Hot Cross Cookies - The Sweet Rebellion
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Hot Cross Cookies

Warming spices and a touch of citrus, then a burst of fruitiness – nothing says “Easter” like freshly baked Hot Cross Buns. Let’s be honest though, they take a fair bit of time to make. These Hot Cross Cookies have all the spicy, fruity flavour of a hot cross bun, but can be made in a fraction of the time. This is a fun recipe for kids to get involved in – they can lend a hand by rolling the balls of dough and icing the crosses.

If, like me, you are not a fan of raisins then try adding chopped dried apricots or cranberries instead.


200g butter, softened
60g white sugar
60g soft brown sugar
5ml vanilla extract
100g mixed peel
1 large egg
275g flour
7,5ml ground cinnamon
7,5ml mixed spice
10ml baking powder
80g currants/raisins

Royal Icing:
1 large egg white (room temperature)
10ml lemon/orange juice
200g icing sugar, sifted
2ml finely grated lemon/orange zest (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Add the mixed peel and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes to ensure the lovely citrus flavour is incorporated into the mixture.
  • Beat the egg, then add to the creamed mixture, mixing in well.
  • Mix together all the dry ingredients then add in 3 stages to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
  • Lastly stir in the currants/raisins.
  • Roll the dough into small balls, using approximately 2 teaspoons of dough per ball. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand and place onto the baking tray, with a little space in between for spreading.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes, until cookies are a light golden brown.
  • Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then place cookies on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To make the icing, whip the egg white and lemon juice until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time, until you have a glossy meringue-like consistency. Stir in the orange/lemon zest if desired, for extra citrus flavour.
  • Spoon the royal icing into a disposable piping bag and snip off the tip to leave a 2-3mm opening.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, pipe a neat cross onto each cookie.
  • Leave the icing to dry for at least an hour, then store the cookies in an airtight container.

  • Meghan Dodds
    Posted at 15:06h, 08 April Reply

    How many cookies does this recipe make?

    • Astrid
      Posted at 12:48h, 09 April Reply

      Hi Meghan. It makes about 30 cookies. Enjoy!

  • Tam Fish
    Posted at 08:54h, 29 December Reply

    Better than an actual hot crossed bun! The hint of orange just MAKES it – these will be an Easter staple from now on :)))

    • Astrid
      Posted at 15:37h, 04 January Reply

      Thanks Tam for your comment – I also love these at Easter or any time of year 😉

  • Kyla Garcia
    Posted at 22:00h, 04 April Reply

    These look lovely! Any substitute for mixed peel? I haven’t seen it in South Africa. 🥺

    • Astrid
      Posted at 13:37h, 11 April Reply

      Hi Kyla. It’s also called candied citrus peel, available in the baking section. I’ll email you a pic :).

  • Kyla Garcia
    Posted at 14:01h, 11 April Reply

    You are just amazing! Tha k you for your response! Can’t wait to try these 😍

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