Hot Cross Buns are traditionally made during Lent. Full of spices and raisins with a cross on top of the rolls, they are eagerly awaited during the year. Hot cross buns are a welcome and tasty staple of Lent. According to Wikipedia: “English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or mold during the subsequent year.” Well, in my house they won’t last that long!
If you’ve never baked with a product by Sun-Maid called bakers raisins, you’ve missed the perfect raisin for baking. They are moist and plump and don’t need any soaking to use. A friend of mine introduced me a few years ago and I have been a fan every since. I have included instructions for regular raisins that should be soaked to plump them before using in the Hot Cross Buns.
These Hot Cross Buns use the same basic dough used in the Cinnamon Raisin Bread. A generous amount of spices and raisins make these easy buns really simple to make.
Hot Cross Buns
1 recipe Basic Dough as called for (substituting the flour below) – see Cinnamon Raisin Bread
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup very hot water, optional
3 1/4 cup flour (490 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
If using regular raisins, not the bakers version, combine the raisins in the hot water for 20 to 30 minutes before starting the dough.
If soaking the raisins, drain well and reserve the water. Squeeze excess water from raisins. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup water from raisins.
Add the spices and salt to the flour. Continue as directed in Basic Sweet Dough recipe. Add raisins at end of beating time.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with cooking spray.
With a lightly floured hand, shape into round balls by pulling all the edges of dough underneath and squeezing them together. Place the ball on the work table right side up and cup your hand over and around it; shape by rolling the dough counter-clockwise in your cupped hand. Place on baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely and drizzle with Vanilla Glaze (below).
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted after measuring (200 grams or 7 ounces)
3 tablespoons butter, melted (45 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk