Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns have lots of folklore. The story I grew up hearing was about monks in the middle ages making sweet buns with a cross on top for Good Friday. Eventually the became an Easter treat which is how I enjoyed them as a child.
Hot Cross Buns are made from a simple sweet dough with spices and dried fruit. Growing up they always had white dark raisins. This year I couldn’t easily get white raisins so I used craisins. Dried cherries, chopped dried apricots or dates would all be great in these tasty sweet buns.
Hot Cross Buns
(*Note- this recipe was tested in a 14 Cup Cuisinart food processor. I have not tested it on other brands or sizes.)
3 1/2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour (divided)
1 1/2 Cups Water (divided)
1/3 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
1 Tablespoon Instant Yeast
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Egg Yolk
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/4 Cup Chopped Dried Fruit (I use 3/4 Cup Raisins and 1/2 Cup Craisins or White Raisins)
In a glass measuring cup, add 1 Cup water and 1/2 Cup flour. Stir together well until most of the lumps are dissolved. Cook the flour and water mixture for 1 minute on high power in the microwave. Let cool slightly while you prepare the next step.
In the bowl of a 14 cup food processor with a regular cutting blade (not a plastic dough blade) add the remaining 3 cups four, vital wheat gluten, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, egg, egg yolk, and vegetable oil. Process for 15 seconds to combine. Add the cooked flour and water mixture and process for another 15 seconds. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water and process until fully combined (about 15-20 seconds.)
Let the dough rest in the food processor for 5 minutes. This allows the dough to hydrate.
Add the salt and process for 60 seconds to knead the dough. If it is too sticky, add 1-2 more tablespoons of flour. If it is too dry, add 1-2 more tablespoons of water.
Once you have processed it for 60 seconds, it should be a smooth and shiny dough ball. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place the plastic wrap loosely over the dough with the oiled side touching the dough or cover with a plastic lid or damp cloth. Let the dough rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm place.
After the dough rises, punch down the dough and mix in the dried fruit. Shape the dough into balls I prefer to make 14-16 buns. Place the balls on a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicone baking pad. Cover the buns with a damp cloth and let rise another 30 minutes.
While the buns are rising on the baking sheet, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
After the second rise, remove the damp cloth and bake the buns for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown on top.
Remove the buns from the oven and transfer them from the baking sheet to a cooling rack. This will prevent them form getting a soggy bottom. Once they are completely cooled, (at least 1 hour) put a cross on them with icing.
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1/4 Cup Milk
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
1 Pound Powdered Sugar
In a medium bowl use an electric mixer to beat the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, almond extract and milk. Mix well until combined. Place in a pastry bag with a #12 round tip or put in a quart zip bag. Cut the corner off the bag before putting in the icing to get a clean cut.
Make a cross on each bun with the icing and serve.