Easy Hot Cross Buns
The history of the Hot Cross Buns dates back to the 12th century. When a monk was the first person known to cross the bun. This monk was making buns for Good Friday, in honor of the upcoming the Easter Holiday. These buns gained popularity in England as a symbol of the Easter Holiday.
Traditionally, the baker would use a penny to make the cross on the buns. However, nowadays the cross is traditionally made by using icing or cream. However, most often you can make the imprint with a knife.
While this bread recipe is a traditional Easter Bread, we have found it to be very popular with our family and friends during the Christmas Season.
- 1/4 cup apple juice or rum
- 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
- 1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
- 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk (save the white for the topping)
- 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg white, reserved from above
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick icing
- Grease a 10" square pan or 9" x 13" pan.
- In a medium microwave safe bowl, mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave briefly so fruit and liquid are very warm and the plastic starts to "shrink wrap" itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
- When the fruit is has cooled, incorporate together all of the dough ingredients (including the eggs and the egg yolk from the separated egg); hold out the fruit for the time being. Knead the mixture using an electric mixer or bread machine until the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.
- Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.
- Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You'll make 12 to 14 buns. Form into round balls. Arrange them in your pan.
- Cover the pan and allow the buns rise for about an hour or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk and brush it over the buns.
- Bake the buns for 20 minutes or until they have turned a golden brown. Remove from the oven and carefully turn the buns out of the pan (they generally will come out in one large piece) and transfer them to a rack to cool.
- Mix together the icing ingredients and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.