We don't do Hot Cross Buns here. Between DD13's gluten sensitivity issues, and a generally ambivalent feeling as far as buns go, it's a non event.
We have muffins instead and these are the yummiest muffins ever.
Sticky Date Hot Cross Muffins
Makes 6 Texas sized or 12 normal sized
1 cup dates, chopped (I use kitchen scissors to snip them into pieces)
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup boiling water
1 3/4 cups self raising flour, sifted (GF is fine)
1 level teaspoon bicarb soda
2 teaspoons cocoa (well, ya gotta have some chocolate in there somewhere!)
For the piping for the crosses:
Ziplock bag, 2/3 cup flour, enough water to make a thick paste (a few spoonsful)
How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 180C and line the muffin holes with cupcake or muffin papers.
Put the dates, sugar and butter in a small saucepan. Sit this on a hotplate heated to HIGH.
Pour over the boiling water and stir until the butter melts. Add the flour and stir, then add the bicarb soda. It will froth and go milky looking. Stir well. Remove from the heat.
Add the cocoa and mix.
Spoon into the prepared muffin pans, and bake for about 15-25 minutes until they are springy in the centre when touched. Don't overcook them, or they'll be dry. Ovens vary enormously so check after 15 minutes, and every 5 minutes after that.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
While they're cooling, make a thick paste of flour and water. It needs to be a similar consistency to thick icing. You can, if you prefer, use actual icing, but the muffins won't store as well and the 'crosses' might rub off. Done this way, the crosses stay put.
Spoon this into your ziplock bag or piping bag. If using a ziplock bag, squeeze all of the paste down into one corner, and snip off the tiniest bit, to make a hole for the piping. If using a piping bag, use an appropriately sized plain nozzle.
Pipe crosses onto the muffins and allow them to dry.
They're now ready to eat or freeze.
Serve warmed in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, with ice cream, cream or custard. Add caramel sauce if you're game!
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons cream or butter
Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer slowly for two minutes. Taste and dilute with a little more cream or a dribble of milk, if required.
These are intensely sweet, and one is more than enough for me. Daughter and Husband however, can down 2 in a single sitting.
Very, very yummy, and a great Easter alternative :)