These light, gently spiced buns are one of my favorite Easter week traditions. I make them every Good Friday, always bringing them to my mom to enjoy with a cup of tea. This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is a little time intensive, but not difficult and, it has never failed me. You get big, beautifully golden rolls that are a perfect breakfast or brunch treat. My little guy got in on the action last year and loved every minute.
First, you make the dough and let it rise. The Donosaur thought it was absolutely magical watching the yeast make the dough puff up. He found it hilarious when I told him the yeast was burping and tooting. Don’t believe me? Ask Alton Brown.
After punching down the bread, we made individual dough balls and placed them in a casserole dish. Serious business here.
Poor kid. He thinks it’s almost bun time. Little does he know they still have another rise in them.
Just before baking, we cut crosses into the rolls. Admission time. I forget every single year what way to cut in the crosses and always (always) end up with hot X buns. I don’t know why, but my mind just does not function in a way that allows me to remember it shouldn’t be corner to corner cuts. Look at his face. It’s like he already knows I messed up AGAIN this year.
Oh well. They still turn out golden, delicious and perfectly sweet.
I love bread. It’s so gorgeous. And, it kinda makes me happy in my heart.
I’m sure food shouldn’t do that, but these buns just have that effect on me. Mmmmm.
Hot Cross Buns
* 3/4 C buttermilk, warm (110 degrees)
* 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
* 3 large eggs
* 4 1/4 C all purpose flour
* 1/4 C sugar
* 1 envelope instant or rapid-rise yeast
* 1 1/4 t salt
* 1 t ground cinnamon
* 1 C raisins
* 1 large egg
* 1 T water
* 3/4 C powdered sugar
* 1 t milk
* 1/2 t vanilla extract
1. For the buns: Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 4 C of the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and cinnamon in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
2. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 C flour, 1 T at a time until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.
3. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, add the raisins and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball with evenly distributed raisins. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
4. Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, divide it into 12 even pieces. round the pieces of dough into small taut rolls. Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking pan and wrap tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size and are pressed against on another, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the egg and water together and brush over the buns. Then, using a sharp knife, cut an X (cross!) through the top 1/4 inch of each bun. Bake until golden and puffed, 25-30 minutes.
6. For the glaze: Let the rolls cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together then drizzle in an X into the cut groves of the buns. Serve warm.