Wholemeal Apple Hot Cross Buns


Healthy, low fat, nutritious, Easter, currantsI’m feeling a bit tired and dizzy today as I was up until 1am last night! No I wasn’t out clubbing but was perfecting my recipe for Wholemeal Apple Hot Cross Buns. I’m not much of a one for planning, indeed I’d intended to make a Hot Cross Bread & Butter Pudding this week but suddenly I found myself deciding to actually make Hot Cross Buns which I had only ever made once at school. I didn’t really have much of a relationship with bread making in my youth and it’s only in the last couple of years that it’s become a passion of mine. Therefore I felt it was high time that I made my own Hot Cross Buns! I’d seen a block of marzipan in the cupboard and I knew I had currants so armed with my old school recipe I started my bake.

Healthy, low fat, nutritious, Easter, currants

Well the first hurdle was that I only had strong wholemeal flour and not white so my marzipan idea went out of the window. “I know” I thought, I’m sure I’ve seen Wholemeal Apple Hot Cross Buns for sale I’ll make those! A quick google told me that in a taste test some Apple & Cinnamon ones had only scored 4.5 out of 10 so I decided to stick with the traditional mixed spice. I played about with the recipe I had chopping and changing things here and there but stuck to the one rising, which is where I tripped up. After baking, out came some small, slightly over cooked but delicious hot cross buns which they were too close in texture and not like the light fluffy ones you buy in a baker’s or supermarket.

Healthy, low fat, nutritious, Easter, currants

This was shot from my original batch – hence the daylight!

Sometimes I might just give up on a recipe but I could see that there was huge potential here. I just needed to tweak a few things like adding a bit more yeast, giving the dough an extra rise, increasing the proving time and lowering the oven temperature. So at 12.45pm last night (or should I say this morning) I was giving my husband a portion of buttered Hot Cross Bun and asking his opinion. He did protest that he didn’t want to eat just before going to sleep but I was insistent – “perfect” he said, after finally relenting to my request. “Great, I’ve cracked it” I said and went to bed tired but happy!

Healthy, low fat, nutritious, Easter, currants

So the moral of the story is, Hot Cross Buns don’t like to be rushed. I hope you give these Wholemeal Apple Hot Cross Buns a go this Easter as they are totally delicious and far healthier than their white cousins

Happy Easter to you all!

As my Wholemeal Apple Hot Cross Buns are such good value compared to shop bought ones I’m entering them into Credit Crunch Munch which I am hosting this month and which I jointly run with Helen of Fuss Free Flavours. I’m also entering Simply Food’s Sweet Treats for Easter challenge. Then there’s Jibber Jabber’s Love Cake event where the theme is Springing into Easter, I may be bending the rules here a bit regarding cake!. Spring into Easter is also the theme for Treat Petite this month hosted by Cakey Boi and alternately with The Baking Explorer. Finally I’m entering the Made with Love Mondays which is hosted by Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w’luv as these buns are totally made from scratch.

Easter challenge

4.7 from 11 reviews
Wholemeal Apple Hot Cross Buns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A Wholemeal Apple Hot Cross Bun without mixed peel but with apple, currants and mixed spice for a really delicioius alternative to a traditional version!
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: British
Serves: 12
  • 75mls Milk (hand hot)
  • 75mls Water (hand hot)
  • 1 tsp Caster sugar
  • 12g Active yeast (dried, not fast action)
  • 325g Strong wholemeal flour
  • 50g Butter
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 25g Caster sugar (I keep a vanilla pod in mine or you could substitute a tsp for vanilla sugar)
  • 50g Currants
  • 1 Apple, chopped into small pieces (I used small Braeburn)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • Crosses:
  • 50g Plain flour
  • 5 tbsp water approx.
  • Sugar Glace:
  • 2 tbsp Granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp Water
  1. Mix the warm milk and water with the tsp of sugar and sprinkle on the yeast, set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (a nice froth should build up).
  2. Put the flour in a large bowl and cut the butter into it and then rub into the flour to form fine crumbs.
  3. Mix in the mixed spice, salt, caster sugar, currants and apple thoroughly.
  4. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture and beaten egg and form a dough – I used my hand for this as you can gauge the consistency better – adding extra flour or milk if needed.
  5. Once you have cleaned the sides of your bowl with the dough, tip out onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes.
  6. Then put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 – 1 ½ hours until doubled in size.
  7. Once risen turn out onto a lightly oiled work surface and knock back all the air and knead until back to its original size.
  8. Make 12 balls of dough (I weigh the dough and divide the figure by 12 so mine weighed 65g each). I also knead each ball into a neat bun shape.
  9. Place the dough balls onto a lightly greased baking tray 3cm apart, cover in lightly oiled cling film and put to rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  10. Meanwhile make up the cross mixture by mixing the flour and water together to make a smooth paste.
  11. Place paste in a piping bag with a small plain nozzle or make your own out of baking paper and snip off the corner when ready to use.
  12. Make the glaze by heating the sugar and water in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved.
  13. Pre-heat the oven to 200⁰C.
  14. When the buns have risen mark each one with a cross using the side of a metal scewer (so that you have a line to fill with the cross mixture).
  15. Pipe the flour paste crosses onto the buns working all the way in one direction across the buns and then in the other.
  16. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes (turning towards the end if necessary for an even bake).
  17. Once ready take out of the oven and using a pastry brush paint the glaze over each bun.
  18. Place the buns on a wire rack and either serve warm or cold with butter.

Healthy, low fat, nutritious, Easter, currants

Not the prettiest shot but I just wanted to show the light fluffy inside:-)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.fabfood4all.co.uk/wholemeal-apple-hot-cross-buns/


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  1. Lisa Williams

    ahhh yes hot cross buns that Christmas tradition …. or at least that is what I am telling everyone so that I can make these now 🙂

    1. Camilla

      Noo – wait until Easter or just leave the crosses off:-)

  2. Maya Russell

    These are delicious freshly made and still warm, with butter.

