With only 2 weeks until Easter, I thought it was time to do some recipe development and come up with a delicious hot cross bun recipe.
Hot cross buns are quintessentially Easter, along with the chocolate eggs, and I know that a lot of people dislike the fact that they are available from Christmas, but I think, if they sell, then make them. They are delicious and a great little snack to keep you going. I personally prefer the smaller ones as they can be enjoyed daily as part of a healthy balanced diet, whereas the big ones can be a bit ridiculous and often as many calories as a mars bar.
The key to hot cross buns is the spice and I’ve found over the years that a lot of the recipes don’t have enough spice. I have included cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice in this recipe, but you could use whatever spices you like, such as ginger, star anise or cloves as well. This batch of hot cross buns makes 32 small buns, however, you could make them bigger and make about 20-24.
I have also had a bit of a play around with flours and have ended up using a combination of wholemeal flour (for some added fibre), plain flour and bakers flour, which helps to make them a bit more light and fluffy due to the higher gluten content of bakers flour. Dried fruit is another key element to hot cross buns. I think that mixed peel is essential in hot cross buns, but a lot people dislike it. I have paired it with sultanas and currants, but once again, you can use whatever dried fruit you like or even make them into chocolate chip hot cross buns if you wish.
The kids absolutely love hot cross buns, so making them myself is really a no brainer, and they freeze exceptionally well and ready with a 15 second zap in the microwave or toasted in the oven or toaster. The kids helped me roll the dough into balls and thought they were pretty clever. They also found the process of adding the cross to be quite entertaining.
If you haven’t tried making hot cross buns before, give them a go for Easter this year. They are a bit time consuming, but pretty easy overall.
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 1/2 cups bakers flour
- 1 1/2 cups wholemeal plain flour
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup currants
- 3/4 cup sultanas
- 30g mixed peel, finely chopped
- Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
- 1 tbs dried yeast
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 50g butter, melted
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 4 tbs water
- 1/3 cup castor sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup water
- Place lukewarm milk, 1 tbs of the brown sugar and the yeast into a small bowl, stir and set aside for 5 minutes or until it becomes foamy.
- Place flour, spices, rind, salt, dried fruit and remaining sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attached.
- Once the yeast mixture is foamy, add to the stand mixer and turn speed to medium to combine. Add butter and lightly beaten egg and mix until dough comes together. You may need to stop the mixer occasionally to press the dried fruit into the dough.
- Beat for about 5 minutes, or knead by hand for ~ 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough into the bowl, cover with cling wrap and place into a warm spot for 1.5 – 2 hours a or until the dough doubles in size.
- Knock the dough down and knead on a lightly floured surface for 1-2 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 32 pieces for small buns or 20-24 pieces for larger buns. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place onto a baking tray about 1cm apart. Cover and place into warm spot for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare the mixture for the crosses by mixing the flour and water together into a smooth paste. Once the 30 minutes have passed, apply the crosses by putting the flour mixture into a zip lock bag. Cut the corner off the bag to make a piping bag. Carefully apply the crosses then place buns into oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped on top.
- While the hot cross buns are cooking, prepare the glaze by mixing sugar, water and cinnamon together in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Once the hot cross buns are cooked, remove from the oven and brush glaze over the buns.
- Enjoy straight out of the oven or store in an airtight container or in the freezer.