Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls

All hail the hidden veggies!!

A close-up look at a delicious Hidden Veggie Acai Bowl from CaliGirl Cooking. The perfect healthy breakfast even the pickiest of eaters will love!

Seriously, who doesn’t want a HUGE serving of vegetables hidden into one of the most delicious acai bowls of all time? If you’re a fruit/breakfast fanatic like me and like to start your day off on the right foot, these Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls are for you.


And, speaking of hidden veggies, if you have picky eaters in your household (ahem, kids) you’re going to LOVE the fact that there is tons of broccoli and spinach packed into each and every one of these bowls.

Back in the day, when I first moved to Santa Barbara, I was living with my brother and sister-in-law and their three young kids until I found a place I could settle into on my own. As part of my “rent,” I’d try to cook for them as much as possible. As most families with young kids do, my bro and SIL were always struggling to get their kids to eat anything besides carbs and fruit. So, I took it upon myself to help them sneak some goodness into their diets in any way we could.

Some of the biggest hits I created for the kids were Hidden Veggie Popsicles. I’d basically whip up a smoothie with kale, carrots and sometimes even avocado the night before, poured the smoothie into a popsicle mold, and first thing in the morning there would be delicious, healthy POPSICLES waiting for the kids for breakfast. I mean, who doesn’t want popsicles for breakfast? They were a huge hit.

A healthy serving of Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls. Your answer to a quick, easy and healthy breakfast!

Fast forward to almost four years later, now I’m trying to sneak as many vegetables into my diet as possible with my ever-changing preggo mama appetite. Throughout my first whole trimester, veggies were not my friend. I’m normally a huge salad eater, but a big bowl of raw greens was the LAST thing I even wanted to think about eating.

Luckily, my healthy appetite for fruit has maintained throughout the duration of my pregnancy (and will hopefully continue to!) I’ve been able to drink our Power Protein Smoothies we make almost every day, which do also have some kale mixed in, and if I’m looking for a healthy snack in the afternoon, a piece of fruit (most likely paired with cheese) is the first thing I’ll grab out of the refrigerator.

On the weekends, the hubs usually spoils me with eggs, bacon, the works, but occasionally we’ll have some place we need to be in the morning and thus need a quick, healthy breakfast to get our day started on the right foot. On these days, you can most likely find us at Backyard Bowls, Santa Barbara’s acai bowl/smoothie mecca that is basically amazing beyond words.

I’ll usually order either their PB&J Quinoa Bowl if I’m in the mood for a warm, belly-filling meal, or their Green Bowl if I’m looking for something more refreshing. The Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls I’m sharing today are my own personal take on the Green Bowl, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy them just as much as I did!

These Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls from CaliGirl Cooking are the perfect healthy breakfast for picky eaters.

Here’s what you’re going to need: some banana for creaminess, and one more for your toppings (because aren’t the toppings some of the best things about basically eating a smoothie in a bowl?), frozen acai (find it at your local Whole Foods or TJ’s), frozen broccoli and fresh spinach (there’s your veggies!), frozen cherries, pineapple juice, lime juice and some fresh ginger (if you’re feeling adventurous.) I love the ginger for the zinginess it brings to the bowl, but you can easily leave it out if you or your kids aren’t really into such a distinct flavor.

Throw everything into a blender, top with the banana, some sliced strawberries, granola, honey and, my favorite, PEANUT BUTTER, and you’ll have such a delicious, crowd-pleasing breakfast that Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls will soon become the most requested breakfast at your kitchen table. Promise!

An overhead shot of delicious Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls. They'll be a huge hit with kids!

A close-up look at a delicious Hidden Veggie Acai Bowl from CaliGirl Cooking. The perfect healthy breakfast even the pickiest of eaters will love!
Print
Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

This healthy breakfast is packed with filling fruits and vegetables that will keep even the pickiest of eaters happy and full until lunch. 

