This fun snack is simple to make and great for getting your Early Years involved in some messy maths play, with a yummy treat at the end! It is best suited for older children any size of group.
Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:
What you will need:
This recipe makes eight buns so, depending on the size of your group, you may want to double/triple it.
- 500g strong white bread flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 heaped tsp mixed spice
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g butter , chopped into cubes
- 200g mixed dried fruit
- 7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast
- 200ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- Golden syrup, for brushing
- Large mixing bowl
- Small bowls
- Blunt knife
- Baking tray
- Greaseproof paper or non-stick baking sheet
- Cling film
- Piping bag or plastic food bag
- 1 tsp
- 1 tbsp
- Pastry brush
Preparing the activity:
- Set out all ingredients on a table where the children can reach the items.
- Depending on the ability of the children in your group, or your own preference, you can simplify the recipe by preparing a few things before the activity:
- Mix together the salt, mixed spice and sugar in a mug or small bowl.
- Beat the eggs.
- Chop the butter into cubes.
- Pre-mix the 3 tbsp plain flour with 2 tbsp water so it makes a paste. Pour into your piping bag or plastic food bag and tie the top so it’s airtight.
Doing the activity:
Explain to the children that you will be making hot cross buns and must be very careful with the ingredients to ensure they turn out correctly.
Enable children, in turn, to weigh out the ingredients and help mixing and shaping the dough. While baking, encourage the children to count the ingredients, such as the tsps of mixed spice or how many eggs.
- Weigh out the flour into the large mixing bowl and add the salt, mixed spice and sugar. Stir these together.
- Weigh the butter and discuss with the children whether it was more or less than the flour. Encourage the children to rub it in with their fingertips. Pour in the dried fruit and yeast and stir the mixture. Gently warm the milk in the microwave so it is hot, but still cool enough to put your finger in for a couple of seconds. Beat the milk in with the eggs, then pour into the large bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
- Using the blunt knife, help the children mix the ingredients to a moist dough, then leave to soak for 5 mins (this is a great opportunity for a bit of tidying up!). Then take the mixture out of the bowl and help children to cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.
- Sprinkle flour over a flat surface and give each child a piece of dough to shape into a bun (it will help to demonstrate with your own piece of dough). Place the buns spaced evenly apart on the baking sheet or greaseproof paper, on the baking tray, cover loosely with cling film, then leave in a warm place until half again in size. This will take 45 mins-1 hr 15 mins, depending on how warm the room is. Again, this is a great time for handwashing, surface-cleaning and showing the children how important it is to tidy up.
- When the buns are risen, heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Mix the flour with 2 tbsp water so it forms a paste. Pour the past into your piping bag or plastic food bag and cut off one of the corners to make a small hole. The children can now use their fine motor skills to pipe their crosses on top of each bun!
- Bake the buns for 12-15 mins until risen and golden. Once they’re out of the oven, brush all over with the golden syrup. The buns are best eaten (or taken home to eat) that day.
During the baking process, enable the children to take charge of the weighing and measuring of ingredients as much as possible. It may also be fun to discuss where the different ingredients come from. For example, the flour is from wheat which grows from a seed, the butter is from milk from a cow and the raisins in the dried fruit are actually grapes from a vine! Photos or videos of these processes could be utilised while the children are waiting for the buns to rise or bake.
Here's a good explanation of how flour is made!
When the buns are finished and cooled, you and the children can enjoy the fruits of your labours in the form of a yummy, buttery hot cross bun!
Tracking the activity:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Making relationships: “Demonstrates friendly behaviour, initiating conversations and forming good relationships with peers and familiar adults.”
Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness: “Welcomes and values praise for what they have done.; Enjoys responsibility of carrying out small tasks.”
Communication and Language: Listening and attention: “Is able to follow directions (if not intently focused on own choice of activity).”
Physical Development: Moving and Handling: “Uses one-handed tools and equipment, e.g. makes snips in paper with child scissors.”
Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Making relationships: “Explains own knowledge and understanding, and asks appropriate questions of others.”
Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness: “Confident to speak to others about own needs, wants, interests and opinions.”
Communication and Language: Listening and attention: “Maintains attention, concentrates and sits quietly during appropriate activity.; Two-channelled attention – can listen and do for short span.”
Physical Development: Moving and Handling: “Handles tools, objects, construction and malleable materials safely and with increasing control.”