Where did Hot Cross Buns come from anyway? Apparently a 12th century monk got creative one Good Friday and added a cross to the buns he was baking. It kind of caught on and Hot Cross Buns became a tradition all over the world. I hope the monk got a promotion, although I’m guessing that by now he’s in Heaven and that’s quite a bit better than a promotion. Anyway, kudos to the monk and I’m glad he created these delicious Hot Cross Buns.
You can use currants, raisins or even dried cranberries for the added fruit, although the currants are superior because they’re small and are just tangy enough for the barely sweet buns. These little yeast buns came out so soft and fluffy and delicious. I had the piping for the crosses a little too thin and ended up glazing the entire tops of the rolls, but I think that may have made them even better!
This was the very first time I’d ever eaten Hot Cross Buns and I really enjoyed them. I warmed one up with a little pat of butter and it was just wonderful. I can’t wait till breakfast to have another one with morning coffee! Since this recipe makes 12 buns, I’ll freeze some of them. I think they’ll be just as good thawed and warmed up. I highly recommend making these for your Easter morning breakfast or brunch.
****Original Recipe from NatashasKitchen.com. Soft and fluffy buns - great for breakfast.
- 1/2 C currants
- 1 C boiling water
- 3/4 C warm milk (about 110°) divided
- 1/2 C plus 1/2 tsp sugar
- 4 tbsp butter melted and cooled
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 envelope Active or Rapid Rise Yeast
- 2 large eggs well beaten
- 3 1/2 to 4 C unsifted all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 egg well beaten with 1 tsp water
- 1/2 C powdered sugar mixed with 2 1/2 tsp milk or cream
In a small bowl, combine currants with 1 cup of hot water. Let sit 10 minutes, then drain well, pat dry, and set aside.
In a large measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup warm milk with 1/2 tsp sugar and gently stir in the packet of yeast. Let sit at room temperature until bubbly and almost doubled in volume (10-15 minutes).
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm milk with 1/2 cup of sugar, the cooled, melted butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the 2 beaten eggs and proofed yeast mixture and mix. Stir in the ground cinnamon and nutmeg.
Attach the dough hook to the mixer and add flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms (after 3 1/2 cups, start adding 1/4 cup more at a time until the dough is a soft ball). Knead 8-12 minutes with the mixer until smooth and elastic. Dough will stick a little to the bowl, but not to your hands.
Add the drained and patted-dry currants and transfer dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side up. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free room 1 1/2 hours until doubled in volume.
Turned out dough onto a lightly floured counter and cut in half. Continue cutting dough until you have 12 equally-sized pieces. Roll the pieces into smooth balls and put into a very buttered 9x13" baking pan or dish. Cover and let sit in a warm area for 30-45 minutes, until slightly puffed up.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°. Generously brush the tops of the risen buns with egg wash and bake for 15-17 minutes until tops are golden brown (or 190° when tested). Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a rack.
After buns are completely cooled, stir together the powdered sugar and 2 1/2 tsp. milk until thick enough to pipe (not too thin). Put into a ziplock bag and cut a tip off one of the corners. Pipe a cross shape over each of the buns (or make more glaze and cover the entire tops of the buns). Good served warm or at room temperature.