Hot cross buns, coconut slice and chocolate cookies: three vegan baking recipes by Georgia Irwin | Australian food and drink

Vegan hot cross buns

(Pictured above)

When it comes to hot cross buns, I love cutting them in half, toasting them in butter in a frying pan and spreading more cold butter on top. They are also super delicious when eaten fresh with butter or apricot jam. These buns can be frozen for three months wrapped tightly in cling wrap or in an airtight container.

Prep 20 min
Proofing 1–2 hours
Baking 20–25 minutes

Makes 12

7g dry active yeast (2¼ tsp)
560g plain flour or bread flour (4½ cups)
100-110g caster sugar or brown sugar (½ cup)
10g cinnamon (1 tbsp)
2g ground ginger (½ tsp)
2g ground allspice (½ tsp)
1g salt (¼ tsp)
125g vegan butter (½ cup)
250ml plant-based milk – I use soy (1 cup)
160g raisins or sultanas
8g lemon or orange zest (2 tsp)
40g candied mixed peel – optional (¼ cup)

For the floured cross
60g plain or bread flour (½ cup)
85ml water (⅓ cup)

For the glaze
20g apricot jam (2 tbsp)
40ml warm water

To make the dough, add the yeast, flour, sugar, spices and salt into a mixing bowl, or in a bowl attached to a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.

In a microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan on the stovetop, melt the vegan butter.

Add the melted vegan butter, milk, raisins or sultanas, zest and candied peel (if using) to the dry ingredients. If hand mixing, stir with a wooden spoon until well combined, then knead on a floured surface for five to 10 minutes. If using a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine for five minutes on low. When the dough is ready it should look smooth, start to pull away from the bowl, and not break apart when stretched. If the mixture is too wet and sticky, add a little more flour and continue mixing or kneading.

Cover the kneaded dough in a bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm spot for one to two hours. (The exact time will depend on how warm the resting spot is.)

When the dough has doubled in size, line a baking tray with baking paper or vegan butter. Remove the cling wrap from the dough (keep it and put it aside, you will need it again). Punch down the dough, then heap on to a floured surface and lightly knead to deflate it.

Cut the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball shape. The best way to get an even surface on top is to fold the dough underneath to smooth out the top of the ball.

Add the buns to a lined baking tray keeping them about 1cm to 2cm apart. Place the cling wrap or a clean tea towel over the baking tray and leave the buns to rest in a warm spot for 30 to 45 minutes or until they have almost doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan.

To make the floured cross, combine the flour and water to form a smooth paste. Add the paste to a piping bag or a ziplock bag; try to remove all of the lumps so the paste flows through the bag without blocking it. (If you are using a piping bag, use a small round tip. If you are using a ziplock bag, cut a small section off the corner of the bag.)

Remove the cling wrap or tea towel from the buns and pipe a cross (or any pattern you prefer) over each bun.

Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the dough is golden on top. Remove from the oven.

To make the glaze, combine the apricot jam and water, then brush over the warm buns to create a shiny, sugary glaze.

Vegan chocolate almond butter cookies

Crunchy, sweet and a little salty: Georgia Irwin’s vegan chocolate almond butter cookies. Photograph: Affirm Press

Like choc chip cookies, but with added crunch. The combination of chocolate and almonds balance each other out and create a great texture. I highly recommend flaking some extra sea salt on top for that sweet-and-salty flavour. If you can’t find almond butter you can substitute it with peanut butter or Biscoff spread. These cookies will last one week in an airtight container at room temperature.

Prep 20 min
Baking 14–15 min

Makes 12

125g vegan butter (½ cup)
200g brown sugar (1 cup)
250g almond butter (1 cup)
30g coconut oil, solid, not melted (2 tbsp)
250g plain flour (2 cups)
4g baking powder (1 tsp)
2g bicarbonate of soda (½ tsp)
150g vegan dark chocolate (1 cup)
80g flaked almonds (½ cup)
A pinch of salt flakes to scatter (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan. Line or grease a baking tray.

In a large bowl, cream together the vegan butter, brown sugar, almond butter and coconut oil until combined. (Cream either with a paddle on your stand mixer, or with a wooden spoon.)

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In another large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the batter and combine well.

Chop the chocolate and almonds into small chunks. Set aside a quarter-cup of chopped chocolate.

Add the chopped almonds and three-quarters of a cup of chocolate to the dough and mix until combined. (For a chewier, softer cookie, cover the cookie dough and rest for 15 to 20 minutes in the fridge.)

Roll the cookie dough into 12 even balls and place on the lined tray, evenly spaced apart. Gently press down on each cookie ball so it forms more of a thick disc shape. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes until the cookies start to crack on top.

Remove the tray from the oven and gently press a few pieces of the reserved chocolate into the tops of the warm cookies. Sprinkle the salt over, if using.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking tray. If you move them while they are warm they will break apart easily. They will firm up once cooled.

Vegan coconut jam slice

Worthy of a comeback: Georgia Irwin’s coconut jam slice. Photograph: Affirm Press

When I was growing up, slices were everywhere: at bake sales, houses and cafes. Now I feel slices have slowly disappeared from the dessert world – but they deserve to make a comeback, and this coconut jam slice should be at the forefront. This slice will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for five to six days.

Total prep and baking 1½ hours

Makes 9–12 slices

250g plain flour (2 cups)
120g caster sugar (½ cup)
A pinch of salt
250g vegan butter (1 cup)
250g jam – I used raspberry

For the top layer
60g vegan butter (¼ cup)
160g desiccated coconut (2 cups)
20g cornflour (2 tbsp)
60g caster sugar (¼ cup)

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line a 20x20cm baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. In a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop, melt the vegan butter, then pour into the dry ingredients. With a spatula or wooden spoon, mix until combined.

Press the mixture into the lined baking pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden on top, then remove from the oven.

To make the top layer, melt the vegan butter. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, coconut, cornflour and sugar, and set aside.

While the slice base is still warm, spread an even layer of jam on top. Make sure the jam goes all the way to the edges and corners of the pan.

Sprinkle the coconut mixture evenly over the jam, and return the slice to the oven to bake for a further 20 minutes.

Allow the slice to fully cool in the pan. Carefully remove from the pan, then slice.

  • This is an edited extract from The Vegan Home Baker by Georgia Irwin, available now from Affirm Press (RRP $44.99)

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