    1. Camilla

      Too true:-)

  3. David Clarke

    Look so tasty, never thought about wholemeal with apple especially hot cross buns

    1. Camilla

      Thanks David, they are lush:-)

  4. Jane Davies

    These look lovely, being Welsh I’m sure these will go down a treat at ours ! 😀

    1. Camilla

      Thank you Jane – they are a bit special:-)

  5. William Gould

    Great idea! My wife doesn’t like the “mixed peel” bits in some recipes, probably why she won’t eat Hot Cross Buns, substituting apple should do the trick!

    1. Camilla

      That’s just like my husband LOL!

  6. Paul Wilson

    Look really tasty.

  7. Jo Hutchinson

    hot crossed buns with a twist.

  8. Ursula Hunt

    Might be nearly christmas but I still make and enjoy these

  9. Anne Dalzell

    I’m sitting here, a little bit hungry and dreaming of a tasty snack. can you send some of these to Belfast please Camilla? x

    1. Camilla

      I’m glad you like them I was up til 1am in the morning perfecting this recipe:-)

  10. tracy nixon

    Great for Halloween as the crosses could represent a cross to kill Dracula!!!!

  11. Kat Tew

    Wish it was Easter so I had a good excuse to bake these 🙂

  12. Heather Haigh

    Extra healthy, extra tasty hot cross buns – I love it!

  13. Felicity Kelly

    These look very tempting, thankyou

  14. Paul Wilson

    I like the idea of wholemeal and apple.

    1. Camilla

      Thanks, they do make a nice change:-)

  15. Bev

    Sounds like a lovely variation.

  16. June Etherington

    These are absoluely delicious & I don’t like hot cross buns but I do these ones

    1. Camilla

      Thank you, they were good:-)

  17. Ursula Hunt

    Easter may have passed but I will not be stopping making my hot cross buns

    1. Camilla

      Exactly, if you like something make it. You could even leave the cross off as it’s no longer Easter;-)

  18. Ursula Hunt

    The apple is a delicious addition

    1. Camilla

      It most certainly is:-)

  19. helen atkins

    I love hot cross buns, will be giving these ago

  20. donnakent

    These are far beyond my skill level but they sound delicious.

    1. Camilla

      Aah thank you, if you follow the instructions to the tee you can’t go wrong:-) The trick is not to kill the yeast with too hot water at the beginning and then the rest is mainly a waiting game!

  21. Laura Caraher

    These look delicious I’m going to try baking a batch myself tomorrow 🙂

    1. Camilla

      Thank you, do let me know how you get on:-)

  22. Kirsty Mills

    They sound delicious!

    1. Camilla

      Thank you, they are well worth the effort:-)

  23. igu04366

    These look great. Might try and make some tomorrow.

    1. Camilla

      Thank you, hope you do manage to:-)

  24. natz101

    Oooh, these look lovely!! I do like to make things that are slightly different from the norm!! 🙂

    1. Camilla

      Thank you:-)

  25. Sarah N

    These look wonderful. I’d like to try making them myself.

    1. Camilla

      Thank you, I hope you do:-)

  26. Ursula Hunt

    I love hot cross buns especially warm with lots of butter

  27. Paul Wilson

    They look delicious.

    1. Camilla

      Thank you:-)

  28. Lorna MacFadyen

    I’ve never tried to make hot cross buns before, these look lovely! And like the sound of the apple. Think I might attempt to make these on Sunday! xx

    1. Camilla

      Brilliant, do let me know how you get on:-)

  29. Suzanne Jackson

    These sound amazing! I’ve never even considered making my own hot cross buns, I’m usually lazy and buy them!

    1. Camilla

      Thanks. If you’re entertaining at Easter it’s nice to say “I made these” and they taste so good hot out of the oven:-)

  30. Rachel O'neill

    wow they sound great, hope you win them all!

    1. Camilla

      Thank you:-)

  31. Maya Russell

    I always try and get wholemeal hot cross buns – so much better for your stomach. Now I have the opportunity to make some too. I have printed off the recipe and am going to double up.

    1. Camilla

      Exactly! My kids will only eat wholemeal bread so I’m pleased I made these as I think wholemeal is far tastier anyway:-) So pleased you’re going to make them, do let me know how you got on:-)

  32. Herbert Appleby

    these look very appetising and healthy!!

    1. Camilla

      Thank you, they were very tasty:-)

  33. Deena Kakakya

    Now here’s a good idea, they look indulgent, I bet they taste glorious too and they aren’t so naughty. I’m all fir that xx

    1. Camilla

      Thanks Deena, I may have OD’d on them LOL:-)

  34. Carolyn Clapham

    Mmm – I’m hungry now. Those sound delicious!

    1. Camilla

      Thank you – they are:-)

  35. Janice

    They look fantastic Camilla. Well done for persevering.

    1. Camilla

      Thank you Janice, I was like a woman possessed last night LOL! I wouldn’t let it lie – so happy with the result:-)

  36. Javelin Warrior

    My mom makes these buns every year at Easter and I can never get enough 😉 It’s definitely hard to stop at just one. Of course, my mom also adds a couple stripes of frosting for the cross – which might have something to do with my enjoyment 🙂 Very tasty and beautiful buns, Camilla!

    1. Camilla

      Thank you! Mmm, not come across frosting but that sounds like a delicious idea Mark, bet your mom’s buns are ace:-)


    theses look so good, easy to make so i cant wait to try making them

    1. Camilla

      Oh do let me know if you do:-)

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