Mr. Willow’s Hot Cross Buns

Children’s Cookery and Food Understanding made FUN with Mr. Willow (The Bear Chef).

Mr. Willow’s Hot Cross Buns

A recipe to make with your child.

(makes approximately 12 buns)

For this recipe you will need:

  • A large mixing bowl,
  • a sieve,
  • a large spoon for stirring,
  • a wooden spoon,
  • a large baking tray and a Teflon non stick liner,
  • a few small bowls to weigh out the ingredients,
  • a simple kitchen timer,
  • a sharp knife or scissors.


  • 600g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 65g sugar
  • 1½tsps. (rounded) fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 325ml tepid milk (lukewarm)
  • 125g raisins

For the cross:

  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 2-3 tbsp. cold water
  • 2 tbsp. plain flour
  • For the glaze
  • 1 egg and 1 tbsp. maple syrup or runny honey.


  • Please ensure that the ingredients and equipment you will need are not too hard to find. This way your child can help share in the activity right from the start.
  • Don’t forget to include them in the hygiene measures as well i.e. the washing of hands and cleaning the work surfaces before and after cooking.

Care & Attention

Every effort should be made to enable your child to have a go and to participate and see every stage but they must remain a safe distance away from any hot trays, sharp knives and the oven.

There are a number of food handling skills that younger children can be involved with such as:

  • Collecting the items (above)
  • Cracking and beating the egg (you can strain them later if necessary)
  • Spooning and sifting the flour and spices (let your child smell the spices first)
  • Kneading a little of the dough and making the buns
  • Weighing out the ingredients (subject to having child friendly scales)
  • Rolling the pastry crosses for the tops
  • Brushing the top of the buns with egg wash
  • Placing the crosses on the top and counting the buns
  • Spreading the buns with butter or margarine.

Off we go…

Collect the items and ingredients you need.

Weigh out the ingredients.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and spices.

Make a well in the center and add the sunflower oil, sugar, yeast, egg and tepid milk.

Mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough ball.

Tip out onto a lightly floured surface.

Knead the dough by pulling the edges of the dough into the middle, pushing down hard and repeating.

This is quite hard work and you need to do this for 10 to 15 minutes or so, to develop the elasticity.

*Alternatively these stages can be replaced by using a food processor or bread-maker for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.

Flatten the dough out and mix in raisins. Continue to knead until evenly spread throughout the dough.

Knead for 5 min until smooth and stretchy.

Form and roll the dough into a large sausage and cut into 12 or so equal slices.

Knead each slice pulling the edges into the middle and form a round ball.

Mix the second egg in a small bowl and add 1 tbsp. of runny honey or maple syrup.


Brush each roll liberally.

To make the pastry crosses.

Carefully mix the plain flour with a teaspoon of sunflower oil and 2-3 tablespoons of cold water.

The consistency needs to be soft but firm so that it can be rolled out easily.

Divide the pastry ball into 12 or so pieces and roll each ball into 2 long thin strips that span your bun.

Flatten them slightly and then place them carefully onto the buns in the form of a cross.

Set them aside in a warmish place for at least 1 hour until they have doubled in size.


Help your child set the time for at 1 hour and place your buns in a warm place. The timer is to help your child understand the concept of time and make the waiting fun.

Approximately 1 hour later turn on the oven and then when they have doubled in size transfer the buns to the oven to 180C gas 7 and bake for 15 -20 minutes, or until golden-brown.

As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with a little more maple syrup or runny honey and then set aside to cool on a wire rack.

To serve:

Slice the warm buns in half and spread with a little butter or sunflower spread.