March 24, 2016

Hot Cross Buns

Since today is Good Friday, I am sharing my Grammy's hot cross buns recipe with you all today.  Hot cross buns mark the end of Lent, and they often made appearances at my family's Easter celebrations.

Hot cross buns are sweet buns lightly spiced with cinnamon, studded with dry fruit, and drizzled with some icing.  They are great plain, but you can also serve them with jam and butter or even use them for ham sandwiches on Easter.  Heck, I've even heard that restaurants are using hot cross buns for burgers.  Go figure.

Anyways, there is a superstition that hot cross buns baked on Good Friday never become moldy and that it is good luck to save one until next year's buns are made.  These aren't difficult to make, and the best part of baking is sharing, so you can go ahead and ignore that superstition. ;-)  Funny enough, hot cross buns went on sale early in Melbourne, Australia, and people protested.

This week end will bring many sweet treats, such as Peeps, chocolate bunnies, and lamb cakes, and these hot cross buns will make a sweet addition to any Easter or spring celebration.  Happy Easter!

Hot Cross Buns
Yields 2 dozen

2 packages  (4 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
1/3 cup water, about 85-90ºF
1/3 cup milk, scalded and cooled
1/2 cup (1 stick/8 tbsp.) butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
3 1/2-4 (420 grams) cups all-purpose flour, plus extra flour for rolling buns
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup dried fruit
1 egg white, for brushing the buns

For the icing:
3 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanila
1 cup (125 grams) confectioner's sugar

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper  and set aside.

In a small bowl, add the warm water and the yeast, and stir to combine.  Allow the yeast to bloom in the water, about 5-10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt, and mix using the paddle attachment until combined.  Then, add one cup of the flour, the cinnamon, and salt, and mix until combined.  Add the eggs, and mix until combined.  Next, gradually add in the yeast/water mixture.  Once combined, add the dried fruit and remaining flour.  After everything is combined, cover with a cloth or plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

After the dough has risen, punch down, and allow to rise again for about 30 minutes.  Then, lightly flour a surface, remove the dough from the bowl and place onto the surface, and roll or pat the dough out to approximately 1/2 inch in height.  Cut the dough in rounds with 1 1/2 inch biscuit cutter.   On the parchment paper lined baking sheets, place the dough pieces about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Cover and allow to rise for another hour or until doubled in size.  Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Following the rise, cut a shallow cross in each bun using scissors or a knife.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg white for about two minutes.  Then, brush the tops of buns with the egg white. Bake the buns for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes.  After the buns have cooled, mix the icing ingredients together.  Add the icing to a plastic sandwich bag, and then cut the corner of the bag.  Pipe crosses on the buns.

Source: My Grammy : )


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