Whip up your own batch of Hot Cross Buns this year! This homemade version is simple, tasty and soft. You will never need to buy them again.
My first encounter with hot cross buns was in their gigantic form, being passed around at a work meeting one sunny day of April. More than the white crosses on them, it was the cinnamon-y scent that lasted with me as an impression.
I did not care much for bread infused with any spice (aka cinnamon) before I started this blog. But somewhere along my baking journey, I developed a deep fondness for cinnamon rolls, and for baking bread in general. And these Hot Cross Buns, we love these sweet parcels all year.
Hot Cross Buns
These hot cross buns have a subtle cinnamon flavor that is noticeable but not overpowering. The icing for the cross gives a bright contrast with the notes of citrus in it. The finishing sweet glaze ties all flavor beautifully.
Hot Cross Buns Process
Add the warm water to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and about 1 tsp of the brown sugar. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes or so, until foamy.
Add the milk, eggs, melted butter, the remaining brown sugar, salt, vanilla and the ground cinnamon. Stir everything with a wooden spoon until incorporated.
Gradually add 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time and stir until the dough gathers into a sticky mass. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour gradually, stopping when the dough gathers into a soft , shaggy ball in the center of the bowl. You may not need all of the flour at this time.
On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough over and knead. Use the remaining flour to dust your surface and hands to help with the stickiness, as needed.
Once the dough is smooth and elastic and can stretch thinly (see How to Knead Bread Dough with Video), shape it into a ball and place it in a bowl. Cover it with a clean towel and leave to rise for 1 and 1/2 hours ( dough doubles in size).
Gently deflate the risen dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick. Scatter the craisins on the dough surface. Press them firmly so they get planted into the dough.
Fold the upper third of the dough over to the center, then fold the lower third to the center. The craisins are now enveloped inside the dough. Knead the dough briefly just so the craisins get distributed.
Using your hands, shape the dough into a log. Cut the log into 2 equal portions. Divide each portion further into 6 equal portions, for a total of 12.
Shape each portion into a smooth ball and arrange them on a 9×13 baking pan that is lined with parchment paper. Cover the pan loosely with a kitchen towel and leave to rise for an hour.
After rising, use a sharp knife to score a cross on top of every bun. Make sure to cut no more than 1/2 inch deep. Bake the buns at 350 F for 17-20 minutes, or until golden. Let them cool slightly.
To Make The Icing
Beat together powdered sugar and lemon/ orange juice until smooth.
NOTE:If the icing is too hard, add a very little amount of juice. Be careful not to make the icing runny as you need it firm so that it stays in shape.
Transfer the icing into a piping bag and pipe the cross on top of the cross scoring on the baked buns. Brush with the sweet glaze and serve.
Nothing beats that bread aroma from the oven. So make your own Hot Cross Buns my friends. If you have not given these sweet buns a try, it is the time! You will be surprised at how delightful they are.
More Bread Recipes:
- Swedish Cardamom Buns
- Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls
- Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls
- Sticky Buns with Pecans and Rum Raisins
- Chocolate Brioche
- Milk Bread
- Japanese Milk Buns
- Chelsea Buns
- Soft and Buttery Sugar Buns
- Mini Double Chocolate Buns