Hot Cross Buns

Because they are so indulgent, hot cross buns were banned from being sold in Elizabethan England on any day except Good Friday. Today is Good Friday, so go ahead and treat yourselves! The recipe I used came from the April edition of Chatelaine magazine. I have made a few minor changes, but I believe you will find these to be so incredibly tasty, especially if enjoyed right from the oven. They're sticky and sweet from the icing sugar glaze, but the buns themselves are so chewy and delectable, packed with plenty of spices and raisins. Slather them with some butter and enjoy with a hot cup of tea, these make a wonderfully scrumptious breakfast.

They are quite simple to make, although quite time consuming. You need to allow the dough to rise twice, for about an hour each time. So if you haven't got much else to do today, then why not? This recipe leaves you with twelve sinfully delcious hot cross buns.

Ingredients -

1 cup of raisins
3 and 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 of a cup of white sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
2 and 1/4 teaspoons of quick-rise yeast
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 of a teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 of a teaspoon of ground ginger
1/3 of a cup of warm water*
1/2 of a cup of warm milk*
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 egg, at room temperature

* The water and the milk must be warm enough to activate your yeast. Make sure both liquids are around 120F - 130F

1/4 of a cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 of a cup of water

1 cup of icing sugar
2 tablespoons of water

Method -

1 - In a small bowl, cover your raisins with boiling water for about ten minutes. This allows the raisins to plump up. Drain well and pat dry. Set aside.
2 - In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together 1 cup of flour with your sugar, lemon zest, yeast, salt and spices. Gradually add in the warmed up water and milk, as well as your egg. Incorporate the remaining 2 1/4 cups of flour and continue mixing until the dough looks smooth and is cleanly pulling away from the sides of your bowl. This should take between five and seven minutes.
3 - Add in your raisins. You can continue using your mixer but I prefer to knead the raisins in by hand, on a lightly floured surface. Once the raisins have been fully combined, lightly oil a large bowl and pop your dough in it. Cover with a warm, damp tea towel and allow the dough to rise until it’s doubled in size, roughly one hour.
4 - Transfer your dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into twelve equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball, trying to keep the dough as smooth as possible. This can be quite tricky, I ended up with a few bumpy looking buns but it really makes no difference in taste. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer your balls of dough to the sheet, arranging them in four rows of three so they are just touching. Cover with your tea towel once again (if your towel has gone cold, warm it up a bit) and let rise for about an hour.
5 - Preheat your oven to 350F. To make the crosses for on top of your buns, mix together 1/4 of a cup of flour and 1/4 of a cup of water until smooth. I just pour this into a small Ziploc-bag and snip a small hole in one corner. Pipe crosses onto your buns. Pop into your oven to bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
6 - Stir together your icing sugar and two tablespoons of water until smooth. Brush over the tops of the buns fresh from the oven. Transfer to a rack and allow for them to cool and tuck in!

Thank you for reading! Happy Easter weekend!