Hot Cross Bun Fun

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


  1. Combine the water and milk in a medium saucepan,  or in the microwave, warm over low heat until about 100 degrees F.
  2. Remove from heat and add the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Stir until combined.
  3. Set aside until foamy – between 15 and 20 minutes.

    Fyi...This is what foamy yeast looks like

  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl sift flour, sugars, spices, and salt.
  5. Once the yeast has become foamy, whisk butter, egg yolk and almond extract into the yeast mixture.
  6. Making a well in the center of the mixture, pour in the yeast mixture and stir to make slightly sticky dough.
  7. Stir in the raisins.
  8. Turn dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until elastic – about 5-8 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

    There was some hard-core kneading going on

  9. Brush the bottom of a large bowl with some butter, and put the dough into the bowl, flipping over once to coat both sides.
  10. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 1 & ½ hours.
  11. 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)
  12. Brush the tops of the buns melted butter.
  13. 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).
  14. Preheat the oven to 400.
  15. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the risen buns with an egg wash .
  16. Bake until golden and puffy – between 23 and 25 minutes.
  17. Transfer to a cooling rack and ice while still warm.

    Un-Crossed Buns

For the Icing Cross:

  1. Stir together confectioners’ sugar, milk, orange zest and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Transfer the icing to a ziplock with a small cut out made in the corner, or use a piping bag.
  3. Ice the buns with a thick cross shape while they are still warm.

    Crossed Buns!

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!


3 thoughts on “Hot Cross Bun Fun

  1. I played the Flutophone…my girlfriend was shocked when I had no idea what a “recorder” is and that I had never heard Hot Cross Buns in my life…mind you, this was last year…the first song I remember learning was Mary Had a Little Lamb…I immediately learned the Star Wars theme to wipe MHaLL out of my head…

  2. What delicious looking Hot Cross Buns!

    I stopped by to let you know I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award! And now I leave salivating for some warm buns….Enjoy your blogging journey!

  3. Pingback: Biscuit Fest! | The Sassy Swan

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