Happy Easter! I had an amazing Easter dinner tonight (preceded by an Easter egg hunt in my childhood park!) and am currently on the couch digesting, in disbelief that tomorrow is April 1st. Back at the end of February, I made one goal for March: Hot Cross Buns or BUST. They’ve been on my to-bake list for the past two or three Easters, but always get pushed aside for other Easter treats like: Lemon Meringue Cookies, Easter Candy Bark & Homemade Cream Eggs, Chocolate Marshmallow Cups and Easter Nest Sugar Cookies.
There weren’t really any Easter treats that had me running to the kitchen this year, which worked out perfectly so I could devote some time to finally make these. Here’s the thing about Hot Cross Buns: they’re one of those things that just taste so much better homemade. The ones in the grocery store are just not up to snuff in my opinion.
Tangent alert: I went to a lunch function for my company with my co-workers last week, and when dessert was served (apple crumble square) I took one bite and left the rest untouched on my plate. Now, these people have seen me bring in copious amounts of treats over the past 10 months, and they have probably never seen me turn down sugar. One of my co-workers (who’s vegan, and was just having fruit), asked why I didn’t like it, and I proceeded to go off on a tangent about seasonal eating, and why the caterer shouldn’t be serving an apple-based dessert in the Spring, and that I could tell it was made with shortening, and how it was generally pretty gross. She looked at me with wide eyes and said “You’re a FOOD SNOB!”. I ask you, dear readers, what is the appropriate response to this accusation? I just shrugged my shoulders and laughed, because, obviously this is true, and I have passionate views when it comes to food and butter vs. shortening in particular. But is that necessarily a bad thing?
Back to Hot Cross Buns. This is actually PW’s recipe for Cinnamon Rolls, with just a couple little changes. Couldn’t be easier, just don’t burn your milk (coughNicolecough), and you’ll be fine. Hope you had a nice, relaxing Easter weekend!
Hot Cross Buns
Source: Pioneer Woman (P.S. If you live in Canada, Food Network Canada has just started airing her show on Sunday mornings, it’s soooo amazing)
Yield: I got 14 buns, but it will depend how big/small you make them
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour (9 oz) + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (1 1/8 oz)
1/4 tsp (heaping) baking powder
1/4 tsp (scant) baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
+ 2 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon
+ 1 egg white mixed with a splash of milk, for glaze
+ 1/2 cup icing sugar mixed with a splash of milk, for cross garnish (you may need to add more icing sugar or milk to ensure you have the right consistency for piping on the crosses)
In a small saucepan, mix the milk, oil and sugar and heat until scalded, just before boiling. Pour into a big oven safe bowl, and add a candy thermometer so you can monitor the temperature.
When the mixture has cooled to 110, sprinkle the yeast over top and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add in the 2 cups of flour and stir. Cover and let rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size. (I turn on my oven to it’s lowest temperature , then shut it off, and put my bowl in the oven. I never know if it’s warm enough in my condo for things to rise).
Once dough has risen, stir in remaining 1/4 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together.
Clear a large space on your counter, and sprinkle with flour. Flatten the dough into a rough square, and sprinkle with a 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mixture and 1/3 of the raisins. Fold the dough in half, seal, and stretch out again, sprinkle and stretch again, and then one last time.
- Pinch off golf ball size pieces of dough and roll them into a ball. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray, and then cover with a clean tea towel and let rise for another hour.
- Preheat oven to 375. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash, and bake for about 15 minutes (I baked mine at 400 and they browned very fast, so I’m recommending lowering the temp).
- Let the buns cool completely. Pour your icing into a piping bag, or plastic bag with the corner snipped off and pipe on crosses.