Walking through the supermarket earlier smelt like I’d walked into a hot cross bun oven. It was inescapable. Out of interest I picked up a packet to look at the ingredients. I gave up after getting to number 20….I wasn’t surprised, of course. But, is it worth it!? The amount of carbs per bun is, on average about 36g. Which, for those who aren’t low carb, is a lot! There is no denying that it is a glorious smell. Let’s be honest, any baked buns smell amazing and that’s why I have spent many an hour trying to create the perfect low-carb hot cross bun for you all.
Easter has been obvious in the supermarkets since December. Crazy, right? It is impossible to avoid the bombardment of chocolate Easter eggs piled high in glossy colourful packaging. The first thing you see when you walk in and then at the end of every aisle, there to tempt. I have spent a long time looking for anything over 70% chocolate and unfortunately the choice is few and far between. So, this year I am making my own eggs for Florence, Clemmie and my husband.
As a T1 diabetic, Easter used to be really hard. I spent years and years trying to be just like everyone else with a working pancreas. Over indulging in Easter eggs, hot cross buns etc and just loading up on insulin “because it was Easter“. Looking back, I was silly. I had no self-control and I, like many others, just wanted to eat all the chocolate. But, it was naive of me. Because no matter how much I carb counted for what I was eating, it was wrong. I would have high sugars and be on a horrid rollercoaster ride.
Yes the sickly sweet chocolate or fruit filled hot cross bun would be amazing for the 10 seconds it took me to eat it BUT the reality wasn’t nice. High blood sugars make you feel like crap (couldn’t think of a better word). They instantly change my mood and make me feel angry, bloated, sick and tired. So is it all worth it “just because it’s Easter“. No! And I stick by that wholeheartedly. Because I have been there. There is no excuse for purposefully enduring a high blood sugar “just because” it’s Easter. Because it isn’t just the once, is it? There is then the Christmas excuse, birthday excuse, Halloween excuse, wedding excuse, christening excuse, family birthday excuse, just because excuse. Because all these aren’t just one day, they are multiple days, which if you are experiencing high blood sugars can and will damage your health. So, just be careful. Find alternative delicious options as there are so many out there! I am not saying to forbid yourself some chocolatey / bready enjoyment, but as a t1d of 17 years (edited- 2022) I KNOW how dangerous it is. Be mindful. Health is wealth and diabetes is bloody awful- and the long-term complications are worse than the reality of living with diabetes, so look after yourself! I realise, this will be an unpopular opinion- and I realise there are people who will manage his carbs / sugar and not have the rollercoaster BUT if that is you, then you are a minority. I promise. Don’t ever let one day / one moment be an excuse.
There are so many ways to continue enjoying Easter without inhaling all the creme eggs, mini eggs etc. These hot cross buns can be enjoyed by the whole family. They are adored by my children (photos below of Florence). Just be prepared for your house to smell like a hot cross bun factory. They really do smell just like the real thing and are the perfect low-carb alternative for those that want it.
These are obviously a low-carb alternative and are not “bread”. They don’t contain yeast or grains so they will not “double in size” or have the same stretch as dough would but having made 5 separate batches now and tried them on multiple people the all-round consensus has been that of total flavour filled joy and lots of “can I have another”.
What is the texture like:
Soft and doughy, like my bread rolls but with a hot cross bun flavour, slightly denser. They bake a little bigger (but don’t expect them to double in size or anything like that). They toast beautifully. Perfect hot or cold.
Just be really really careful if you do an icing cross, DON’T toast that part, or take off the icing before toasting as I managed to burn my poor finger pretty badly where some of the toasted icing (silly mistake) sizzled on to my finger on removing it from the toaster!
What do you add to yours?
I have photographed three options. They could of-course be enjoyed free of any additions (the recipe is written without the additions but mentions where you would add them in ) as they are spiced beautifully and the flavour is just like a hot cross bun.
Fresh blueberries: My favourite addition is fresh blueberries added, but these obviously do moisten the dough a little. They still toast up beautifully though.