Course: Breakfast
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen acai pack
  • 1 banana, plus 1 additional for topping
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger (optional)
  • Sliced strawberries, your favorite granola, honey and peanut butter, for topping
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except toppings in a blender and blend until smooth. 

  2. Pour blender contents into one larger cereal bowl (or two smaller ones) and garnish with desired toppings.

  3. Enjoy immediately!

Hidden Veggie Acai Bowls | CaliGirlCooking.com

Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Because I just can’t get enough!

Freshly cut slices of Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

For realzzzzz tho, I’m a diehard banana bread lover, especially when it’s loaded with all of the same flavors you find in your favorite Girl Scout cookie (Samoas, I’m looking at you!) This Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread just MAY be the best recipe adaptation I’ve ever made.


My passion for banana bread started when I was just a wee tyke (okay, maybe a preteen) getting interested in the world of cooking and baking. My mom had a Mrs. Fields I Love Chocolate Cookbook (thanks to my Dad’s obsession with ‘Vitamin C,” as we dubbed it in our household) and, upon leafing through it for inspiration, I settled on making the cookie goddess’ Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, if only because (a) it looked really easy and (b) it made two loaves!

Let’s just say this Chocolate Chip Banana Bread was a smashing success in our household, and became my go-to baked good whenever we wanted a little breakfast treat or dessert around to munch on.

Two freshly baked loaves of Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread cooling on their racks.

It’s been a while since I busted out the ol’ recipe that I copied out of my mom’s cookbook by hand to bring with me to my “adult” home, if for no other reason than I’ve been busy baking everything else under the sun for this blog (like this Hummingbird Bread, this Harvey Wallbanger Cake and these Addicting S’mores Granola Clusters.)

But pregnancy tends to bring you back to your homegrown roots, and I found myself craving a sweetly satisfying breakfast bread that I could easily enjoy a piece of when I wake up at the crack of dawn and still have a couple of hours to wait before the hubs is awake and it’s time for our Power Protein Smoothie.

So, I decided to take what I already knew was a favorite of mine and really make it my own. This oh-so-delicious Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread is the proud result! I used much of the original Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Banana Bread recipe, except I decided to add a tropical twist with some finely shredded unsweetened coconut. I also not only reduced the overall sugar content in the recipe, but decided to use brown sugar as a partial substitute to really give the bread some caramelly flavor which, if you saw my above note about Samoas, is obviously a great compliment to the chocolate and coconut flavors.

Three stacked slices of Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread ready to be eaten!

Don’t be scared off by the large quantities of some of the ingredients. Keep in mind that this recipe makes two loaves! And I would like to point out that they freeze REALLY well. I’m starting to think about what I’m going to want to load our freezer with before Baby D. comes, and if the second loaf of this last batch of Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread happens to get consumed in the next four and a half months (which is very likely,) you can bet I’ll be making more. We need to be sure we’re well-equipped with delicious breakfast foods when we’re incredibly sleep-deprived and walking around the kitchen like zombies.

And the whole reason I came to enjoy making banana bread still stands true today – it is so easy! The hardest part might just be planning enough in advance so you can pull some butter out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature before making the batter.

Aside from that, you can have the batter mixed, poured out into the loaf pans and into the oven in less than 15 minutes. Then the only tricky part is waiting the hour it takes for the loaves to cook. It won’t be long before the smell of Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread is wafting through your house!

An overhead shot of a loaf of freshly baked Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Freshly cut slices of Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.
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Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs 5 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 20 mins
 

This fun twist on banana bread adds two classic flavors - chocolate and coconut! It's an incredibly easy recipe and makes enough to enjoy now AND later!

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Servings: 2 8.5-inch loaves
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups mashed bananas (about 8 bananas)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two 8.5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Set aside.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both types of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the bananas and beaten eggs and mix until well incorporated. Add the vanilla.

  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and, using a spatula, fold in the coconut and chocolate chips. 

  5. Pour the batter evenly into your two prepared loaf pans, then place in the preheated oven for 65-70 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a little bit of melted chocolate is okay.)

