Recipe: Hot cross buns

ALISON & SIMON HOLST
Last updated 05:00 13/04/2011
hot cross buns
Waikato Times
TRADITIONAL FARE: Enjoy the aroma as well as the taste of home-baked hot cross buns.

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NEED TO KNOW

Main ingredient Flour
Type of dish Baking
Course Snacks
Cooking time 1 - 2 hours
Serves/makes 12 - 16
Special options Kid-friendly

Judging from the number of requests we get for recipes every year, making hot cross buns at home is still very popular. If you have a bread maker, it's remarkably easy, but making bread or buns by hand is remarkably satisfying, if a little more time consuming.

Commercially made buns seem to get a little darker and spicier every year, so we've followed the trend. Whichever method you choose to make these dark, spicy buns you still get to enjoy the amazing aroma as they bake.

Rich, Dark Hot Cross Buns

Makes 16-20 buns.

3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup boiling water
4 tsp Surebake yeast
75g soft butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups (475g) High Grade flour
1 Tbsp each mixed spice, cinnamon and cocoa powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup mixed fruit
short or flaky pastry for crosses, optional

Using a bread maker: Measure the milk and boiling water into the bread machine bowl, then add the yeast, butter, honey and salt and stir gently. Add the flour, spices, cocoa powder and brown sugar, then set the machine to the sweet dough cycle and press "start". Check the dough after about five minutes of mixing – it should have formed a smoothish ball. If it looks too sticky, add two tablespoons extra flour. If it looks too dry, add one to two tablespoons of extra water. Add the mixed fruit at the beep (if your machine does this) or after 10-15 minutes of mixing.

Making by hand: Measure the milk and boiling water into a large bowl, then add the yeast and leave to stand for about five minutes. Measure in the softened butter, honey, salt, two cups of flour, the spices, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Mix thoroughly then leave for 15 minutes or longer in a warm place.

Add the remaining flour and stir to make a soft dough, adding a little extra warm milk or flour if necessary. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and satiny and springs back when pressed gently. Turn the dough in 1-2 teaspoons of oil, then place in a clean, dry bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm, draught-free place for 30-40 minutes.

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Shaping and baking: When the dough is ready, divide it evenly into four pieces. Divide each of these into four or five pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball, then arrange the balls in non-stick sprayed or baking paper-lined baking pans, or in a rectangular roasting pan, leaving about 1-2cm between each bun. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (usually 30-60 minutes).

If you want crosses, roll the pastry very thinly then cut into strips about 7mm wide. Brush with beaten egg and carefully arrange, egg side down, in crosses on the risen buns.

Bake at 200C for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned and hollow-sounding when tapped lightly. Remove from the oven and glaze immediately with syrup made by bringing to the boil one tablespoon each of golden syrup, honey and water.

- The Dominion Post

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