|Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition|
Hot cross buns are made with a rich yeast dough. Using the microwave oven and electric mixer simplify preparation. The traditional recipes use dried currants and raisins, but you can create your own flavor combinations with other dried fruits, such as cranberries, chopped dried apricots and even dried blueberries.
Hot Cross Buns
1 pk. (1/4 oz, or 2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 c. whole milk
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. dried fruit
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 c. flour, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Add dried fruit, dredging to coat the pieces with the flour mixture.
Place milk and butter into a microwave-safe cup or bowl. Heat for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on high, until milk is very warm and butter is melted.
Place 1 c. flour, granulated sugar and yeast into large mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix together at slow speed. Add hot liquid, incorporating well before increasing mixing speed. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, then add egg. Continue beating on medium speed for 3 more minutes.
Lower mixer speed, and add the remaining flour mixture. Beat until a sticky ball is formed.
Remove dough and place on floured surface. Knead with floured hands until dough loses its stickiness and gloss. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a moistened towel or cling wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
Punch down dough. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 12 2" balls and arrange on baking sheets. Using kitchen shears, cut a cross shape into the top of each ball. Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1/2 hour.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake buns for 15 - 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before piping confectioner's icing into cross.
1 c. confectioner's sugar
1 to 2 tbsp. water, milk or cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Sift confectioner's sugar into small bowl. Stir in extract and liquid, 1 tsp. at a time, until icing is of spreading consistency. Cover until ready to use.
If you prefer a bun that is browned, combine 1 egg yolk with 2 tbsp. water and brush the buns with the egg mixture before baking.