in the day or pre-order, these babies sell out QUICK.
Firebrand $12 for 6
I love this little bakery in Ripponlea. The kind of place that seems to open when it suits them and doesn’t need to advertise, because the locals just know they’re good. Firebrand is definitely embracing the ‘slow living’ movement, and snaps to them. Here you’ll find beautiful sourdough rustic-looking hot cross buns with big juicy pieces of fruit. I like that the bun is not particularly sweet, letting the fruit do the work. You should totally pick up some plum cake and pizza scrolls while you’re there.
69 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea
Dench $18 for 6
The Dench buns are heavy on the orange peel and lighter on the fruit, making for a delicious, zesty bun that is not too sweet. Dench also make choc chip buns, sacrilege in my book, but Mister Six is loving them and I’m sure any weird people in your family who don’t like raisins will too. I also love that the Dench buns are made with butter, meaning no nasty vegetable oils.
Baker Bleu $2.50 each
I was keen to try the Baker Bleu hot cross buns after falling in love with their sourdough challah this year. Only open Thursday – Sunday, you’ll usually see people spilling out their tiny shop front in Elsternwick, clutching their sourdough goodies with what looks a lot like victory. Baker Bleu have two varieties of hot cross buns – sour cherry + dark chocolate; and pecan + raisin. The pecan + raisin have very large juicy raisins, balanced well with the pecans, which make them quite filling. The smell of the sour cherry + dark chocolate is intense and the flavour certainly delivers. These are not kids’ hot cross buns – the chocolate is rich, dark and serious – perfectly paired with the hit of sour cherry. I like their take on the ‘cross’, cutting the shape into the bun, instead of using what is usually a ghastly white paste best picked off.
260 Glen Eira Rd, Elsternwick
Zeppelin Bakehouse 6 for $15
If you’re over in Bayside, pop down to Zeppelin in Bay Street and try their ingenious Nutella hot cross buns. While I am a traditionalist, this is innovation at its chocolate-hazelnutty best. It’s definitely worth grabbing a coffee while you’re there too.
Bake your own from Well Nourished
If you would like to make your own, I’ve road-tested the Well Nourished recipe, which is refined sugar free and uses spelt flour. We used apple to make the cross, which was so much tastier than the Clag crosses. These are best eaten straight out of the oven whilst warm.
More Healthy Easter Treats
Another healthy Easter treat to try are the Bunny Bars available in the Well Nourished lunchbox ebook, which you can purchase through my affiliate link here:
Happy Easter all! x
Feature image credit: Woodfrog hot cross buns www.woodfrogbakery.com.au
KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST
Sign up to receive the latest news from Packed, as well as nutrition tips & ideas for families