If you’ve always heard about hot cross buns but have never sampled them, you owe it to yourself to whip up a batch for your Good Friday or Easter celebration. We have a hot cross bun recipe to get you started. But first, you should probably know a little about hot cross buns.
These spiced buns often contain currants, raisins, or candied fruit and the cross can be made in a variety of ways. Thin lines of icing or pastry and the traditional cuts are just a few of the most popular ways to add the cross to the top of the bun. In the hot cross buns recipe below, we omit the candied fruit and make the cross on the top by scoring the bread dough.
1 cup milk
2 T. yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
5 cups flour
1 1/3 cups currants or raisins
1 egg white
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1-2 tsp. milk
*Note: Because dough needs to be refrigerated overnight, you need to start this a day in advance.
In a small saucepan, warm the milk. Do not bring to a boil! It only needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast. Remove from heat and add the yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl with a mixer or dough hook, combine the sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs. Gradually add flour and continue to mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth. Cover with a moist cloth and set in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface (or in the mixing bowl with a dough hook) knead the dough until smooth and elastic; about 3 more minutes. Add the currants or raisins and mix well. Shape dough in a ball, place in a bowl that has been buttered or lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature.
Lightly coat a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Divide dough into 24 equal parts. Shape each one into a ball and place it on the cookie sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch between each one. Cover and let rise in a warm location about an hour or until doubled in size.
When buns have risen, cut a cross in the top of each one and then brush them with egg white.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack or serving tray. During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the glaze by simply whisking the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl.
While the buns are still warm; spoon the glaze over the top of each one in a cross pattern. Serve warm or toasted, like an English muffin.
Whether you are having a quiet celebration at home or are hosting an Easter egg hunt with lots of friends and family, consider using this hot cross buns recipe to add something special.