Hot Cross Cookies

by jenna on April 20, 2011

Let’s be honest, who really has time to make hot cross buns these days? I mean, I love the idea of them but between making the dough, waiting for it to rise and then baking, it’s a three hour ordeal.

In three hours you could do yoga, buy a new Easter sundress at Target, curl your hair and bake these cookies.

That way you win all around. You’ll have exercised, will look totally cute in your new dress with your great hair and you’ll have done your part for Easter dinner.


To be honest, these hot cross cookies are really just thick, glorified sugar cookies. What makes them special is of course the icing cross, but also the traditional addition of lemon zest and currants.

Confession: I had never even tried a currant until yesterday.

They aren’t half bad! And that’s coming from a girl that hates raisins. Go figure.

You’ll be the life of your Easter dinner if you come bearing these cookies (in your new sundress of course). They’re super fun and only take thirty minutes to make….versus three hours.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to run to Target.

Hot Cross Cookies

inspired by Gourmet

makes about 2 dozen cookies

Print this recipe!


1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

zest of one lemon

1/2 cup currants

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

2 cups all purpose flour

for glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1-2 tsp milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the powdered sugar and regular sugar, and then add the oil, egg, lemon zest, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

Add flour and currants to dough and then scoop out small balls and place on a lined baking sheet.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes–they will be pale but just starting to get golden around the edges. Let cool completely.

To make the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar and milk. You want icing to be very thick so it won’t run all over the cookies. Stuff icing into a plastic bag, cut off the tip and then make crosses on each cookie once cool.


30 minutes

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather (Heather's Dish) April 20, 2011 at 5:03 am

these are such a cute idea…and who wouldn’t love a glorified sugar cookie?! i’ll take mine with a frosting cross any day of the week :)


mary (sisters running the kitchen) April 20, 2011 at 5:06 am

ive never had a hot cross bun/cookie! looks delicious though.


Laurie @SimplyScratch April 20, 2011 at 5:07 am

I’ll take a dozen!


Molly April 20, 2011 at 5:07 am

I love the simplicity of these! And anything with lemon zest-sign me up!


amy walters, aDESIGNdock April 20, 2011 at 5:12 am

What a great recipe Jenna 😉 I love this idea!!!


cait April 20, 2011 at 5:15 am

fabulous idea girl! love love this! xo have a great wed pretty girl!


megan @ blackberries for jam April 20, 2011 at 5:19 am

What a great recipe! If only it were warm enough here to wear a sundress for Easter . . . I may have to settle for a warm wooly sweater!


Claire @ Live and Love to Eat April 20, 2011 at 5:24 am

Currants are great! I like raisins on their own, but use currants when baking or in my oatmeal. These cookies look delicious!


Faith @ lovelyascharged April 20, 2011 at 5:26 am

That is such a fun spin on a traditional recipe! I’ve never had a currant either!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 20, 2011 at 5:30 am

Cookies and sundresses? I like the way you think!


Jen @ keepitsimplefoods April 20, 2011 at 5:34 am

So lovely.


Stacey (Being Stacey) April 20, 2011 at 5:36 am

Such a cute & unique idea!


Heather M April 20, 2011 at 5:42 am

I’ve never tried currants either, I keep looking at them, but I never buy them. This might be the recipe that changes that. They look amazing, thanks for sharing.


Jessica @ How Sweet April 20, 2011 at 5:46 am

These are so cute!


Estela @ Weekly Bite April 20, 2011 at 5:47 am

These are so pretty! I want one now :)


Cait @ Beyond Bananas April 20, 2011 at 5:57 am

I’ve never had currants either.. those cookies look yummy!


Urban Wife April 20, 2011 at 6:19 am

Love the idea of cookies instead of buns! Currants are yum.


Holly @ The Runny Egg April 20, 2011 at 6:30 am

Those cookies are so cute! And you’ve reminded me that I need something to wear on Easter!