  6. Let loaves cool, in pans, on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn out of pans to cool completely. 

Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread | CaliGirlCooking.com

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream

I’m going to blow your mind today!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’ve never heard of or yet gotten to experience the magic of candy cap mushrooms, that is. I have to admit, it’s taken me quite a while to figure out how I wanted to showcase these little gems here on the blog, but now that I have this recipe for Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream under my wing, I’ll never think twice!


Yes, we’re talking about MUSHROOMS here, and mushrooms that shine their brightest when used in sweet, rather than savory, dishes. Don’t be scared. These things seriously taste like maple syrup. No joke. Which is why I naturally decided to add them to syrup’s ultimate breakfast vehicle – Belgian waffles!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

I had heard some buzz about these magical candy caps around the interwebs last year, but I hadn’t really had the opportunity (or motivation) to track some down and try my hand at cooking/baking with them. But my whole outlook changed when my friend and fellow blogger Hana-Lee and I headed up to Napa at the end of last year, and had none other than CANDY CAP CHURROS for breakfast at Sam’s Social Club one morning. We both took one bite and immediately fell in love. The little flecks of candy cap mushrooms that you could barely see speckled throughout the churro dough added such an intense, delicious maple-y flavor, I really couldn’t believe that something so small could have such a big impact on the taste buds. Pretty amazing.

So, I finally had the extra motivation I felt I had been waiting for to give these candy cap mushrooms a shot in my own kitchen, now all I had left to do was track some of these bad boys down. I found a rather large pack of candy cap mushrooms on Amazon (my usual go-to for any slightly “out there” food products that I don’t feel like going on a wild goose chase to find locally) but was still a bit hesitant to make such a big purchase when I had never even cooked with these things before (although I am happy to say that, after the success of these Candy Cap Waffles, I would easily make that investment so I could have them for breakfast every weekend morning from here to eternity.)

It wasn’t until the hubs and I took another trip up to Napa a couple of months later and visited the new Culinary Institute of America site at Copia that I truly discovered what I knew I had been looking for to embark on my candy cap mushroom culinary journey: candy cap sugar!!! That’s right, the cute little store at the CIA was selling sugar that was already infused with small flecks of dried candy cap mushrooms. It started perfuming our car with that heavenly scent of maple syrup as soon as we started driving north to our accommodations for the night. I couldn’t wait to get back in the kitchen and use it!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

But if you can’t find any candy cap sugar in your neck of the woods (or don’t feel like ordering it here), have no fear, you can easily make your own! Simply get your hands on some dried candy cap mushrooms (like these ones you can get on Amazon) and mix them with ohhhh, about ½ cup to a cup of sugar in an airtight container. Let the ingredients sit and get to know each other for a day or so and you’ll be ready to whip up some Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream just in time for the weekend.

And after some brainstorming and messaging back and forth with some other culinarily adventurous friends, I settled upon these Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream. I’m so glad I did. To be fair, this recipe is nearly identical to a Belgian waffle recipe my mom passed down to me at my cooking-themed bridal shower last year, and yet another thing that has been on my “to-make” list for way too long. I mean, we even got the fancy shmancy Belgian waffle maker to go with it!

It’s not a quick-and-easy recipe, yet it’s not difficult, more just a little time consuming. This is mostly due to the fact that you separate the egg yolks and whites and fold in the stiffened whites at the very end of the batter-making process to yield an incredibly light yet moist flavor. That being said, if you find yourself up early one morning or able to tide the troops over with some fresh fruit or cartoons for a later breakfast, this recipe is TOTALLY worth it.

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

The only change I made to my mom’s recipe to make these Candy Cap Waffles was subbing in the candy cap sugar for the regular amount of sugar called for. It’s only two tablespoons, but that’s all you need to really make that signature maple flavor pop (and make your house smell like breakfast for a good couple of days.)

