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

Bread Dough

(*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

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)

Cooking Spray

Directions

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.

Icing

1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened

1/4 Cup Milk

1 teaspoon Almond Extract

1 Pound Powdered Sugar

Directions

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.

 

Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Christmas morning we like to wake up and open presents. Before the kids go downstairs to see their gifts, I turn on the oven and place a pan of monkey bread in the oven. The house starts to smell like cinnamon bread and it is the perfect start to a day of family fun.

This monkey bread can be made in the evening. The second rise happens in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning you can heat the oven and add the pan of monkey bread. It is sweet and warm, laced with cinnamon and totally addictive.

You can make it with my Food Processor Bread Dough or frozen yeast rolls.

Cinnamon Monkey Bread

2 Pounds Frozen Yeast Rolls or 1 Recipe Food Processor Bread Dough

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, Melted

4 teaspoons Cinnamon

1 Cup Sugar

Cooking Spray

Directions

Remove the yeast rolls from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for about 1-2 hours. Once they are thawed enough to cut, cut each roll in half.

OR

Make the Food Processor Bread Dough. Once it has risen 35-45 minutes, punch down the dough to remove the big air bubbles and cut into golf ball size pieces with a kitchen scissors.

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Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Spray a bundt pan well with cooking spray. Dip the cut rolls into the melted butter, roll in the cinnamon sugar and layer in the oiled pan. Continue dipping the rolls in butter, rolling in cinnamon sugar and placing in the pan until all the dough is used.  If there is any remaining butter, pour it over the top of the rolls.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap and place over the pan. If you are using frozen dough, let them rise for 2-3 hours in a warm place. If you are using the Food Processor Dough, let them rise 45 minutes in a warm place. OR Place in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the risen monkey bread in the oven on the middle rack and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until deep golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and place a serving plate on top of the rolls. Using pot holders, invert the pan over the serving plate and remove the pan. Serve warm.

 

Garlic Bubble Bread

This bubble bread is one of my favorite recipes of all time. It is warm and fluffy. It is crispy and buttery and the perfect bread to serve with a light soup or salad. I like to make it when I am taking food to friends. It is super easy to make and I include instructions for using frozen dinner rolls or my homemade bread dough made in a food processor.

Garlic Bubble Bread

2 Pounds Frozen Yeast Rolls or 1 Recipe Food Processor Bread Dough

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, Melted

4 teaspoons Garlic Salt (divided)

Cooking Spray

Remove the yeast rolls from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for about 1-2 hours. Once they are thawed enough to cut, cut each roll in half.

Spray a bundt pan well with cooking spray. Dip the cut rolls into the melted butter and layer in the oiled pan. After you have placed 1/2 the rolls in the pan, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the garlic salt over the buttered roll dough. Continue dipping the rolls in butter and place the remaining rolls in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic salt over the top of the rolls. If there is any remaining butter, pour it over the top of the rolls. (If you are using the food processor bread dough recipe, follow the same instructions dipping the dough balls in butter and layering them in the bundt pan with garlic salt.)

Spray a piece of plastic wrap and place over the pan. If you are using frozen dough, let them rise for 2-3 hours in a warm place. If you are using the Food Processor Dough, let them rise 45 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the risen bubble bread in the oven on the middle rack and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until deep golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and place the serving plate on top of the rolls. Using pot holders, invert the pan over the serving plate and remove the pan. Serve warm.

 

Food Processor Bread Dough

(*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

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Egg

1 Egg Yolk

1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

1 teaspoon Salt

Cooking Spray

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, 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. Let the dough rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm place.

After the dough rises, punch down the dough and separate into small pieces about the size of a golf ball. Continue with the bubble bread recipe above.