Recipe: Diabetes-friendly hot cross buns

I have friends who have type 2 diabetes and they say they can eat these and not feel guilty, which makes them a perfect Easter treat. Best eaten warm and spread with butter, they are also ideal toasted the next day. And, if you have any left over, they can be used to make a hot cross bun bread and butter pudding. These buns can also be frozen for up to a month.

If you wish to lower the glycaemic index (GI) of each bun, you can use half wholemeal flour and half strong white bread flour.

Nutritional info

Sukrin is a naturally occurring sweetener derived from fruits and fungi, such as melons, mushrooms and pears. It is produced by a fermentation process. Sukrin is safe for people with diabetes as it does not affect blood sugar in the way that regular sugar would. 

How to make diabetes-friendly hot cross buns

Makes 12 buns


  • 500 g strong white flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 70 g Sukrin Gold - a natural brown sugar alternative
  • 2 tsp mixed spice (8 g)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (2 g)
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 10 g fine sea salt
  • 12 g dried yeast
  • 50 g unsalted butter or margarine
  • 150 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 medium egg lightly beaten
  • 40 g sultanas
  • 40 g dried blueberries or cranberries
  • Zest of an unwaxed orange
  • Zest of a unwaxed lemon
  • Olive oil (for greasing)

For the crosses

  • 80 g plain flour
  • 100 ml water

For the glaze

  • 60 ml milk and water (half and half)
  • 30 g Sukrin Gold

Baking tools

  • 2 lightly greased baking sheets lined with parchment.
  • A medium plastic bowl.
  • A disposable piping bag and a 3 mm nozzle - if you haven't got this nozzle you can fill the piping bag with the flour-and-water cross mixture and snip off the end to create a small hole for piping.
  • Large tumbler to support the piping bag.


  1. Sift the flour, Sukrin, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg together into a large bowl. Place the salt on one side of the bowl and the dried yeast on the opposite side.

  2. Heat the butter/margarine in a pan until melted (you can also do this in the microwave). Allow to cool slightly.

  3. Place the 150 ml of milk in a heat-proof measuring jug, before adding boiling water to bring the level up to 300 ml - this will give you a warm but not hot liquid. Allow to cool slightly.

  4. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the melted butter, half the milk mixture and the egg.

  5. Use your hand to bring the mixture together, turning the bowl as you bring it in from the edges.

  6. Pour in the sultanas, blueberries/cranberries, orange and lemon zest. Continue to mix well.

  7. Gradually add more of the milk until you have a fairly soft dough. The dough is better for being slightly wetter than too dry.

  8. Lightly dust the work surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. I usually find this takes about 500 turns.

  9. Oil a large bowl, form the dough into a ball and place inside. Cover with clingfilm and put in in a warm place to rise for about 1-1½ hours or to about doubled in size.

  10. Turn the risen dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead out some of the larger air bubbles (this is called 'knocking back') before kneading a little more.

  11. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. If you want 12 identical buns then simply weigh the dough and divide by 12.

  12. To shape each bun into a round with your hands, turn the dough a quarter turn pulling the edge of the dough into the middle. Do this several times. Place your fingertips on the work surface and form your hand into a dome; rotate your hand to form the bun into a nicely formed, smooth round.

  13. Place the buns on the baking sheet making sure they are placed well apart. (About six per sheet.) Place each baking sheet in a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn't touch the buns. Leave to rise for about 40 minutes or until the buns have doubled in size.

  14. Set the oven for 220°C, or 200°C for a fan assisted oven, Gas Mark 7.

  15. Whilst the dough is rising make the paste for piping the crosses. Place the plain flour in a bowl and gradually add the water until you have a not too soft paste that will squeeze easily from the nozzle but not run out freely.

  16. Fill a disposable icing bag with this mixture.

  17. When the buns have risen remove the polythene bag, snip the end off the piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.

  18. Place the buns in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch. Check on the buns half way through the bake and turn the baking sheet if the buns are over-browning on one side.

  19. Whilst the buns are baking, prepare the glaze. Heat the milk and water with the Sukrin.

  20. When the buns come out of the oven and are still warm, brush them twice with the glaze. Leave on a cooling rack to cool.

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