Monday, March 24, 2008

Hot Cross Buns

Have you ever eaten Hot Cross Buns? Did you know that "cross" is in the name because there are crosses cut in the top of each bun?

I was always intrigued by the seemingly English tradition of Hot Cross Buns at Easter. And once I discovered I could bake, I decided to tackle them.

This is my third year of making Hot Cross Buns for Easter, and I don't expect the tradition to die any time soon. These are delicious! I liken them to cinnamon raisin bread with a glaze, but my husband wasn't so sure he'd describe them that way (although he couldn't figure out how he would describe them, except "delicious").

So here's the recipe I use (from Light & Tasty magazine), adapted to a bread machine:

4-5 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
1-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine, melted
2 eggs
3/4 cup raisins
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp cold water
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tsp cold water

In a bread machine pan, add the first nine ingredients in the order recommended by the manufacturer. (I used 4-1/2 cups of flour to start.) Select the Dough cycle and switch on. Check after 5 minutes. If necessary, add more flour.

When Dough cycle is complete, punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in two 9" round baking pans coated with nonstick cooking spray. Using a sharp knife (or kitchen scissors), cut a cross on top of each roll. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Beat egg yolk and water; brush over buns. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Combine icing ingredients; drizzle over top of rolls.

Yield: 16 rolls