Dark chocolate: Another great addition is dark chocolate buttons. You can buy very dark buttons from lots of different places (like Hotel Chocolat etc, they do a 70% and a 100% option which are great but jolly expensive, or you could get some dark choc of choice and cut it in to small shards). I recommend not having them on the outside as the chocolate will burn slightly if it is, best to keep them on the inside of the bun.
Hazelnuts or other nut: Nuts would make a lovely addition.
Dried Apricots: If you cannot avoid the dried fruit and aren’t very low-carb then apricots are a good substitute to raisins. I suggest weighing 5g apricot chunks per bun which will keep the carb count low (4.6g carbs per whole bun, including apricots) but still gives you that fruity fill. If you decide for go for more then be mindful and if you are diabetic, you will need to weigh them to make an accurate calculation if you carb count.
What do you serve them with?
Salted butter. I don’t add salt to my recipe, I have a toddler and so avoid too much salt and leave it up to the individual if they wish to add it. However, some salted butter is a divine addition and I thoroughly recommend it.
You could make them plain and then add some chocolate hazelnut spread. A great alternative chocolate gift to an Easter egg.
Otherwise, toasted, popped in a bowl with a good drizzle of double cream is a match made in heaven.
How many carbs are in them?
I make 6 buns out of the ingredients. They come to just under 2g per bun.
The whole recipe comes to 11g carbs. You will then need to work out what, if anything you are adding to them.
If blueberries then I would use 40g (7g per bun) (total of 3g carbs per bun)
If 85% chocolate then I would use 35g (6g chocolate per bun) ( total of 3g carbs per bun)
If apricots then 30g = 16.6 carbs – I would suggest 5g per bun, which is a sensible amount (a total of 4.6 carbs per bun)
How long do they keep for?
The will keep for 5 days in a tin, so long as no moisture gets in and they can be frozen.
What sweetener do you use?
I use powdered erythritol – the brand NkdLiving. I buy it in 1 kg bags from Amazon.
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 120ml luke warm water
- 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
- 50g (50ml) double cream (If you are dairy free then replace with something like coconut milk - the tinned version)
- 3 large eggs (2 for the recipe and 1 for glazing after)
- 110g ground linseed (you could sub for any other milled seed or the mixed milled seed packs you get in supermarkets, they would be fine too)
- 10g milled chia seed
- 50g coconut flour
- 20g sweetener (optional)
- 1 TBSP + 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp orange zest
- Pinch sea salt (optional)
- For the cross I used Sukrin icing sugar
- In to a mixing bowl, add apple cider vinegar, luke warm water and bicarbonate soda. It will fizz. This is fine, just whisk it up.
- Now add the double cream and TWO eggs. Beat in and whisk until fully combined. Add the orange zest and mix in. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl add the ground linseed, milled chia seed, coconut flour, optional sweetener, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and an optional pinch of sea salt and any extras (ie. blueberries / apricot pieces / nuts / chocolate etc)
- Use a wooden spatula to mix it all together. Make a well.
- Pour in the liquid and using the spatula combine it all together. It will go from a thin wet consistency to a thick batter. You want to really mould it together with the spatula and then leave it on the side for 20 minutes or so.
- (If for any reason it is still too wet to mould in to balls then add 10g more coconut flour until it forms a dough)
- Break the dough in to 6 and mould in to buns.
- Place on a grease proof baking sheet and very gently press each ball, so that it is stable.
- Place in the oven and bake at 180C / 350F for 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove from the oven (but keep the oven on)
- Whisk an egg in a bowl and using a paint brush paint on the egg over the top and sides. This will give them a beautiful golden gloss.
- Place back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.
- Take out of oven and place on a wire wrack to cool.
- I used Sukrin icing sugar to make the cross but there are many cross alternatives online.
Vegans. I have used eggs in this recipe and I don't have an alternative. BUT if you would like to try my other "bread roll" recipe then you can adapt that in to hot cross buns- just add all the extra spices , orange zest, sweetener as mentioned. (https://thelowcarbkitchen.co.uk/low-carb-bread-rolls/)
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ALL PICTURES ARE MY OWN AND ARE NOT TO BE COPIED AND REPLICATED WITHOUT MY SOLE PERMISSION.