As a child my favourite part of hot cross buns was the frosting. Or was it the fact that you also got to butter a sweet bun that already had frosting on it?
No matter, to this day they are one of the great Easter treats.
When the hot cross buns appeared in our house the excitement meter rose about 10 notches. They launched the Easter Bunny countdown.
There is something irresistible about the soft texture of a yeast dough with egg. This is special occasion bread (even through it’s a humble dough, lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and studded simply with raisins and currants.)
This is a recipe from the old Grandma cookbook (origin unknown). It’s an easy dough to prepare, rises fairly fast and the buns bake quickly in a hot oven.
Hot cross buns
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ¼ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
- 1 pkg. dry yeast (1 Tbsp.)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Tbsp. soft butter
- 2 to 2¼ cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ cup currants
- ½ cup raisins
- Heat milk to lukewarm in a saucepan.
- Remove to a large bowl, stir in sugar and sprinkle over yeast. Let sit for 5 min.
- Stir in butter, egg and molasses.
- Add salt, spices and about 1 3/4 cups of the flour.Stir to combine.
- Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the remaining flour (no need to use it all).
- Place in a greased bowl, turn to coat, cover and let rise until double (1-1.5 hours).
- Punch down and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Knead in currants and raisins.
- Divide dough into 9 balls. Place about 2″ apart on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Cover and let rise until double (about 45 min.).
- Just before baking cut a cross in the top of each bun (optional).
- Bake at 375°F about 15 min. or until brown.
- When cooled, pipe a cross on each bun with a basic white icing.