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Hot Cross Buns – lightly sweet, orange scented yeast rolls with currants, raisins and plenty of warm spices. A delicious treat traditionally served during Lent and the Easter holidays.
Hot cross buns!
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- 1/2 cup raisins (dark or golden or a mixture is fine)
- 1/3 cup currants (or more raisins is fine)
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
- 3/4 cup warm whole milk, divided (about 100 degrees on an instant read thermometer)
- 3 3/4-4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk (reserve egg white for the egg wash)
- 1 egg white (reserved from above)
- 1 tablespoons whole milk or cream
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon whole milk or cream (more or less as needed for desired consistency)
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine the raisins, currants, orange juice and orange zest in a microwave safe container. Heat for 30 seconds on high power, stir and heat for another 15 seconds. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl add 1/4 cup warm milk. (Make sure the milk is about 100-105 degrees using an instant read thermometer. If the milk is not warm enough the yeast will not bloom quickly. If the milk is too hot it will kill the yeast and not rise.) Add 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar to the warm milk and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast on top and stir lightly. Allow the milk and yeast to rest at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 3 1/2 cups of the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the bloomed yeast. Add the butter, eggs, egg yolk and the remaining 1/2 cup of warm milk. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ought until well blended. The mixture will be sticky. Add the currants, raisins, orange zest and orange juice. Mix until blended.
Switch the paddle attachment for a dough hook. Knead the dough on low speed while slowly adding the additional 1/4 to a maximum of 1/2 cup of flour, one tablespoon at a time as needed to make a cohesive dough. Knead well after each addition until the dough is slightly sticky but doesn't stick to your fingers.
Form the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen tea towel. Allow the dough to rest in a warm location free from drafts, for 2 hours or until doubled in size. (I use my microwave as a proofing oven as it stays warm when the task light is on underneath.)
Press down the dough gently and turn out onto a lightly floured, clean work surface. Gently form the dough into a log. Cut the log in half and then each half into 8 equal size pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ball by pulling the sides down to the bottom pinching it together to seal. This will create a smooth top for each bun. Place the dough balls on the prepared pan about 1-inch apart. Gently cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise again until the buns have doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes. (Again I put the dough in the microwave to keep warm and free from drafts. If placed in the microwave, there is no need to cover with plastic wrap)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk the egg white and 1 tablespoon of milk together in a small bowl. Brush each bun with the egg wash taking care to completely cover each one evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow the buns to cool on a wire rack before icing.
Whisk together the powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon milk until smooth (add 1/4 tsp additional milk if needed for desired consistency.) You'll want a thick icing that will not run. Pipe or spoon the icing on each bun to make a cross. Serve and enjoy!
Store at room temperature
Prep time includes rising time
Our Hot Cross Buns were adapted from recipes on Simply Recipes and King Arthur Flour
The following kitchen tools are great to have when making these buns – click on the photos for more information:
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This time of year is great for baking and brunch! We love serving a little something sweet at a big family holiday brunch or Mother’s day celebration. Be sure to check out our delicious Raspberry Ricotta Breakfast Cake, our Blueberry Buttermilk Biscuits and this wonderful Buttery Apricot Scone Recipe too. Here are a few more amazing brunch recipes from some of our favorite blogs:
- Eggs Benedict Quiche with Hollandaise Sauce from The View from Great Island
- Baked Lemon French Toast from Seasons and Suppers
- Overnight Blackberry Yeast Waffles with Blackberry Syrup from Mom On Timeout
- Easter Sugar Cookie Cake from Crazy for Crust
These Hot Cross Buns are always a big hit with our family! Put them on your annual rotation for holiday baking must try recipes. Making Hot Cross Buns is a lovely Easter tradition and sweet reminder of our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross.
I hope you have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!