Every year I think about making hot cross buns, but Easter sneaks up on me and I never get around to it. Funny, the year that Easter is earlier than I ever remember it is the year I finally get around to making them. Now that I realize how easy they are to make, hopefully I will be making them every year. This recipe makes 24 buns, but that's ok because folklore specifically states that you are supposed to share them with friends. I asked David to bring (more than) half of them to work, but he forgot them on the counter. Looks like we are going to be very lonely the next year! Also, if you feel like you need some good luck with bread baking in your kitchen the next year, you can hang one of the buns in your kitchen to ensure that all your breads turn out perfectly. I wasn't too fond of the idea of having a moldy bun hanging around my kitchen for the next year and decided to look into this tradition a little further and found a couple of fun articles in the news this week. One family has passed down a hot cross bun for five generations, the bun was baked in 1821, the year Napoleon died! The article has some other fun tidbits of folklore, you can find it here. That's a pretty old bun, but these folks think there's might be even older, read about the 200 year old hot cross bun here.
I think I'll stick with these fresh ones thanks. Happy Easter everyone!
adapted from Whole Grain Baking
1 cup of currants moistened in 1 tablespoons of dark rum (or water)
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup orange juice
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
For the Icing:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
In a small bowl, combine the currants with the rum. Set aside.
Combine all of the dough ingredients,except the current and mix in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix until you have a medium soft, smooth dough. This should take about 10 minutes. Cover and let the dough rise until it’s puffy, but not quite doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
Lightly grease two 9x2-inch cake pans. Gently deflate the dough on a lightly greased surface. Knead in the currants by hand. Cut or divide the dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a round ball.
Place 12 balls, smooth side up in each pan, you should have about 3/4 of an inch between each ball of dough. Cover, and let the buns rise in a warm spot until they are puffy and toucing one another, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Toward the end of your rise time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uncover and bake the buns, until they’re lightly golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
Whisk together the icing ingredients, adding one teaspoon of milk at a time until the icing is smooth, but not too thin to pipe. After the rolls have cooled for about 15 minutes, pipe on the icing in the cross shape. Make sure the buns are not too hot (the icing will melt), but also not completely cold (the icing won't stick) If you don’t have piping bags, you can use a zip top plastic bag with the corner snipped off.
Bring to friends and share.