Hot Cross Buns with Lemon Rosemary & White Chocolate

I am off to spend the rest of the school holidays in Cornwall, which involves eating lots of hot cross buns, Cornish saffron buns, very good ice cream and as much treacle tart and clotted cream as possible. I love this time of year. Flowers, fruits and vegetables budding, growing and flourishing. Everything is awesome! Cornish purple sprouting broccoli, creamy potatoes and excellent spring lamb will no doubt be present at Easter Sunday lunch.

lemon rosemary

I have made several batches of hot cross buns over the last couple of years with varying success. My Giant Hot Cross Bun worked well but I have made many buns where the dough has simply not risen, just sat in a flat lump in a bowl for hours. It is all down to the milk temperature. I either overheat or under heat it but I think I might have found a solution.

lemon rosemary

Instead of bringing the milk up to boiling point and melting the butter in it, I warm the milk up in the microwave for thirty seconds and it is perfect every time. For me, this method works and I am sticking with it. The butter, I rub into the flour as you would for making pastry. I read about that idea  here, a fine discovery.

lemon rosemary

My other tip would be to use less flour. I found I had been making a huge batch of dough, buns too large to eat and taking too long to cook so I decided to cut back on quantities and it seems to work. I use 250g of bread flour and this gives me eight small yet beautifully formed buns that cook in fifteen minutes.

lemon rosemary

Finally I have played with the flavours. Lemon and fresh Rosemary instead of the spices and white chocolate chips replace half of the dried mixed fruit. Is this still a hot cross bun? In my mind it is. Yet it is a fresher, herbier more spring like interpretation. I hope you agree. And they have crosses. Could not forego the crosses.

I am entering my Easter buns into a few challenges this month:

lemon rosemary


lemon rosemary

Treat PetiteThe Baking Explorer & Cakeboi

We Should CocoaRachel Cotterill & Chocolate Log Blog

Love CakeJibber Jabber

Let’s Cook Sweet Treats for EasterSimply Food

[yumprint-recipe id=’41’] 


  1. says

    I really like this fresh take on hot cross buns. I’m a sucker for herbs in ostensibly sweet recipes, esp rosemary. I have made hot cross buns a couple of times in the past (when my daughter was young) but I was always trying too hard to be virtuous with them, so they were a bit ‘worthy’ in taste and texture. Your recipe sounds really delicious, and so nicely photographed too. Enjoy your Easter break – and all of those tasty Cornish treats!

    • says

      Thanks Kellie, yes there are times when recipes can be made more virtuous but somehow buns don’t lend themselves to it. Although these aren’t too bad on the sugar front I am not sure how nice they would taste without any. Maybe worth a go though, you never know!

    • says

      Thanks Charlotte, I do like these flavours together but am sure there are other combinations that would be good too like orange and date maybe? I just like experimenting!

  2. says

    Lovely your Cornish foodie hit list and the fact that the crosses on your perfect buns look so perfect, too. This is the bit I struggle with the most! 

  3. Sarah says

    Now there’s an interesting combination of flavours in a hot cross bun… going to need to try it soon! Have a great time in Cornwall – it sounds like you have the menu all sorted out already.

  4. says

    With all the many recipes available for such an Easter classic these look absolutely top notch and thank you for all the helpful tips, I struggle with the milk temperature. Have a brilliant time in Cornwall! 

  5. says

    Lemon and rosemary sound so fresh and spring like somehow. And if they have a cross on them OF COURSE they are hot cross buns. Can’t believe another year has gone by and you are down here again. Would so love to meet up with you, but as usual I have a mega busy week this week and I expect you’ve got far better things to do on holiday than talk cooking and blogs with me. BUT one day …

    Hope you have a brilliant holiday and the sun keeps shining for you.

  6. says

    Wow what a delicious sounding combination laura. I think my boys would prefer these to the traditional sort as they’re not fans of dried fruit. Thanks for all those useful baking tips too!

  7. says

    what a lovely flavour combination. a great idea Laura, I love rosemary and I can imagine this goes really well with the lemon. What a lovely scent.


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