Oh, and then there are the sautéed maple apples and fresh whipped cream, which you probably shouldn’t skip out on. You see, I figured that since the waffles would already taste like maple syrup, they might need a little more of a three-dimensional topping than just MORE maple syrup. To me, there’s hardly anything better than warm, cinnamon-y sautéed apples gracing the top of a baked breakfast item, so that was an easy solution for me. And whipped cream, well, you’ve just got to!

Once you have the batter made, you’ll be turning out waffles as quickly as your waffle maker’s light turns from red to green. If you’re cooking for a crowd and want to serve everyone at once (including yourself,) simply preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and throw the waffles in, right onto the oven rack, to stay warm while you cook the rest. Be sure not to place them on a baking sheet or paper towel, as this will make them soggy, and no one wants a soggy waffle!

I might also take this opportunity to mention that, conveniently, there is a very special holiday coming up this weekend that perfectly warrants a big batch of these. I mean, what mom wouldn’t want a heaping plate of Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream placed in front of her on Mother’s Day morning?

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Belgian waffles get an elevated twist with the addition of candy cap mushroom-laden sugar, sauteed maple apples and homemade whipped cream.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 4 waffles
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the waffles:
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons candy cap sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the apples:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 Fuji apples, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. First, make the waffle batter. In a large bowl, sift together both flours, the sugar, the baking powder and the baking soda. Set aside.

  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg yolks, butter and vanilla.

  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until a lumpy batter forms.

  4. In a separate, small mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks remain. Let batter sit while you make the sautéed apples and whipped cream.

  5. To make the apples: melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the apple slices, cinnamon and maple syrup and saute until the apples are crisp tender, approximately 8-10 minutes. Turn heat to low and set aside.

  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a clean hand mixer) combine the whipping cream and vanilla extract. Beat on high until a whipped cream forms. Place in refrigerator while you are making your waffles.

  7. Scoop approximately ¾ cups of the batter (depending on the size of your waffle maker) onto a preheated waffle iron and cook according to the iron’s directions. 

  8. If you’d like to serve everyone at once, place waffles directly onto the rack of a 200 degree preheated oven to keep warm while you make more. Remove right before serving. 

Recipe Notes
  • You can purchase the same candy cap sugar that I used here.
  • If you'd like to make your own candy cap sugar, simply purchase candy cap mushrooms from Amazon here, dice them up finely and add them to regular granulated sugar. Let sit for at least a day before using.

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

Banana Bran Muffins

Who’s ready for some wholesomeness in their life??

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

I sure am! Well, in about two days when we’re back from our Italy vacation, that is. At which point I completely intend to fill our kitchen with healthy(-ish) dishes with good-for-you ingredients, like these Banana Bran Muffins!


Okay, to be fair, these muffins do have lots of wholesome ingredients, but I’d be lying if I said they were completely healthy. Sure, they still have sugar, white flour and eggs, but they also have not one but TWO types of bran cereal and bananas, so there’s our balance right there. And let me tell you, if you’re looking for a little more roughage (aka fiber) in your diet, Banana Bran Muffins are the answer!

Before I get to these muffins, though, let me fill you in a little bit on what we’ve been up to on our trip since my last post on Friday! On Saturday morning we caught the train to Venice, which was a pretty cool adventure all in itself. The train systems in Europe always amaze me because they are so sophisticated and make going from one city (or country!) to another sooooo easy. The US sure has a lot to learn from them.

Once we arrived in Venice, we caught a private water taxi to our charming AirBnB just south of the famous St. Mark’s Square. We’ve basically been eating our way through Venice ever since and I can’t wait to write all about it in a Travel Diaries post for you when we get back! We head home tomorrow and, although I’m sad to see such an amazing adventure with so many people I love come to an end, I am looking forward to getting back into a healthier eating routine after all of this indulgence! I’m thinking these Banana Bran Muffins will be the perfect segue to gently ease myself back into the groove.

