I wish I could tell you I had memories of hot cross buns with their sweet white icing at every Easter dinner table. I don’t. We stuffed ourselves with so much Armenian Easter bread, that even one of these little rolls may have done us in. It’s a shame, really, because as much as I adore our Armenian bread, these rolls are admittedly wonderful. I just love the warm mixture of spices, like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom. Their flavor is really like a whisper, but, that moment you take a bite, you’ll wonder…what is that flavor? The dough is only slightly sweet, but you get these wonderful pops of sweetness from the icing and dots of currants.
These sweet little rolls are not difficult to make and once you’ve risen the dough, creating the buns is a task even little hands can handle. And just think, if you let your children help you make these, someday they’ll have wonderful memories of hot cross buns with sweet white icing at every Easter dinner table.
Hot Cross Buns
1 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
zest of one orange
1/2 cup currants, soaked in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon orange juice
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water (or milk)
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons milk
In a heat resistant bowl or measuring cup, warm the milk in the microwave for a minute and a half. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the sugar, then sprinkle in the yeast. Give it a light stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The mixture should be nice and bubbly after that time.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and the spices in a large mixing bowl or the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine. Add the yeast mixture, butter, eggs, orange zest and currants along with any orange juice remaining in the bowl. Mix to combine, using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Once combined, switch to the dough hook or place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand. Knead with the dough hook for 4 to 5 minutes or a bit longer by hand. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and keep in a draft free spot to rise for 3 hours.
Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Roll one half out into a log 12 inches long. Cut the log in half. Continue cutting each piece of the log in half until you have 8 pieces. Take one piece and roll the sides down a bit to form a smooth ball. Pinch the ends under and place the ball on a lightly greased baking sheet, or line with parchment. Continue with the remaining pieces, placing them 2 inches apart on the sheet. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough until 16 pieces have been formed. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise again for 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
With a sharp knife, score each bun with a cross pattern.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with either water or milk to create an egg wash. Brush each bun with the wash. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
Allow to cool completely.
Mix the icing in a small bowl and transfer into a small zipper bag. Snip the very tip of the bag and pipe the icing into a cross pattern onto each bun.
Makes 16 buns.
- Try serving these with soft butter and a smidge of marmalade. Heavenly.
- Inspired by Hot Cross Buns | Simply Recipes.