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Friday, April 22, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

Yay! I'm starting to feel back to my normal self again. Meaning, I'm interested in being back in the kitchen. For the past few weeks, I was feeling quite under the weather and it was taking all of my energy to muster up even the blandest food. I made soup the other day and it tasted like a bowl of water with vegetables! Blech! Thankfully, I was feeling inspired for the coming Easter holiday and decided to attempt my hand at some Hot Cross Buns! It's Good Friday and these spiced buns are normally served today.
Hot Cross buns! Hot Cross buns! One ha' penny, two ha' penny, Hot Cross buns! If you have no daughters, give them to your sons. One ha' penny, two ha' penny, Hot Cross buns!

Does anyone remember this rhyme? I used to sing it all the time because it was in one the piano books I used to play from. But now I'm confused by it. Why do the daughters get the buns first? And what if the person had a daughter and a son? Does the son get one after the daughter? Or is the son s.o.l.? Hmm. I might need to do some research about this.

Anyway, these are absolutely delightful! For a treat that uses yeast, they are pretty low maintenance and easy. The dough was not sticky to deal with and I loved the way the butter was melted with the milk! These would be perfect for Easter morning or for a treat with an afternoon cup of tea. I ended up dividing my dough in half, making one dozen with chocolate chips and one dozen with raisins. They are sweeter than a normal bread, but you don't feel like you are eating all sugar for breakfast! But I will note that I added a lot of icing to them because it was so good! These were great as is but next time I will add some citrus zest to the dough, or even some ground gloves or allspice, to pack in even more flavor. Enjoy!
Hot Cross Buns
from BakingDom
Yield: 24 buns (recipe can be cut in half easily)
**To halve the recipe, reduce the flour to 2 1/2 cups and the yeast to 1 1/4 tsp, but still use 1 whole egg. Divide the remaining ingredients in half normally.**
  • 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk, divided (use 3/4 cup hot milk, 3/4 cup cold milk)
  • 1/2 cup raisins, currants, or chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 egg, whisked with a tsp of water for egg wash (optional)
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Food coloring (optional)
  1. To make the buns: combine the flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the 3/4 cup hot milk with the butter pieces and stir until the butter is melted. Add the 3/4 cup cold milk, then stir in the lightly beaten egg.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough just forms. Cover with a clean dry towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Once rested, add the raisins, currants, or chocolate chips, if using. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour 1-2 Tbsp at a time. If too dry, add more milk.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  5. Once the dough has risen, spray two 9x13 inch baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
  6. Divide the dough into 24 pieces, each weighing 2 ounces.
  7. Gently shape each piece into a smooth, tight boule. Cover with a clean, dry towel and allow to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  9. Once doubled, brush with the egg wash.
  10. Bake buns for 15-18 minutes, or until they reach about 180 degrees inside. Allow the buns to cool completely before icing.
  11. To make the icing: cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy, adding splashes of milk until the desired consistency is reached (the icing should be on the thin side, but not as thin as a glaze).

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