Monday, March 24, 2008

Hot Cross Buns

I decided to start this little tradition in our family this year, following the example of generations of Christian families who have made these for Good Friday and Easter.
I've never had any luck with yeast breads in the past - I'm not patient enough to let the darn dough rise, and it takes so long to make one loaf that when it doesn't turn out it's a huge letdown. But this time the results weren't half bad. But I would recommend eating these the day they're made because when we ate them the day after they had gotten a bit stale. I also made the mistake of leaving the plate on the table and George licked all the icing crosses off the tops, so that was the end of any leftovers!

Hot Cross Buns
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm 2% milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 egg
4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 dash ground allspice
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon 2% milk
  1. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in milk. Stir in butter, egg, sugar and salt. Combine 3/4 cup flour, raisins, currants, cinnamon and allspice; add to the yeast mixture and mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour (*in my cold house it was more like 2-3 hours).
  3. Punch dough down; shape into six 2-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross on top of each bun. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes (or more).
  4. Beat egg yolk and water; brush over buns. Bake at 375 degrees F for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Combine icing ingredients; pipe over buns.

These turned our picture-perfect but they were a little bland, actually. Maybe next time I will add more cinnamon and raisins, or just keep looking around for another recipe. I liked it because it only made 6 rolls, but I was a little disappointed in the flavor. Anybody have any suggestions or alternative recipes?


Anne said...

Yours sure did turn out picture-perfect. I love making yeast breads, but my experiences are really hit or miss. I've made some really good ones and I've had plenty of flops. I'd like to make bread more often and I'd really like to try these; it's just finding and using that hands-free time!

scmom (Barbara) said...

I think bland is what Hot Cross Buns are supposed to be. I've never had a really "zippy" one. They are usually very yeasty, and just slightly sweet. I've always assumed that the reason is they are eaten on Good Friday and should be just a tad penitential (i.e. not a big treat!).

Jill said...

that makes sense. i guess i did it right, then!