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! These muffins are baked full of spices, citrus zest and sweet little currants. Then they are topped with a cream cheese icing cross (that you just can’t resist)!
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 where 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.
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 in 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!
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
- Category: Breakfast
- Cuisine: British/Canadian
- 1 1/2 cups (190g) 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 (150g) white sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup (4oz) milk, warmed
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup (90g) dried currants, from Bulk Barn Foods
- 1/2 cup (50g) powdered 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 powdered 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
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!
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