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

So, I told you a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been really enjoying resurrecting old family recipes and posting them here on the blog so that they exist forever and ever (I hope!) I made my Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken a little while back, the perfect comfort food dish, and just the other week I shared my Dad’s tried and true recipe for Hot Cross Buns.

These Banana Bran Muffins are actually my take on a recipe from my husband’s side of the family. It’s one he’s brought up over and over again whenever we talk about family recipes we want to try and make for each other, and so the last time we were at his parents’ house this recipe card was one of the ones we snapped a photo of from his mom’s overflowing handwritten recipes box.

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

The first thing I have to say about this recipe is: Don’t be scared by the very large amounts of ingredients (three cups of sugar??? Five cups of flour??) That’s because this recipe makes a HUGE yield…we’re talking three dozen muffins, so just be sure you have a couple of really large mixing bowls to make your batter!

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

And the great news is, once you make the batter, you can either keep it in the refrigerator for up to six weeks (can you believe it?) OR you can bake off all of the muffins (as I did) and freeze them in batches for future consumption. Up to you!

The main (really only) change I made to my mother-in-law’s original Bran Muffin recipe was adding mashed banana in place of the ½ cup of shortening called for. I figured this would help make the muffins a leeeetle bit healthier and it certainly made them nice and moist! Of course, after I’d made them, my husband informed me that his mom would sometimes sub in applesauce for the shortening, so there’s another option as well!

Oh, and if you’re not sure where to find both types of bran cereal, just hit up your local Trader Joe’s! Here’s a picture of both types mixed together below ↓

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

Basically, these Banana Bran Muffins don’t take any longer than regular muffins to make, and once you do make them you’ll have enough to last you at least a month or two. If that doesn’t sound like the perfect semi-healthy baked good to you, I don’t know what will.

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

And with that, I’m signing off for the day and off to explore more of the magical city of Venice! Be sure to follow along on my Insta stories for all the fun! Xo

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Banana Bran Muffins
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

These easy-to-make muffins are incredibly delicious and full of plenty of wholesome ingredients like bran cereal and ripe banana. 

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 3 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole bran cereal
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 banana)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 5 cups flour, sifted
  • 4 cups bran flakes
  • 5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare as many cupcake tins as you have (ultimately you will need three dozen, but you can always reuse the pans) by either spraying them with nonstick cooking spray or lining with cupcake liners.

  2. In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over whole bran cereal. Let stand while you prep the wet ingredients.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, banana, eggs and buttermilk. Add the whole bran that you’ve been soaking in the hot water. 

  4. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the flour, bran flakes, baking soda and salt. Stir in the wet ingredients and continue to stir until no lumps of flour can be seen. The batter will be very thick and will thicken even more as it stands.

  5. Scoop batter into cupcake pans and bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

You can bake off all of these muffins at once and freeze them in batches, or you can keep the batter covered in the refrigerator for up to six weeks to bake off when needed.

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

Hot Cross Buns

Buns for dayzzzzzz.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

I told you this week was going to be all about the Easter prep, and today I’m definitely not going to disappoint with these Hot Cross Buns. This is yet another family recipe that I’ve successfully transcribed from my Dad’s improvisational ways, and let me tell you, I’m so glad I’ll now have this recipe in my back pocket whenever springtime rolls around.


I’m not really an expert on Hot Cross Buns, except for the fact that they’re incredibly hard to find good store- or bakery-bought versions of. When I lived at home (or would come home to visit for Easter when I lived away) we went through way too many years wasting our time trying to find “just the right” version at one of our local bakeries or grocery stores. Problem was, they were never as good as we imagined, or as we imagined we could make them. Leave it to my Dad to solve that problem, and solve it he did.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

What I love about Hot Cross Buns is that there are so many iterations of them. You can spice the dough (as I do in this recipe) or leave it really basic and buttery. You can add in the classic fruit cake mix to liven things up a bit, or you can leave it simpler with raisins studding the dough, or nothing at all. For the icing, you can tint it the classic yellow hue with food coloring or simply allow the sweet topping to take on whatever natural color it gets from your icing ingredients. Long story short, just about any person out there can find a Hot Cross Bun recipe that they want to make over and over again, year after year.

