Easter is fast approaching, meaning four days to justifiably devour unhealthy amounts of chocolate are just around the corner. It also means hot cross buns are officially in season, the perfect treat to slather in butter and enjoy with a cup of tea as a mid-morning pick-me-up (and mid-afternoon, and mid-evening).
Each year, it seems more and more bakeries, cafes and big-name brands are coming out with their own take on the traditional holiday treat. In 2019, Krispy Kreme revealed its hot cross doughnuts, which were met with mixed reviews from the Newshub team, and last year, we ranked the best hot cross buns throughout Aotearoa. Whether you like yours toasted with butter, fresh with jam, chewy with sultanas or gooey with chocolate, the humble HCB can prove controversial.
Now, New World has partnered with Nelson-based peanut butter brand, Pic's, to deliver a brand-new flavour of buns - the Gooey Peanut Butter Choc Cross Bun.
The latest, limited-edition take on the baked goods was designed by the team at New World Kaikoura after winning the Foodstuffs South Island annual Hot Cross Bun Competition - and now the winning flavour is available in New World stores across the country.
The annual bake-off gives New World's qualified teams of in-house bakers the chance to get creative, submitting their original hot cross bun recipes for an opportunity to have their creation sold in the supermarket's bakeries nationwide.
When whipping up their decadent take on the traditional bun, New World Kaikoura's in-house bakers opted for Pic's peanut butter - a decision bakery manager, Steve Ogden, described as a "no brainer".
"Pic's is my favourite," he said.
And the creation has the seal of approval from Pic's founder, Pic Picot.
"We're looking forward to seeing Kiwis dig into the new hot cross buns at Easter. It's great to be able to partner with [New World] in the creation of this delicious hot cross bun that we know customers will love," Picot said.
If you love a HCB for brekkie, Sultana Bran has launched a limited-edition Sultana Bran Hot Cross Bun Flavour Cereal. The cereal combines malty flakes and sultanas with cinnamon and spice, so if you're not so hot on bread, this is also a great alternative to capture the indulgent flavours of Easter.
And if you like to get creative in the kitchen, instead of throwing the same supermarket six-pack into your trolley, why not have a go at making some hot cross buns yourself? Here's a super-simple recipe that even beginner home-bakers can whip together.
To add a little pizazz to your store-bought buns, look no further than this 'hot cross vanilla slice'. Simply whip up a batch of creamy homemade custard to transform bog-standard buns into a delicious dessert.