Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday in some areas of America and other countries, though these days people enjoy them any time of the year. The signature cross — representing the crucifixion — is formed on the top of each bun with icing.
These classic hot cross buns are started in the bread machine, so there no manual kneading required.
The dough is mixed and kneaded in the bread machine, and then the rolls are shaped and baked by hand. The delicious thin vanilla icing is drizzled over each bun to form the classic "cross."
These are very easy to prepare, and so soft and delicious!
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) milk (low-fat is fine, lukewarm)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 scant teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup softened butter (cut in 4 to 6 pieces)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4-1 cup currants (or finely chopped dried peaches)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons water
- For the Icing:
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or vanilla bean paste)
Whisk together the 3/4 cup milk, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and the egg.
Add the milk mixture, flour, granulated sugar, salt, yeast, and butter to the bread machine, adding in the order suggested by your bread machine manufacturer.
Set the machine on the dough cycle; add cinnamon and currants or chopped dried fruit at the beep. If the mixture seems too dry, add water in very small amounts.
When dough is done and doubled in volume, remove to a lightly floured surface.
Punch down, knead about 6 to 8 times, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
Tear off small pieces of dough (about 2 to 2 1/4 ounces each) and shape them into balls. Place the dough balls in the prepared baking pan. Cover the pan with a cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350°.
Stir together the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg yolk mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned. Remove the pan to a rack to cool completely.
Combine the confectioners' sugar with 2 tablespoons of milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; stir until smooth. Add small amounts of hot water or more confectioners' sugar, as needed, for drizzling consistency. With a spoon or decorating bag, drizzle crosses on the tops of the buns.
The recipe makes 16 pull-apart hot cross buns.
Tips and Variations
- If you prefer to knead by hand, mix the milk and egg mixture with the flour and yeast mixture in a large bowl by hand. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead, adding the currants and cinnamon in as you fold it over, until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover and let the dough rise until double, about 45 minutes. Punch it down and knead 5 or 6 times. Shape the dough into balls and continue with the recipe.
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