These hot cross balls are a quick, healthy snack with all of the Easter flavours of hot cross buns. They’re vegan and gluten-free.
Spring winds are rapidly approaching, blowing gentler and more perfumed. Winter retreats at pace, spent, worn and tired of its melancholy.
A few yellow petals appear at the end of a spindly shoot; buds form with curious perseverance; small dots of colour speckle woodlands, fields and hedgerows with promise of longer days and milder afternoons. As stews give way to salads and roots give way to leaves, the extra hours of light give us time back, time to stop, breathe and wake up from our winter haze.
Hot Cross Buns
Easter heralds spring in a flurry of chocolate and hot cross buns. Those fluffy, cakey buns. I do love them, with their light spices and plump raisins. Their jaunty crosses blur the lines between meals – are they breakfast, snack, dessert? Nobody quite knows, so we consume them at will. Perhaps toasted with butter, straight from the tray, cold, warm, or, for the real rebels among us, with *gasp* jam.
But however you eat them, they are best eaten mindfully, watching the buds form anew and the gentle winds blow through the trees as they work furiously to produce the year’s coat of foliage. The faster nature works to wake up and stretch from its slumber, the more I want to slow down and watch.
Hot Cross Balls
This year seems to have brought about considerable creativity in the hot cross bun world. Supermarket shelves are heaving with unusual flavours… St Clements, Bramley apple, stem ginger, Earl Grey and mandarin, cranberry. I welcome the unusual with open arms (but then, I put kale in cupcakes, so I would).
For these hot cross balls, I’ve turned the flavours of the traditional hot cross bun into energy bites. Small, portable, adorable-looking little balls of cinnamon and raisins. Take them for a slow walk past bluebells and grape hyacinths, nettles and wild garlic. Take them for a walk through woodland and urban jungle. Just take them for a walk. Bring an umbrella.
Get the recipe!
- 60g (⅔ cup) porridge oats (gluten-free if required)
- 60g (⅔ cup) ground almonds
- 6 dates, stones removed
- 60g (½ cup) raisins
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (solid - put in the fridge to set if necessary)
- 6 tbsp powdered icing sugar
- Whizz the porridge oats in a food processor until a fine crumb is formed.
- Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined and it forms a sticky meal.
- Roll into balls and refrigerate until ready to eat.
- For the topping, cream the coconut oil with an electric mixer until smooth, then beat in the powdered icing sugar.
- Pipe in crosses on the hot cross balls.
Adieu, winter. Adieu.
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