Monday, April 18, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

The first year we were living in Toronto, the Cobs bakery chain left about 10 coupons for free Hot Cross Buns in the mail boxes of our and our neighbours' mail boxes. Luckily for my husband and I, our neighbours kept throwing their coupons into the recycle bin by the boxes.

So we probably ate 7-8 free Hot Cross buns that year. It was fantastic. I love free food!

Now, as sad as I am that there haven't been coupons for the past couple of years, I have to admit, while Cobs' buns are good, they're not the best I've ever had.

Homemade is always better - especially because it'll fill your home with the sweet smell of cinnamon.

My version has no candied peel in it, but a combination of currants and sultanas along with the zest of an orange and lemon.

Hot Cross Buns

(adapted from Canadian Living and Martha Stewart)



½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup warm water
2¼ tsp active dry yeast (one package)
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup milk, warmed
¼ cup melted butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk 
zest of one large orange
zest of one large lemon
cups all purpose flour
¼ cup each dried currants and sultanas


2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp water 


½ cup icing sugar
½ - 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. Mix 1 tbsp sugar, warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand for 5 minutes, until yeast proofs. Using the dough hook, stir in remaining sugar with next 10 ingredients (through lemon zest). 

2. Add flour, one cup at a time until a soft dough is formed. Add currants and sultanas and beat for about a minute. Remove dough from bowl and knead just to evenly distribute the fruit. Place in a greased bowl, tossing to grease all over. Cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm, draft free location to rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

3. Divide dough into 10 equal sections. Form each into a smooth tight ball, stretching and pinching dough underneath to make tops smooth. Place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with tea towel and let rise again for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400ยบ.

4. Using a serrated knife or a pair of scissors, slice a cross into the top of each bun. Bake in oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Meanwhile, whisk glaze ingredients together in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Immediately after removing buns from oven, brush them with glaze. Let them cool on the pan.

The glaze gives the buns a lovely sheen.
6. Stir together icing ingredients until smooth and pipe a cross on top of each cooled bun. If you don't have a piping bag, don't stress. Just fill a plastic sandwich bag with icing and cut off a small portion of one corner and then pipe out the icing.

Enjoy licking the sticky sweetness off your fingers!


Anonymous said...

Yum! Growing up, hot cross buns were essential for Easter morning. I just bought some today from a local bakery to freeze for Easter morning this year. I'd love to try to make them myself some year when my son's birthday doesn't fall on Easter.

Alyson said...

I love that they're reminiscent of Christmas flavours, but brightened up with the lemon. One of my favourite sweet breads of all time!

Cortneyloo said...

This looks amazing! And your pictures are so wonderfully done too!

Alyson said...

Thanks Cortney!

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