Hot Cross Buns

My Mother passed away two years ago this past week. Although my Mom is always in my thoughts, every time we reach a new anniversary, it is still a very difficult time. My Mom wasn’t the best cook in the world, but she did make us homemade meals every night for dinner. She had a few specialties that she excelled at, like roast pork, scalloped potatoes, lemon meringue pie, apple pie, and cabbage rolls. My Dad was a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so we did have simple meals most nights. Mom did like to bake, however, and often baked some type of sweets multiple times a week. My Mother’s background was British, so when holidays rolled around, she wanted to share the traditions she grew up with. Hot cross buns were one treat that Mom brought home every Easter. Although I do not ever remember Mom making these traditional sweets from scratch, in Canada, where I grew up, they were readily available around Easter to buy in local bakeries.

There are many theories where hot cross buns originated, but it is thought that a 12th-century monk introduced the cross to the bun. According to the story, an Anglican monk baked the buns and marked them with a cross in honor of Good Friday. Over time they gained popularity and eventually became a symbol of Easter weekend. Here in the US, it is a little more challenging to find quality hot cross buns, so I decided to bake my own in honor of my Mother.

There are many variations of these buns, but my favorites include raisins and candied orange peel. I like to add a little cinnamon because a little warm spice improves just about any sweet in my mind. These buns were much easier to make than I thought they would be, and I plan to make them at home every year to share with my grandkids. My favorite way to enjoy these buns is sliced in half, toasted and slathered in creamy butter.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Yield: Makes 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Traditional sweet buns made each year at Easter.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Warm Milk
  • 2 Teaspoons Active Dried Yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Cups Raisins
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Candied Orange Peel
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 2 Large Eggs, Lightly Beaten

For The Cross:

  • 1/3 Cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Cold Water

Topping:

  • 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Boiling Water

Instructions

    1. In a small bowl, stir the yeast and sugar into the warm milk.
    2. Rest 5 minutes to start to bubble.
    3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, raisins, and candied peel.
    4. Make a well in the center and add the milk yeast mixture, butter, and beaten eggs.
    5. Use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients, and then use your hands to knead into a ball. (The dough will be sticky)
    6. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand for 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
    7. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and leave in a warm spot in your kitchen for about 45 minutes to rise.
    8. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide evenly into 12 equal pieces.
    9. Shape each piece into a ball and place close together a parchment covered baking sheet.
    10. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm spot to double in size.
    11. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
      In a small ball mix the 1/3 cup of flour, sugar, and cold water to form a paste.
    12. Use a pastry bag and small tip, or cut the end off of a small ziplock bag and pipe the paste into a cross shape on top of each bun.
    13. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
    14. Mix together the powdered sugar and boiling water until you've created a syrup.
    15. Brush across the top of each bun while still warm.
    16. Cool completely.
    17. To store, keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days. (If the buns dry out after a couple of days, warm in the microwave for a few minutes)
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 203mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 7g