Hot Cross Bun Muffins

As a kid, candied fruit was my nemesis. Well, I suppose my true nemesis my brother, who I eventually learned to love dearly. Unlike candied fruit. Candied fruit still sucks.

You know what I mean. That brightly-colored, glistening, candy-like stuff in a tub, available at every supermarket. Looks like a treat from the gods – especially to a child – tastes like it came straight from somewhere quite different. Fruit cake has it (blech). Sometimes you find it lurking in cannoli (ugh). And then there are hot cross buns. Super fancy-schmancy looking rolls, served at Easter time (specifically on Good Friday). They’re golden, shiny, and they’ve got frosting on top.

I was fooled by many a hot cross bun as a child, biting in only to discover that dastardly candied fruit lurking within. Nooo!

I’ve since discovered that a variety of dried fruits and well-made candied peels make a world of difference in such recipes. As in, you know, they actually taste good. So this year I set out to make some hot cross buns with a variety of dried fruits and peels that don’t actually taste like evil. But with a three month old running my life, time is very short and rather unpredictable. Muffins were the answer.

I  may just stick with these.

I started with King Arthur Flour’s Basic Muffins recipe, then added orange zest, a variety of orange-juice-soaked dried fruits and some warm, welcoming spices. Then I piped the telltale cross on the top and, bingo. Unlike the gross-bombs of my childhood, you can actually look at these, say “those look good,” bite into one, and say “oooh. It is.”

Hot Cross Bun Muffins
4.0 from 2 reviews
Recipe type: Breads
Author: Kare
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Yield: 10
  • Muffins
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 3/4 cup mixed dried fruits of your choice (choose from dried cranberries, raisins, currants, dried chopped apricots, dried chopped cherries, dried chopped pineapple. I used cranberries, apricots and cherries and the muffins were perfect.)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • Glaze
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the cups of 10 standard-sized muffin cups.
  2. Zest and juice the orange. Set the zest aside.
  3. Place the mixed dried fruits in a small bowl and pour the fresh-squeezed orange juice over the fruit. Toss and let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, butter, eggs and 1 teaspoon of the orange zest.
  6. Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture, and add the dried fruit with juice. Mix just until combined.
  7. Divide the batter between 10 muffin tins, filling them almost all the way to the top.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
  9. Move the muffins to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes.
  10. Make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and milk. You may need to add more powdered sugar or milk to create a thick, pipe-able icing.
  11. Place the icing in a sandwich/Ziploc bag, squeezing it to the corner. Snip the corner off of the bag with scissors. Pipe crosses over the tops of the cooled muffins. Serve.


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This post was written by who has written 272 posts on The Hazel Bloom.

6 Responses to “Hot Cross Bun Muffins”

  1. Kiri W. Monday, April 2, 2012 at 5:16 PM #

    Haha, very cute idea! Ive never had hot cross buns, but they look delicious, just like your muffins :)

  2. Jesica@ Pencil kitchen Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM #

    The colors in your props bring such a “child-like” feel into Hot cross buns! :) Beautiful!

  3. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 5:25 PM #

    Just made this today and it was AH-MAZING. Now I’ve never had a hot cross bun before so I don’t know what to compare it to, but I loved how incredibly fluffy and moist it was, and it was chockfull of dried fruit. Plus, the mile high rise of the muffins just made my day.

    Thanks for the awesome recipe.

    Reply from Kare:

    I’m so glad you made them and liked them! Thank you for coming back to comment and rate the recipe. :)

  4. KonstantKraver Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 7:46 PM #

    Perfect for good Friday!

  5. Melissa M. Pryor Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 9:42 PM #

    They look delicious, just like your muffins :) I’m really inspired to do these.