Warming spices and a touch of citrus, then a burst of fruitiness – nothing says “Easter” like freshly baked Hot Cross Buns. Let’s be honest though, they take a fair bit of time to make. These Hot Cross Cookies have all the spicy, fruity flavour of a hot cross bun, but can be made in a fraction of the time. This is a fun recipe for kids to get involved in – they can lend a hand by rolling the balls of dough and icing the crosses.
If, like me, you are not a fan of raisins then try adding chopped dried apricots or cranberries instead.
200g butter, softened
60g white sugar
60g soft brown sugar
5ml vanilla extract
100g mixed peel
1 large egg
7,5ml ground cinnamon
7,5ml mixed spice
10ml baking powder
1 large egg white (room temperature)
10ml lemon/orange juice
200g icing sugar, sifted
2ml finely grated lemon/orange zest (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the mixed peel and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes to ensure the lovely citrus flavour is incorporated into the mixture.
- Beat the egg, then add to the creamed mixture, mixing in well.
- Mix together all the dry ingredients then add in 3 stages to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
- Lastly stir in the currants/raisins.
- Roll the dough into small balls, using approximately 2 teaspoons of dough per ball. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand and place onto the baking tray, with a little space in between for spreading.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until cookies are a light golden brown.
- Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then place cookies on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, whip the egg white and lemon juice until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time, until you have a glossy meringue-like consistency. Stir in the orange/lemon zest if desired, for extra citrus flavour.
- Spoon the royal icing into a disposable piping bag and snip off the tip to leave a 2-3mm opening.
- Once the cookies have cooled, pipe a neat cross onto each cookie.
- Leave the icing to dry for at least an hour, then store the cookies in an airtight container.