For a traditional Easter celebration, but the easy way, try this recipe for gluten free hot cross bun muffins. Perfectly moist and tender muffins with all the right spices and flavors!
Hot cross buns during Lent, and on Easter, just scream SPRING to me. And since super-pleasant seasons like spring and fall are so beloved, and so terribly short, it’s all about the anticipation. As far as I’m concerned, then, the sooner we start thinking about springtime holidays and foods, the better.
The method for making these gluten free hot cross bun muffins really, really matters—if you’re hoping for truly moist and tender muffins. I made them every which way, and only when I beat the wet ingredients (including the sugar, which is technically speaking a “wet” ingredient) separately from the dry ingredients, and then combined them gently did I get the result I was seeking.
These muffins are of course not exactly the same as the dense and chewy yeasted hot cross buns you remember (I’ve got a recipe for those too, and and even better one in GFOAS Bakes Bread), but they have all the right flavors and smells. If you’re hesitant to try your hand at gluten free yeast bread baking, or you’re just looking for a quick springtime? fix, these muffins are the recipe you didn’t even know you needed—until now.
Gluten Free Hot Cross Bun Muffins
For the muffins
2/3 cup (5 1/3 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature
3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch* (or try arrowroot)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1 teaspoon orange zest (from 1 small orange)
3 ounces currants (or you can use raisins, cut in half)
*If you are using a higher starch blend than Better Batter, like Cup4Cup, replace the cornstarch with an equal amount of additional flour blend.
Icing for the cross
3/4 cup (86 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons milk, plus more as necessary
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.
In a large measuring cup or medium-size bowl, place the buttermilk and eggs, and whisk until the eggs are well-beaten. Add the butter, vanilla and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Set the wet ingredients aside. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, cinnamon and allspice, and whisk to combine well. Add the lemon zest and orange zest, and whisk again to combine, breaking up any clumps in the zest. Add about 2 1/2 ounces of the currants, and whisk to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix gently until just combined. Fill the wells of the prepared muffin tin 3/4 of the way full and shake the pan back and forth until the batter is level in the wells. Scatter the remaining currants evenly over the tops of the batter in the wells and press down very gently on the batter to help the currents adhere.
Place the muffin tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the icing for the cross. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and then the milk. Mix well. The icing should be very thick. Place the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small open piping tip. Pipe the icing in a cross or X pattern on top of each cooled bun. Allow the icing to set before serving.
For real-deal yeasted gluten free hot cross buns, turn to page 147 of GFOAS Bakes Bread.