Autumn, Easter & Hot Cross Muffins…

My kids love the change of the seasons and the festivals and all that comes with them. Whether it be the craft activities, the nature walks or the cooking that we do – they revel in the new season and the turning of the wheel of the year.  The first thing we always do at the change of season is decorate our nature table.  This year the kids did it on their own and came up with a lovely spread of autumn crafts and bounties of nature harvest – which you can see in the picture to the right.

With Autumn here in the southern hemisphere, we also have Easter. It is often hard to reconcile the spring theme of chicks, bunnies, eggs and new life that is typical of traditional Easter.  So we have to come up with our own meanings that include respecting the turning of the year and the move inward after the long summer.  The planting of bulbs that will lie dormant over the cooler winter months – ready to be born again in spring –  is one favourite activity that echoes the shift within that this season brings.

The kids wanted to make hot cross buns this week – given that Easter is upon us. As I have been doing grain free cooking for a while, it was off the list to make a bread-type yeasted roll. So I came up with the idea of making Hot Cross Muffins instead.  Lightly spicy and fruity and only mildly sweet, these little muffins are very reminiscent of traditional hot cross buns. Topping with cashew cream (or even dark chocolate) piped in a cross shape makes them also look the part.

Enjoy this easy healthy recipe and the shift in the seasons!



Gluten Free Hot Cross Muffins


– makes 12 muffins



  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 3/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca
  • 3/4 cup of mixed fruit (currants, raisins, cranberries, goji berries)
  • grated zest of one orange
  • 1/3 cup of coconut sugar or rapadura sugar
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon


  • 100g butter melted or coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey


  • Stir all dry ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.
  • Beat eggs with butter, vanilla & honey or maple syrup.
  • Fold wet mix into dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Scoop into greased muffin tins and bake for 18 minutes in moderate oven.
  • Cool on rack before piping the topping on in a cross shape.
  • Alternatively, you can quickly pipe the cashew topping on half way through the cooking, if you prefer the cross to be set rather than it being moist (but be quick or else they might not rise as well if you leave the oven open too long!)
Cashew Cream recipe
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 3-4 tablespoons of water
Grind the cashews in a grinder/blender then whip together with maple syrup and water until a thick cream consistency. Use as a mock icing on cakes or muffins.  To pipe, put the filling in one corner of a clean plastic bag and snip the corner to make a small hole – then you have a homemade piping bag 🙂