Hot cross buns are sweet, cinnamon-scented rolls, chock-full of dried fruit, and topped with an icing cross. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but they'd be a great addition to Easter brunch as well.
Jen from Beantown Baker and I made these buns together during our last baking date. Like most yeast breads, you must give the dough time to rise, shape it, and let it rise again before baking.
Hot Cross Buns (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
1/4 cup rum (or apple juice)
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk (reserve white for topping)
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 1/2 cups flour
1 large egg white, reserved from above
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing
Generously grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Measure the rum and dried fruit and raisins into a small bowl. Cover with plastic, and microwave for about 30 seconds, or just until the fruit and liquid are very warm. Leave covered, and set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.
Mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer fitted with dough hook until the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid.
Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 hour. It should become puffy, but it may not double in bulk.
Using a muffin scoop, scoop out equal portions of dough, and roll them into balls with well-greased hands on a well-greased countertop.
Line them up in the prepared pan.
Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.
Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe a cross atop each bun.
Have you ever had hot cross buns?