Hot Cross Buns
I had on off day on Wednesday. S. Geek was supposed to be home, he wasn’t. I was tired and cranky and feeling rather sorry for myself. I
am was drained and when I went into the kitchen to prepare the pizza dough I aborted mission for something a bit more fun because I needed a pickmeup like nobody’s business. Now, I know it seems odd that I like to bake things that I don’t particularly enjoy consuming but I’ve been wanting to make hot cross buns for a few years now but just haven’t gotten there until now!
Here are the things that I don’t like about hot cross buns that you get from the store. Random pieces of dried fruit, not spicy enough and they always tasted stale to me. Here are things I like about making hot cross buns in my own kitchen I can control the fruit and the spice and since I’m baking them I can eat one when it’s fresh!
I scooped a recipe up from my favourite cookbook the 2010 printing of The Essential NYT Cookbook. I’m seriously in LOVE with this book. Normally I go for books with lots of pictures and not just straight text but hot damn the recipes in this book are amazing! I did very slightly alter the recipe as I didn’t have any dried currants and also I added about a teaspoon of cinnamon instead of the called for 1/8 tsp. I also let the final rise go on for a few hours as I messed up my timing and I had to get the kids ready for bed and then I wanted to get on the treadmill before it got too late.
I liked the size of these buns especially, they were not at all too big or dense. Nay really liked his and asked for a second one for breakfast. Cake as you may well know does not approve of bits of anything in her food. I warned her that there was a sprinkling of raisins in each bun but she wanted to try it so I gave her one. She ate half (the top half with the glaze on it) and then left the second half. S. Geek approved as well, I tried one but still thought it could have been spicier.
Here’s the recipe I used from The Essential NYT Cookbook
1 c. scalded whole milk
1 Tblsp unsalted butter softened
3/4c + 1 Tblps sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
3 Tblsp water
3.5 c all purpose flour
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (though I suggest more up to 1 Tblsp)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c dried currants or raisins
1 large egg.
Mix together milk, butter, 1/4c sugar, and salt in large bowl. (I used my stand mixer with dough hook) Let cool until lukewarm.
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and let stand 5-10 mins until foamy
Add yeast to milk and stir in 2 c. flour. Cover and let rise until the sponge is foamy and doubled. (I let mine sit for about an hour)
Blend 1/2 c. sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg and currants and stir into the dough along with the egg. Beat in remaining 1.5 c. flour until a stiff dough forms. Knead (with dough hook or by hand) until smooth and elastic (took me about 7 mins) Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size (mine took 2 hours)
Punch down the dough and turn out onto floured work surface. Cut into 24 pieces and shape into tight round balls. Set a few inches apart on ungreased baking sheets (I used a casserole dish) and cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour (mine was left extra long so closer to 2.5hours)
Preheat oven to 350 (I did mine in convection) and dissolve 1 Tblsp sugar in 2 Tblsp water. Using a sharp knife dipped into flour cut a cross in the top of each bun and then bake for 20 minutes. Brush each bun with glaze and then bake another 2-5 minutes (mine baked 4.) There should be a distinct hollow sound when you tap on the buns to check if they are done. Cool on baking racks and enjoy!!
I was surprised how deep you needed to cut the X into the top of the bun. When I checked on them at the halfway point a lot of the buns had lost their mark so I went in and recrossed a bunch of them. Also, this recipe doesn’t have the flour mixture piped into the X which I’ve always seen but they are delicious just the same. Go buy this cookbook and give them a try, you won’t regret it!
Happy Easter to Everyone!