What better way is there to celebrate Easter, than with family & friends. Just don’t forget the Hot Cross Buns!
Hot Cross Buns are sweet rolls, lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and studded with tangy craisins or raisins. The origins of hot cross buns may go back as far as the 12th century. According to the story, an Anglican monk baked the buns and marked them with a cross in honour of Good Friday. Over time they gained popularity, and eventually became a symbol of Easter weekend.
Let’s get started!
- 1/2 cup raisins + 1 cup boiling hot water
- 3/4 cup very warm milk divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
- 1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup (or 4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened 15 seconds in the microwave
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 envelope active dry yeast about 3/4 Tbsp or 2 1/4 tsp
- 2 large eggs well beaten
- 3 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp a large pinch ground nutmeg
For the Egg Wash:
- 1 egg well beaten with 1 tsp water
For the Glaze:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar mixed
- 2 1/2 tsp milk
- In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup raisins with 1 cup boiling hot water. Let sit 10 min then drain well and set aside.
- In a large measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup warm milk with 1/2 tsp sugar and sprinkle 3/4 Tbsp yeast over the top. Stir and let sit at room temp until bubbly and doubled in volume (10 min).
- In a large mixing bowl (KitchenAid mixer), combine 1/2 cup very warm milk with 1/2 cup sugar, 4 Tbsp softened butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir until butter is melted. Add 2 well-beaten eggs and proofed yeast mixture. Stir in 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and pinch of ground nutmeg.
- Using the dough hook attachment mix in 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time until soft dough forms. Knead 8-12 min on speed 2 or until smooth and elastic. The dough will still stick a little to the bowl but not to your fingers.
- Add drained raisins (pat them dry with paper towels if they still seem too wet) and transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side-up. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free room 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume (you can also proof in a warm 40°C oven).
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half then continue cutting dough until you have 12 equal-sized pieces. Roll dough into balls and transfer to a buttered 9×13″ baking pan. Cover with a tea towel and let them sit in a warm, draft-free room 30 min until puffed.
- Preheat your oven to 190°C. Generously brush the tops with egg wash and bake for 15-17 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan.
- This step you can do before or after you baked the buns! Once buns are just warm (not hot), stir together the 1/2 cup powdered sugar and about 2 1/2 tsp milk. You can add more powdered sugar to thicken it up if needed. Transfer glaze to a ziplock bag, cut off the tip of the bag and pipe a cross shape over each of the buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If kneading by hand, use a wooden spoon to stir at step 4, then turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead 8-12 min using just enough flour to prevent sticking to your hands.
If you have any leftovers, you can cut them in half and make a really scrumptious French toast or just sauté the halves in butter and enjoy with your morning coffee, delicious on a braai with marshmallows or use any leftovers in a bread and butter pudding – so yum!