Healthy (ok, healthier) muffins made with oats, yogurt and the flavors of traditional hot cross buns.
It’s Easter. Which means chocolate, and…
Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!
You know what? Like so many nursery rhymes, that one is deceptive at best. Who’s ever bought a hot cross bun (let alone two) for a penny!?
Then again, as that nursery rhyme apparently dates back to the 18th century, I should cut it some slack. Hot cross buns probably did cost a penny back in the 1700s.
Ok, nursery rhymes, you win. For now.
Today I finally have an Easter-related recipe!
The plan was to have several Easter breakfasts on the blog before Good Friday, but that plan was lost among a sea of law school assignments and crepes.
Also, Easter arrived way too early this year. So early that I’ve neglected to buy chocolate for anyone I know. My (new) plan is give everyone I.O.Us, and then give them chocolate once their stash runs out.
Alternatively, can’t Easter just pack its bags and come back in two weeks?
So, about this recipe. Hot cross buns are a classic British Easter favorite, but let’s face it, can be a total pain to make.
Using yeast and waiting for dough to rise may not involve much effort – but the very thought of kneading and waiting, waiting, waiting, isn’t very appealing. Especially when (a) it’s almost Easter; and (b) my stomach’s grumbling!
However, I do love the warming flavors of hot cross buns. And I love muffins. Ergo, hot cross bun muffins.
These muffins have a slight nutty flavor, due to the mixture of all-purpose, whole wheat and oat flours. And while they’re healthier than your average muffin, they’re still moist and aren’t heavy.
Due to the magic of applesauce and yogurt, these muffins only have one (one!) tablespoon of oil. I used canola oil since it’s cheap, flavorless, and gets the job done. You could probably use melted coconut oil, but I haven’t tested this recipe with anything other than canola oil. So far I’ve let the coconut oil bandwagon roll on by.
Technically, you could leave off the icing, which is just sugar and lemon juice. But what kind of hot cross bun muffin wouldn’t have a cross? (Maybe one that only costs a penny?)
Regardless of whether you celebrate Easter as a religious event, as a day to worship chocolate, or not at all, I hope everyone has a great weekend. Hopefully it’ll be a weekend full of chocolate.
And if all your friends and family are like me, and neglected to buy gifts due to extreme disorganization, then there’s only one thing to do: Turn that frown upside down and bake some muffins.
- For the muffins
- ½ cup (55g) rolled oats
- ½ cup (65g) all purpose flour
- ½ cup (75g) whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup (130g) applesauce
- ½ cup (120g) Greek-style yogurt
- ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) honey
- 1 tablespoon (15mL) canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (45g) raisins
- 2 tablespoons candied mixed peel
For the icing ‘cross’
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ~ ¼ cup confectioner’s (icing) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 11 holes in a 12-hole muffin pan with cooking oil spray.
- Use a coffee grinder (or food processor or blender) to grind the oats into a flour. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Add the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir to combine.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together with a fork. Mix in the applesauce and yogurt. Add the brown sugar, honey, oil and vanilla extract, and mix until completely combined. Stir in the raisins and candied mixed peel.
- Pour the dry ingredients (the oats/flour mixture) into the wet ingredients (the eggs/applesauce mixture). Mix until just combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the muffin holes, filling the holes approximately three-quarters of the way up.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the muffins are firm when touched, and a skewer comes out clean (or with a few dry crumbs). Allow the muffins to sit in the pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- To make the icing for the cross, whisk together the lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl until smooth. If the mixture is too dry, add more lemon juice (or some water). If it’s too wet, add more confectioner’s sugar.
- Decorate the muffins by drawing a cross on top of each muffin in icing.
By ‘Greek-style yogurt’, I just mean use a thick, good-quality yogurt. I used natural yogurt (which had a similar texture to Greek yogurt).
Make sure you use a smooth applesauce, and not a chunky one. You can easily make applesauce by using a blender or food processor to puree cooked (or canned) apples.
This will seem like a very small amount of icing. However, you only need a tiny bit – just to draw two lines on each muffin. While you may wish to use a piping bag to decorate the muffins, I just used a spoon to roughly draw a cross shape.