Brittney April 20, 2011 at 6:34 am

Hi Jenna! I feel kind of awkward commenting because while I read your blog daily, I’ve probably only commented a handful of times in the 2+ years I’ve been reading it. Anyway, I was reading the recent issue of Whole Living and came across a little blurb about a new book written by Wendy McClure called The Wilder Life.

I know you’ve mentioned a few times on the blog about your obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder, so I thought you might be interested in this :) Okay, now that I sort of feel like a stalker now, I’ll end this by thanking you for keeping up with this wonderful blog. You’re recipes and pictures always look so good. I’m looking forward to making your peanut butter bread in the near future, which I think is one of the greatest ideas ever seeing how I’m obsessed with peanut butter haha. I don’t think that’s something I would have ever thought of on my own :)


Kelly April 20, 2011 at 6:38 am

Too cute!!


Evan Thomas April 20, 2011 at 6:39 am

These are so pretty just to look at. I bet they taste great, too.


Krystina (Organically Me) April 20, 2011 at 6:39 am

Well these are super adorable.


Maria April 20, 2011 at 6:40 am

Love this idea!!


Hannah (Culture Connoisseur) April 20, 2011 at 6:53 am

I love the china you have them sitting on. So pretty! I always love seeing the way you display your creations.

These look good. A little to late to fit them on the Easter menu but I see no reason why people would love it at any party regardless of holiday. :)


Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 20, 2011 at 7:02 am

I didn’t know if anyone still made hot cross buns :)


Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 20, 2011 at 7:19 am

I think just the fact that their cookies makes them beat the buns away way!

hehe beat the buns 😛


d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo April 20, 2011 at 7:28 am

What a clever idea! I think those currants would be fantastic in scones!


Natalia - a side of simple April 20, 2011 at 7:32 am

Pretty sure I’m going to be humming this song all day long now. I guess I just better make these cookies for a cure 😉


Courtney T. April 20, 2011 at 7:38 am

Cute and delicious! Might just have to bring these to the ol’ Easter family function this weekend! Thanks :) And Target… such a great place! Go shopping for these ingredients AND a cute dress!


Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) April 20, 2011 at 7:58 am

Hot cross cookies. Genius! I will be making these. 😀


Morgan @ Life After Bagels April 20, 2011 at 8:10 am

confession: I couldn’t find currants in my grocery store so I subbed dry cherries in a new chickpea tagine recipe I made last week – GROSS!


Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 20, 2011 at 8:10 am

I don’t think I’ve ever tried currants before either! This recipe sound incredible though – love the frosting strips too!


Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef April 20, 2011 at 8:17 am

cute cookies! i’ve never had currants either :)


Lucy @ The Sweet Touch April 20, 2011 at 8:20 am

Mmmmm, tasty!

Did you see the hot cross biscuits over at Joy the Baker? I love all these variations on hot cross buns! And it still always makes me think of the very first song I learned to play on the saxophone:)


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 20, 2011 at 8:42 am

I actually made hot cross buns in my food science lab a few weeks ago! I don’t know if I’d be willing to put in that kind of time to make them again, so these are a perfect alternative! 😀


Errign April 20, 2011 at 9:01 am

yay for cookies & hating raisins!


McKella April 20, 2011 at 9:19 am

Currants, huh? I’ve never tried them either, but I’ll have to put them on my ever-growing “to-try” list (right under tempeh and escargot)
These cookies look divine. I’m having a “cookie party” on monday, and these just might make an appearance.


Jessica @ The Process of Healing April 20, 2011 at 9:40 am

I’m not a big fan of raisins but those look GOOD!


Meghan @ StruggleMuffins April 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

The hot cross cookies look sublime…pillowy and better yet – frosting-y mmm :)


Sonia (the Mexigarian) April 20, 2011 at 10:14 am

They look cute and yummy. I’ve never had hot cross buns before so these cookies will be a surprise. :)


Julie (Food & Other Things) April 20, 2011 at 10:26 am

Love this idea, they’re perfect for Easter!