For my own sake, I hope you find this recipe for Hot Cross Buns so enjoyable that they become an annual tradition in your household. After all, there’s nothing like a warm, buttery, icing-topped carb-bomb to start your Easter morning off right 😉

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

In fact, I may need to pack a few of these in Ziplocs for our ride to the airport on Sunday. If we can’t have our usual Easter meals and festivities due to travel, we might as well get our Easter treats in wherever we can!

I’m not going to sugar-coat it (haha, you see what I did there?) but these buns do take a little bit of time to make, definitely not for their difficulty level, but simply because they go through the standard double rise you do with most yeast breads. That being said, a little bit of planning goes a long way, and I can guarantee that once you practice the recipe one time through, it will get easier and easier every time.

I speak from experience since I had a little blonde moment the first time I made these and forgot to add the butter to the dough. Good news was, the Hot Cross Buns turned out to be gorgeous-looking. Bad news was, they were suuuuppper dry and didn’t taste nearly as good as they looked. And because I hate wasting any food, I simply proceeded to load up that first batch of Hot Cross Buns with butter every time I wanted to eat one, and I probably ended up consuming way more butter than I would have if I had just included in the recipe in the first place. Hey, we all learn from our silly mistakes!

I’m happy to report that no silly mistakes were made the second time I gave this recipe a whirl, and I was able to whip up perfectly composed Hot Cross Buns in almost no time flat.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

What I love about these Hot Cross Buns is that, once you get through the whole double rise process, you bake them off and they’re ready to devour in just 15 minutes (well, 25 minutes if you allow time to cool and frost them.) That means that you don’t have to wait too long to enjoy after their magnificent smell starts wafting through the house!

Although I personally didn’t try it, I’d bet you could easily adapt this recipe to make the second rise an overnight one. That way, all you need to do in the morning before breakfast is pull the buns out of the refrigerator, give them their little crosses and egg wash, and pop them in the oven. I may try this the next time I give these a whirl (undoubtedly in the very near future) but if you try it in the meantime, let me know how it goes!

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m signing off to go get myself a bit more organized for our trip, but Happy Humpday! You deserve to celebrate with some Hot Cross Buns 🙂

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Hot Cross Buns
Prep Time
2 hr 10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
2 hr 25 mins
 

A family recipe for this classic springtime baked good - a buttery dough studded with plump raisins, topped with the perfect touch of icing.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the buns:
  • 1 packet active-dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed to "bathtub temperature" (I heated mine up for 30 seconds in the microwave and it turned out perfect)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/3 cups flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup raisins (or fruit cake mix, if you prefer)
  • 1 egg white
For the icing:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Combine the yeast and warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.

  2. Add sugar, eggs, butter and salt to the yeast mixture and beat to combine. You may want to use a whisk for a few seconds to break up the egg yolks since the dough hook doesn’t do a great job of it.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, sift together 1 cup of the flour and the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add this to the mixture in the stand mixer along with the raisins and beat on medium-low until flour is well-incorporated.

  4. Scrape down the sides of the stand mixer and add additional 1 1/3 cups flour. Once again turn the mixer on medium-low and mix until a sticky dough forms. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with a damp hand towel, and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size. 

  5. Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. You may also need to coat your hands with a bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking to them. Cover the dough once it’s turned out and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and let rise for another hour.

  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using kitchen shears, cut a cross in the center of each bun, then brush with egg white. Place in oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the tops of the buns have turned golden and bread sounds fairly hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool.

  8. While buns are cooling, prepare the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all of the icing ingredients. Transfer to a piping bag (or Ziploc) and then snip off the tip. Using the crosses you cut into your buns before baking as a guide, make a cross on each bun. Enjoy as soon as possible!

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Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com