Let’s talk Easter. Or rather recorders – you know, those severely annoying lute-like instruments that you received sometime during grade school and pranced around your house with, blowing out ear-drums of parents and siblings alike. What was the first song you learned? I have a feeling it was my favorite and yours, Hot Cross Buns!
It took me quite some time to realize that hot cross buns are a legit food, topped with a frosting cross, and eaten on around Easter. I’ve never had one before so I figured, I’d give it a whirl. And yes – I sang the stupid song the whole damn time I made them. Be warned, you probably will too.
Just in time for Good Friday, my recipe for Hot Cross Buns:
Hot Cross Buns
Difficulty: medium (and time consuming)
Yields: 12 buns
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup milk (I used almond)
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
- 1 packet (1/4 g) active yeast
- 4 cups flour (plus more as needed)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon melted butter for coating the bowl for the initial dough ball
- 1 tablespoon melted butter for coating the bun dough
- egg wash (1 beaten egg plus 1 tablespoon water) to brush on the buns
For the Icing Cross:
- 1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- ¼ tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Combine the water and milk in a medium saucepan, or in the microwave, warm over low heat until about 100 degrees F.
- Remove from heat and add the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Stir until combined.
- Set aside until foamy – between 15 and 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl sift flour, sugars, spices, and salt.
- Once the yeast has become foamy, whisk butter, egg yolk and almond extract into the yeast mixture.
- Making a well in the center of the mixture, pour in the yeast mixture and stir to make slightly sticky dough.
- Stir in the raisins.
- Turn dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until elastic – about 5-8 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
- Brush the bottom of a large bowl with some butter, and put the dough into the bowl, flipping over once to coat both sides.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 1 & ½ hours.
- After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (leave enough room for them to double in size)
- Brush the tops of the buns melted butter.
- Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with a nonstick cooking spray, and place lightly over the buns. Place in a warm spot until almost doubled in size (between 45 and 60 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the risen buns with an egg wash .
- Bake until golden and puffy – between 23 and 25 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and ice while still warm.
For the Icing Cross:
- Stir together confectioners’ sugar, milk, orange zest and vanilla until smooth.
- Transfer the icing to a ziplock with a small cut out made in the corner, or use a piping bag.
- Ice the buns with a thick cross shape while they are still warm.
Per my extensive research, these buns are to be eaten on Good Friday – the cross representing the Crucifixion. Feel free to make them anytime though, maybe just glaze them with a different design, because these are delicious!