My kids love the idea of hot cross buns – but not with raisins. I’ve been trying to think of a way to make them without raisins by replacing them with something else so I was really pleased to see that the Waitrose Kitchen Magazine featured a hot cross bun recipe, and even better, they suggested that you could put chocolate chunks in as well as the raisins. I just had to leave out the raisins of course but at least they were replaced by something small and tasty. The recipe comes from Edd Kimber’s Cookbook, ‘The Boy Who Bakes’ (Kyle Books) and you can see his blog at

I made the buns with the help of my 6 year old who enjoyed mixing in the spices, cracking the eggs, kneading the dough and watching it rise. We had a sunny day here (part of our drought – it was supposed to rain today!) so we covered the dough in cling-film, and put it beside the window to rise. The end result doesn’t look a lot like the buns you buy in the shops, but they’re tasty and it was fun making them. She also enjoyed painting the cooked buns with golden syrup. Of course, on tasting them, her suggestion was we should put more chocolate in next time. The recipe doesn’t specify the amount of chocolate if you’re using it instead of raisins – I think it should be about the same amount as the raisins. If adding as well as the raisins it could be halved. It would be good to have comments on this from you real bakery experts out there please!

I enjoyed watching her knead the dough – she hasn’t really done this recently (we used to make bread by hand but now use a bread maker) so it was surprising to see how professional she looked – maybe it’s a natural skill! I took lots of photos of this as it was a lovely process to watch.

You can get the recipe from the site: Hot Cross Buns

As the ingredients are all in metric I’ve roughly translated them into Imperial for any US readers. You may want to check the measurements I’ve given as I’m not a professional at this sort of thing!

1lb/450g strong white bread flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2oz/50g caster (fine) sugar

1/4 oz/7g sachet easy bake yeast

8 fluid oz/1 cup/250ml milk

1 1/2 oz/30g unsalted butter

1 orange zest

4oz/120g raisins

1 large egg

olive oil for greasing

2oz/50g plain flour

2 tbsp golden syrup