Hot Cross Buns
Carb-a-polooza continues today with my favorite Easter treat – Hot Cross Buns!
I spent the end of last week up to my ears with recipe planning. It was two super productive days of nonstop testing and photographing recipes for Fin Gourmet. Let’s just say that breakfast (and pretty soon, lunch) has never tasted so freakin’ delicious.
I also managed to sneak in some time to whip up a batch of Hot Cross Buns. Partially because I needed something to fill my ice cream void….
Usually when I think I about Easter, my (food lover) thoughts immediately jump to Cadbury mini eggs, jelly beans, dying eggs, and first and foremost, Hot Cross Buns. These currant (and sometimes candied fruit) studded, lightly spiced, sweet buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday.
Thankfully I’m not always one for tradition because these buns are way too good to be reserved for just one day a year!
In sticking with my culinary bucket list I decided it was high time I make my own Hot Cross Buns. I love eating them, so why not make them?! This was my second foray into bread making, and I have to admit, I was a little more nervous than the first time. The process is certainly easy, but I questioned myself often – Is the yeast foamy enough? Does the dough look doubled? Am I doing this right?
In the end there was nothing to worry about, because these Hot Cross Buns are soft, sweet and everything I was hoping for.
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm milk
3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoons cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup currants
For the egg wash
1 tablespoon milk
For the icing
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk
In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the warmed milk and one teaspoon of sugar. Stir the yeast into the milk and let it sit until foamy, 5-1 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together 3 cups of the flour, the spices, salt, spices, and remaining granulated sugar. Create a well in the center of the flour and add the foamy yeast, butter, eggs, and the remaining milk. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients until well incorporated. The mixture should be shaggy and sticky. Add in the currants, and orange zest.
Switch to the dough hook attachment and start to knead on low speed. (If not using a mixer, use your hands to knead.) Slowly sprinkle in additional flour, a tablespoon at a time (using 1/4 – 1/2 cup total), kneading to incorporate after each addition, until the dough is tacky, but is no longer completely sticking to your fingers when you work with it.
Form a ball of dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Rest the dough, covered, at room temperature (or in a warm spot) for 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl and roll into a log, then cut it in half. Place one half back in the bowl while you work with the other half. Take the dough half you are working with and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a mound and place 1 1/2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of dough. Cover the baking sheets and rest the dough at room temperature, to rise again, until doubled in volume, 30-40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180/200 deg
Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and one tablespoon of milk. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over each round of dough.
Bake the dough for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven. Cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the icing by mixing together the powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl. If the icing is too thick add a tiny bit more milk, and if it’s too thin, stir in a little more powdered sugar.
Pour the icing into a small resealable plastic bag. Cut off a small corner of the bag and drizzle a cross on top of the buns.