I find there's something so nostalgic and cosy about Easter time, and I completely adore it. Maybe it's the shift of the seasons happening at this time of year, the summer warmth giving way to the colder and cosier months. Maybe it's the fond memories that I have of chocolate-fuelled long weekends spent running around my grandparents' home in the mountains (I can't say much has changed…). Maybe it's the understated and easy-going nature of Easter, compared to Christmas, as families come together to spend time with each other, without that seemingly inescapable stress that Christmas time brings. Maybe it's simply that smell of baking hot cross buns, the scent of cinnamon reaching every corner of the house.

As I've grown older, hot cross buns have steadily overtaken chocolate's prime status as my favoured Easter treat (!) and I find myself hanging out for them in the months leading up to Easter. I just can't say no to a freshly-toasted, dried-fruit-studded, cinnamon-spiced, subtly sweet homemade hot cross bun (especially when paired with a cup of tea!). But I think it's their fleeting, transient nature that I love most - with only a few weeks out of every year in which to make the most of their goodness, they take on a somewhat ephemeral quality.

These muffins were very much a trial-and-error experiment. I obviously wanted to bake up some hot cross buns myself, however I've had zero time for bread-making lately, so I thought why not take the whole yeast step out of the mix and see what I end up with? I basically ended up with scones, which were fabulously delicious and hot-cross-bunny (heh) regardless. I then played around with the recipe, remade them, and ended up with these muffins instead. The texture is deliciously soft, and subtly sweet, studded with currants and a hint of citrus, and to top it all off, I made the cross out of raw cacao for extra deliciousness. Plus, they're vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free - much unlike the buns you find in supermarkets.

Hope you enjoy them as much as my family and I did!

What you need:

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour (I actually ground my own in our little electric coffee grinder, using Loving Earth caramelised buckinis)
2/3 of a cup of amaranth four
2 teaspoons of (gluten free if necessary) baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
A pinch of salt
A pinch of ground ginger
1 tsp of fresh orange zest
1 tablespoon of coconut sugar
3 big handfuls of currants/sultanas/dried fruit of your choice

1 tblsp of olive oil
2 tblsp of maple syrup/agave/raw honey
1 cup of almond mylk (I'm sure any kind of milk would work)

Note: you'll find amaranth flour at health food/organic stores. It has a very earthy, nutty flavour, and is also very absorbent - quite like coconut flour. I would imagine subbing coconut flour would work nicely, or if you'd rather use another flour, please keep in mind that the wet/dry ratio would have to alter depending on the absorbency of the flour you use.

What you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celcius, line a muffin tray with patty pans (I used a shallow 12 muffin pan - they're not big muffins, more like muffin bites)

Mix your buckwheat flour, amaranth flour, baking powder, salt and spices together. Add the coconut sugar, orange zest and currants, and mix.

In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, almond mylk, and honey until well combined.

Add the wet into the dry, and stir it up. Let it sit there for 5 or minutes, to allow the amaranth flour to soak up the liquid. Give it a stir every now and then. Dollop into the patty pans, and pop into the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make your crosses, literally all you need is one part raw cacao powder (I use Loving Earth) to two parts water. I used 1 tablespoon of cacao, 2 of water, then mixed it up really well. Once the muffins have been in the oven for ten minutes, take them out and drizzle the chocolate mixture across the tops to form the cross. It could get messy. This is fine. Pop them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Leave them to cool for long enough that you don't burn your fingers, but not too long, because they're best served warm. If you're not eating them straight away, just pop them back into the oven for a few minutes, or into the microwave for 15 seconds or so, to reheat them before eating.

These muffins are very subtly sweet because I made them with the anticipation of eating them warm with a slather of 100% fruit jam across them (which was a great life decision). If you have a sweet tooth, consider adding more coconut sugar.

Happy Easter love bunnies!