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Cross Buns

The Downlow on Hot Cross Buns

Nothing says Easter like hot cross buns and it seems these days as soon as boxing day arrives our shelves are flooded with them. So what is the history behind them and will they be on your plate this Easter?

History of the hot cross bun

In the 14th century an English monk made and distributed hot cross buns to his community on Good Friday in order to commemorate the passing of Jesus Christ. Since then they have been a big craze when it comes to Easter. Remember that rhyme “one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns”? Well turns out it was one of the first marketing jingles to sell their hot cross buns. For the christian faith, the hot cross buns marked the end of Lent, a period in christian belief in which the main ingredients of hot cross buns are given up in honour of Jesus’ fasting of 40 days and nights in the dessert.

The period of Lent ends the Sunday before Good Friday, known as Palm Sunday, when Jesus returns from the desert but traditionally they are eaten on Good Friday however as the cross they are adorned with symbolises the crucifixion of Jesus and the spices represent those of which he was embalmed in after his death. In other cultures cakes or biscuits are made and adorn the same symbols to commemorate the same celebration.

Hot cross buns today

There are so many different varieties of hot cross buns now, fruit, fruitless, chocolate, jalapeno, Vegemite and cheese, you name it there is probably a hot cross bun with that flavour but that’s not all hot cross buns come with. They also come with fibre to keep our bowels healthy, energy to keep us going as well as happiness, memories and good times that are shared with our loved ones.

In recent years however, the humble hot cross bun has been under scrutiny and demonised by the diet and wellness industry because of their high sugar and calorie content. One of the classic “expert” stories on hot cross buns is the this=that, where one hot cross bun is shown to equals x slices of bread but there is more to it than that, so lets investigate.

Hot cross buns under the microscope

I can sit here and tell you that:

  • 1 hot cross bun provides 84 calories, 18g carbohydrate, 2.3g of protein and 0.5g fibre.
  • 1 slice of wholegrain bread provides 69 calories, 11g carbohydrate, 3.5g of protein and 1.3g fibre.

But what does that mean to you?

To me this means there is really no difference between a slice of bread and a hot cross bun except one comes with traditions and because I’m a sucker for tradition, I’ll be swapping my morning toast for a hot cross bun at Easter.

I’ll be swapping my morning toast for a hot cross bun at Easter.

To you this could mean that slice of bread is better and therefore this Easter you’ll be skipping the hot cross bun but what else will you be skipping? I guess what I’m here to say is that Easter is not the time to squabble over a few calories or grams of whatever but rather a time to be shared with family and friends enjoying the foods you enjoy.

Remember Easter only comes once a year for a total of 4 days, what is 4 days out of 365? Go ahead and enjoy your hot cross bun x