We all know about hot cross buns but now there’s a new hot cross in town! Have you ever heard of hot cross muffins? It’s a simple recipe to whip up and the easiest way to enjoy a traditional Easter treat without the fuss of yeast!
Easter and spring bring sunshine, happiness and new excitement for the days ahead. Easter is one of my favourite holidays to bake a big beautiful brunch for my family and friends. The breakfast table is full of bright colours and fresh new dishes inspired by spring’s arrival. And these hot cross muffins bring in the festive feeling but take less time than making actual fresh hot cross buns. There’s no waiting for the dough to proof or kneading. Perhaps you’re not familiar with working with yeast or simply you don’t have the time?! Then these muffins are perfect for you.
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar & icing sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Dried currants
- Lemon zest
- Orange zest
- cream cheese
- Baking powder & baking soda
- Ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg & ground cloves
What are Zante Currants?
Hot cross buns are traditionally made with currants, citrus zest and spices. So that’s exactly what I used to make these muffins. Currants are tiny dried grapes, also known as Zante Currants. They are dried longer than raisins which typically yields a sweeter, tangier flavour and adds texture to baking. I get mine from Bulk Barn Foods, where I can fill up a jar with as much or as little as I want.
How to incorporate Citrus Zest into Baking
The best way to infuse citrus into this recipe is by rubbing the peel into the sugar where it can absorb all of the flavours. Then the sugar will be flavoured with orange and lemon notes that will incorporate right into the batter. There is something so satisfying about zesting an orange and lemon. It’s my favourite step in making these hot cross muffins; rubbing the fresh citrus peel into the sugar. It doesn’t take long but I seem to get lost in it!
How To Make Hot Cross Muffins
Step One: In a bowl add sugar, lemon zest and orange zest. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar to release the juices.
Step Two: Make your batter. Add dry ingredients together in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Now, add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, add currants and gently mix the batter until just incorporated.
Step Three: Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full with the batter and bake muffins for approx. 18-20 minutes. While the muffins bake make your icing. In a bowl, add icing sugar, cream cheese and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add milk a little at a time, until icing reaches desired consistency.
Step Four: Let muffins cool on a cooling rack. Then pipe crosses over the top of each muffin.
Note: muffins will be a little darker in colour than images.Print
Hot Cross Muffins
These hot cross muffins are baked full of spice, citrus zest and sweet little currants. Then they are topped with a cream cheese icing cross! It’s a simple recipe and the easiest way to enjoy a traditional Easter treat without the fuss of yeast!
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 18 mins
- Total Time: 33 mins
- Yield: 9 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Cuisine: British/Canadian
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup milk, warmed
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup dried currants, from Bulk Barn Foods
- 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
- 2 Tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon milk
- Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a muffin tin with paper cups, set aside.
- In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Mix well to combine ingredients, set aside.
- In a medium size bowl add sugar, lemon zest and orange zest. Using the back of a spoon, rub the zest into the sugar to release the juices into the sugar, mix well.
- Add milk, melted butter and eggs to the sugar mixture. Whisk to combine ingredients until smooth and well incorporated.
- Now, add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, add currants. Gently mix the batter until just incorporated (be careful not to overmix, as this will make your muffins dense).
- Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full with the batter.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 18-20 minutes or just until the middle is set.
- Meanwhile make your icing. In a medium sized bowl, add icing sugar, cream cheese and butter. Using a handheld mixer beat until light and fluffy. Add milk a little at a time, until icing reaches desired consistency.
- Let muffins cool on a cooling rack. Once cool, pipe crosses over the top of each muffin (note: you will have extra icing).
Store muffins in an airtight container for 2-3 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Best enjoyed the day of.
Muffin recipe easily doubles but you don’t need to double the icing, you will have enough with a single recipe.
Freeze extra icing and use to top other baked goods.
- Serving Size: 1 muffin w/o icing
- Calories: 245
- Sugar: 19.7g
- Sodium: 240mg
- Fat: 10.7g
- Saturated Fat: 6.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 35g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 3.9g
- Cholesterol: 63mg
Keywords: Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Muffins, Muffins, Breakfast, Easter
Overmixing the batter will cause dense muffins as it over develops the gluten in the flour. Make sure you only mix the batter just until combined! Also make sure to properly level the flour or use a scale as too much flour can cause dense muffins.
Store muffins in a tin or an airtight container for 2-3 days at room temperature. Keep in mind muffins are best enjoyed the same day. Reheat muffins in a toaster oven with butter to freshen up! Muffins can also be frozen by placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 2 months.
If you want more icing than the cross on your muffins simply cut/dig a one inch hole in the centre of the muffin. Keep the muffin hole and set aside. Fill the hole with icing and place the muffin top over the icing, then pipe your cross over the entire top of the muffin.
This blog post has been sponsored by Bulk Barn Canada where you can find all your baking needs! All opinions are my own and I’m so happy to work with brands I love so I can continue to share these recipes with all of you! I hope you guys get to a Bulk Barn soon and try out these hot cross muffins for your Easter holiday!
You may also like: