When I was a little kid, I used to think that hot cross buns were just like fruitcake.  I refused to try them.  I wasn’t much of a picky eater, I seldom put up a fight about food, so my parents pretty much tolerated when I got my nose it a twitch about not wanting to eat/try something.  About 5 or 6 years ago I was visiting with my mom, having a mid-afternoon tea and she brought out some lightly toasted hot cross buns with a little butter spread on them.   I tentatively took a half, and was delighted at the familiar cinnamon and nutmeg flavour.  It reminded me of a little bit spicier version of raisin bread.

This was my first effort at homemade hot cross buns.  The dough comes together in a breeze.  It smells amazing putting it together, kneading it, and then baking in the oven.  And when warm out of the oven, a great treat…and not just something you can get at the local bakery around Easter…I am certain this is a make again type of recipe.  In one sitting TB gobbled up four!

hot-cross-buns1

Ingredients
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 cup flour
1  teaspoon salt
two pinches each of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
1/3 cup raisins, chopped into small bits
1/3 cup mixed cranberries and cherries, chopped into small bits

2 tablespoons honey to glaze
For the cross – 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in the milk and water, then stir in the yeast and set aside.
  2. In a bowl sift the flour, salt, spices and remaining sugar.
  3. Pour in the yeast mixture, melted butter and lightly beaten egg. Mix with a wooden spoon then knead for 6-8 minutes.
  4. Place dough into a clean oiled bowl and cover. Allow the dough to double in size.
  5. Lightly grease a roasting pan (9″x11″).
  6. After the dough has risen add the raisins, cherries and cranberries and knead till well mixed.
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into buns. Place the buns well apart in the pan.
  8. Cover again and leave in a warm place for 30 -40 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Add a hot water bath to the bottom rack.
  9. To make the cross, mix the flour and water together to form a smooth paste. Spoon into a small sandwich bag, clip the end with scissors. Pipe a cross on each bun.
  10. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Immediately brush with honey and then return to oven and bake for another 3 minutes. Cool completely or serve warm from the oven.

Makes 12 buns.  Adapted from The Knead for Bread.

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