“Hot cross buns, hot cross buns! One a penny, two a penny! Hot cross buns!” Whenever I sang this nursery rhyme as a kid, I thought, “Hot cross buns must be really good for someone to make a song about it!” Though I wasn’t Catholic, I always wanted to try one, but learned that the buns were traditionally sold only around Good Friday and Easter (the buns are eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent). Also, the buns were much more common in England, where the recipe originated. Still, I loved the story and tradition behind the buns and eventually got to try one and loved it.
Hot cross buns are essentially individual spiced rolls with raisins, candied peel and marked with a cross on the top. Traditionally the cross is made with pastry dough, but I prefer the variation with icing on top. Also, in my recipe, I’ve used dried currants instead of raisins. I like using currants because they’re smaller in size, and you get a better fruit distribution throughout the dough. Finally, I’ve added a maple glaze finish which gives the buns a little more sweetness and sticky exterior. If you like dried fruit and spices, these buns are for you. Happy Easter and enjoy!
Maple Glazed Hot Cross Buns
Yield: 12 rolls
1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
1 cup of low fat milk
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
4 cups of bread flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon clove
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup of butter, cut in 1/2 in cubes (soften at room temperature)
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1 large egg
2 teaspoons of low-fat milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of real maple syrup
2 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon of real maple syrup
1 teaspoon of milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat the milk to 100°. Transfer to glass bowl.
2. Add the yeast and sugar. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, sugar, salt, and spices. Quickly whisk the mixture and add the dough hook attachment.
4. Give the yeast and milk mixture a quick stir and add it to the flour mixture. Add the egg, egg yolk, and butter.
5. Knead the dough on the lowest mixer setting. Once the dough comes together, knead for about 5 more minutes until the dough is smooth.
6. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured workstation.
7. Fold in the currants. Shape into a ball.
8. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until it doubles in size (this should take about 1 1/2 hours).
9. Cut the dough into 12 equal sized pieces. Cupping your hand, take one portion of the dough and roll it on a lightly-floured workstation until it looks a ball.
10. Repeat until you get 12 balls, transferring each one to a parchment-lined baking sheet as you finish. (Make sure you space out the rolls a bit, because they will rise again).
11. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for about 45 minutes.
12. Preheat oven to 350°. To make the egg wash, whisk the egg, milk and salt.
13. Remove the plastic wrap off the buns and brush each bun with egg wash.
14. Bake for 22-25 minutes. The top will be golden brown when ready.
15. While the buns are baking, make the maple glaze by adding the maple syrup and butter to a small sauce pan. Cook on medium for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
16. Once the buns are out of the oven, brush generously with the maple glaze. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
17. While the buns are cooling, make the icing by whisking the confectioner’s sugar, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract together in a bowl.
18. Place the icing in a piping bag with a small tip (4 mm) or alternatively, place the icing in a plastic baggie and cut a small hole in one corner. Pipe a cross on each bun.
19. To serve, cut a bun horizontal and spread a little butter. These are best eaten the day they are made, but you can place any remaining rolls in an airtight container for up to 3 days. After the first day, they are best toasted with a pat a butter.