A spin on the traditional Easter treat, these Gluten-Free Hot Cross Scones are lightly sweet and packed with all of the good stuff.
For me, one of the most fun things about holidays is learning about the different traditions from family to family, and the reasons behind those traditions.
While most holiday traditions tend to be regional, religious, or based on ethnicity, it never ceases to amaze me how people who seem to have very similar backgrounds have completely different traditions.
Take Hot Cross Buns, for example. I grew up with these spiced sweet buns as a cornerstone of our Easter morning celebrations (right along side a big ol’ Overnight Sausage & Egg Casserole) but Anthony had never even heard of them until he met me.
Easter without hot cross buns? I might be weeping a little for all of his past Easter celebrations.
Are you familiar with hot cross buns? If not (ugh, totally weeping for you, too… my heart can’t even handle it right now), here’s a little background:
Traditionally, hot crossed buns are slightly sweet yeasted buns that are packed with raisins or currants and spices. And – you guessed it – they have a big cross across the top.
While these are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, my family has always enjoyed them on Easter morning and along side Easter dinner. (Probably because we were too busy baking them for everyone else to enjoy them properly on Good Friday 😉 )
I know you’re thinking: “Leah, all this talk of yeasted sweet rolls has me weak in the knees” and I’m totally with you, buuuut I think that I may have topped the traditional yeasted yumminess this year with an epic spin on the classic – Hot Cross Scones. And YES! They’re completely gluten-free (duh).
In all honesty, a standard yeasted gluten-free dough is something I am working to perfect, but I haven’t quite gotten there. Facing the dilemma of another Easter without Hot Cross Buns (the gluten-free struggle is real), I knew something had to be done.
Enter: the heavenly, sweet and spiced, gluten-free Easter scone that trumps all other Easter scones. You guys, I’m not even missing the yeasted version one bit.
Not. One. Bit.
These scones are a little less sweet than your standard American scone, but the spices – cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg – the raisins, and the touch of orange juice and zest give these scones the perfect amount of pizzazz. Plus, they might be the best ever for dunking in coffee. And, for the record, the traditional buns can’t really be dunked soooo if you weren’t already convinced that these are far superior to the classic hot cross buns, this tid bit should seal the deal.
I mean, ☕️❤️☕️
I broke away from my scone tradition of making them into wedges, to try to achieve the traditional hot cross bun look. Though they may look different, the process of making the scones is the same as the process I use with my other scone recipes (have you tried my maple date scones or my chocolate raspberry scones yet?) but, instead of forming the dough into one big circle and then slicing it into wedges, you’ll simply use a biscuit cutter to cut the scones into rounds.
AND because you’re not baking the scones in one large disk, you’ll also reduce the total baking time. THAT’S RIGHT, my friends. Not only do you get to have the most delightful Easter scones in your life, but there’s less waiting involved. I swear, these things just keep getting better and better.
The absolutely crucial part of these scones? The cross on top. The icing is super simple to make – it’s just a mixture of powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk – but you want to make sure that it’s thick. It should have a bit of a runny consistency, but should thicken up on the back of a spoon or fork nicely.
I usually give the icing two passes for each line, to make sure that the cross is prominent and thick.
….Okay, okay, it might be more about getting a healthy dose of the sweet stuff, but whatevs. I know you’re right there with me 😉
So, how do YOU celebrate Easter? What traditions does your family have? I’d love to know!
- === SCONES ===
- 2 ¼ cup gluten-free flour blend flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend contains it)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup raisins or currants
- ⅓ cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 egg + 1 egg, divided
- 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- ½ cup half and half + 1 Tablespoon, divided
- ½ cup
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons milk*
- Cut butter into small chunks and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- In a food processor, combine gluten-free flour, xanthan gum (if needed), sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Pulse until combined.
- Add frozen butter and quickly pulse 6-8 times or until butter is just incorporated into the flour mixture. Add pecans and raisins, but do not pulse again!
- In a large bowl, mix 1 egg, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and ½ cup half and half.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and gently stir just until combined.
- Turn the dough out onto your baking sheet and knead just a few times with your hands, and then form into a circle - about ¾ inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out 8 scones, and place onto the prepared baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart.
- In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg and remaining Tablespoon of half and half together, and wash over the top of the scones.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk*. Once the scones are set, pipe the icing on the top of the scones in a cross pattern.
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