Easter buns

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Hot cross buns aren't what they used to be.

Dietician Amanda Clark, creator of the Portion Perfection Diet Plan which recommends the right size meal for weight loss and maintenance says, size and content does matter when it comes to buns.

"Originally we just had the traditional buns with the fruit but now there's fruitless, there's mocha, chocolate, chocolate chip, raspberry and it goes on …No matter how healthy or how cheap a bun might be if it's going to make you fatter it's not going to be good value," says Dietician Amanda.

Amanda compared buns made by independent bakeries and the supermarkets to compile her list of which ones are good and bad for you. The fewer the calories, the better.

"So 100 (calories) for weight loss, 200 for weight maintenance. Some of these buns go way over and it also depends on how much butter or margarine you're going to put on top of it," says Amanda.

"I was really surprised to see how many preservatives and additives of all kinds were in these buns. Most of the ones that don't contain fruit are quite high in fat and sugar, some of them I found to be quite high in salt but it's possible for a traditional hot cross bun to be a healthy option," explains Amanda.

Her results later, in the meantime we called in a panel for a taste test of ten brands of traditional fruit buns led by radio star Amanda Blair who won first-prize for her cake at last year's Royal Show.

The other judges are chocolatier Steven TerHorst, SAFM breakfast host Hayley Pearson, mum Cher Zollo and her son Xavier.

We also asked them to rate a dozen milk chocolate eggs and bunnies. From top end quality and price to those bought in supermarkets.

But back to those buns…

First to our Dietician Amanda Clark. Her top picks for value and nutrition are Coles traditional minis, their traditional regular, Brumby's traditional and Woolworths fruitless.

"If you want to watch your weight, then go for the mini hot cross buns and I found those in both Coles and Woolworths there's about 100 calories in a bun, that's before you put spread on it. Most of the other buns are around 200 calories but by the time you put some spread on it you're up to about 300 calories which is definitely a weight gain snack," says Amanda.

But Amanda was surprised at the wide range of additives.

"…It ranged from the Brumby's traditional fruit bun that had just 2 additives in there to the Brumby's chocolate based buns that had 21. There's a variety of reactions that people can have to preservatives including skin reactions and asthma and behavioural reactions," says Amanda.

As for our taste panel, Kytons Bakery, winner of last year's national hot cross bun title was third, then Baker's Delight, with the winner, Vilis.

But big thumbs down for Tip Top with very little fruit and a bit of an odd taste.

Then Amanda Blair threw a spanner in the works by giving us a taste of her personal favourites baked by Louie Langanis at his Goodwood bakehouse.

"You can taste the cinnamon all the way down and it doesn't stick to the roof of your mouth like a lot of those other things do. Amanda? Right again, tops," agrees Frank.

When it came to sampling those Easter chocolate sweets in a blind test, our panel was up to the challenge.

And the results…. third was the German Gubor and the Kinder Surprise bunnies, second the Lindt egg and top pick, Haigh's large egg.

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