Ely April 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

So adorable! I’m having friends over for Easter weekend, and these seem like they would be a perfect “aren’t I an awesome hostess” snack to have around.


Beth @ DiningAndDishing April 20, 2011 at 10:48 am

I love it Jenna! As my fam is from England, my parents would always go on a quest every Easter to get some traditional hot cross buns. I was never much of a fan but a hot cross cookie? That’s an idea I could get into!


R @ Learning As I Chop April 20, 2011 at 10:55 am

Zante currants sound so exotic


Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather April 20, 2011 at 11:20 am

Very cute with the cross!


jenn April 20, 2011 at 11:30 am

Oh yeahhhh… I noticed Target a couple of times in this post!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Confession: I had never even tried a currant until yesterday = I havent had one in about 20 yrs since I was growing up and my grandma baked with them!

I love the big, white, powdered sugar glaze “crosses” on these :)


Baking 'n' Books April 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Cute! I forgot it was Easter.

Jenna, you mentioned that you “only” do yoga 4x/week (NOT only girl! that’s alot!) – but you also Hike a lot and are just generally active aren’t you? like skiing and stuff…


Mara April 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I think she was referring to the fact that she is only doing Yoga right now (meaning not running, elliptical, gym, etc… just yoga). And I think she has shown in her posts that she enjoys outdoor activities from time to time.
DO what works for YOU!!!


Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) April 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Wow that is one good looking cookie! I especially love the glaze, so yummy 😀


krista April 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I wish I could make those! I’m stuck at school this year for Easter, so I might hit up Panera for some hot cross buns on Sunday. :)


Laura April 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Yum! Although I have to admit nothing can substitute for a hot cross bun at Easter for me! I love my recipe for them (from “Ladies, A Plate”) and it’s really quick to mix up, then it’s just a matter of leaving them to rise in the sun while I carry on. And coming hot from the oven last night – so worth it! :)


Katrina April 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Yum! These are right up my alley – simple and pretty. Nice.


Molly April 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm

These looked so good that I just had to make them! I didn’t have any currants though, so I used Jumbo Raisins from Trader Joe’s. If you’re not a fan of raisins you have to try these! They are all different colors, sweet and tart. WAY better than raisins, and they were great in the hot cross cookies!


Justeen @ Blissful Baking April 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm

The cookies look great! I have that same box of currants in my cupboard right now, and it was my first time trying them too. Love them!


Happy When Not Hungry April 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm

These cookies look great and def perfect for Easter! Love how easy they are too :-)


Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl April 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I’ve picked up currants at least a dozen times but never actually made it to the checkout line with them! These cookies look like a great excuse to grab a box and put ’em to use!


Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily April 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Sometimes I like to make foods that have a long lag time. It gives me a chance get other things done and then at the end I have a sweet treat.


Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen April 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm

These are so cute!


Lora @cakeduchess April 20, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I’m baking these little beauties with the kids on Saturday for Easter. So simple. So perfect. :)


Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) April 20, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Zante currants are actually a variety of raisin! Haha :) I found that out not that long ago and was very confused. I love them though!


Ruth April 21, 2011 at 1:22 am

I was just thinkiing the other day that I couldn’t be bothered to make hot cross buns from scratch – this is the perfect solution! Cheers!


Heidi - Apples Under My Bed April 22, 2011 at 1:03 am

You’ve never tried a currant until now?! I’m glad you have, they’re mighty tasty. Love the addition of lemon zest here. Yum! Happy Easter :)
Heidi xo


MC April 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Those cookies look both adorable and tasty. I’ve only had currants once in my life, from a tiny farmer’s market in England. They were wonderful, and not at all what I expected. Here, I’ve only seen them dried though. Ah well. Mustn’t complain. We already have an amazing selection of fruits and veggies year round in Cali anyway.


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