Hot Cross Buns
If you know us at all, you know we're passionate about Holy Week. Since celebrating it with my family, I've noticed something happens to me on Good Friday. I often feel sad, even a little dark. This is no doubt due to the way we have studied and talked of Christ all week. The day of His crucifixion weighs heavy on my heart. It's a hard day for someone who naturally loves anything light and happy.
Last year I decided to add to our Good Friday activities, to give me something to look forward to. I had learned about Hot Cross Buns as a child--my grandma would read us a book about them, they always sounded so good to me--and I knew they were a Good Friday tradition in many parts of the world.
I love the symbolism in this bread. The cross is for obvious reasons, the spices in the bread to represent the spices used to embalm Christ at His burial. English Folklore links Hot Cross Buns to many superstitions. These sweet rolls would protect ships from wrecking, cure illnesses, and protect homes from fire. But my favorite? Buns given to friends ensures the friendship would last throughout that year.
I took our original family roll recipe and made some changes and now Hot Cross Buns are a favorite around here. We like to deliver them to friends and family, just to make sure our relationships stay on good ground for the year. ;) Plus a little service on Good Friday lifts my heart.
So here goes! Our Hot Cross Bun recipe.
Dissolve the yeast in the warmed milk, a little orange juice, and a sprinkling of sugar. After the yeast dissolves and starts to foam, add the butter, sugar, orange zest, eggs, salt, spices, craisins, and 2 cups of flour. Mix that well, then add additional flour, 1 cup at a time. Knead for about 5 minutes.
The dough should be a little sticky. You want this to be soft--soft dough equals soft rolls.
I will say at this point, the traditional recipe calls for currants or raisins. But we like craisins, so...our house our rules. But you can add what dried fruit you'd like!
And one more thing--I have superpowers when it comes to nutmeg. I can literally taste it if there's the slightest breath of the spice, and sometimes it's ALL I taste. So I just add a pinch here. If you like nutmeg go ahead and add a little more, or substitute the cinnamon with a combination of spices you love.
Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
Form into even balls, and place 1-2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. (I use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.)
When forming the balls you may have some craisins escape. That's OK, let them go. If they don't want to be a part of a Hot Cross Bun that's their problem.
Let those rise for another hour or so, (till doubled in size), then bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
Once the rolls are out of the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes before drizzling the icing on top. If they're too hot the crosses will just melt.
Now, again, I'm straying from tradition a little. Originally, the cross on the buns are made from a pastry or a flour/water mixture, placed on the rolls before they bake. I love traditions. I do. But I also love icing.
These buns are so soft. I love the balance of sweetness from the roll and icing, the hint of spices, the freshness from the citrus, and the tanginess of the craisins. My family can't get enough of them. In full disclosure we may eat more than we give out. But it's the thought that counts, right? If I could just get them out of the house before the kids get home...
There you go! A simple way to show love on Good Friday. I hope you and your family are enjoying Holy Week. xoxo