This Hot Cross Buns Recipe creates a perfectly delicious spiced yeast dough. With the addition of candied oranges and raisins, it is the perfect sweet bread to share with your loved ones on Easter or all year round.
Hot Cross Buns Recipe
These days we are learning more and more about where our food comes from. We are eating more mindfully and becoming more aware of the ingredients we use, where they come from, whether local or not. We talk about organic versus non-organic and of course, we talk about homemade versus store-bought.
But one thing we forget to do is think about the history of our food, and consider where Hot Cross Buns and other beloved recipes originate from. Sometimes it's fun looking into the traditions and the legends of a particular dish.
When I think about Hot Cross Buns, it's hard for me not to hear the sound of a recorder or hum the tune that we all know, so I knew I had to look into where this recipe came from.
Spoiler alert: the Cross Buns recipe and the song have nothing to do with one another!
The traditional Hot Cross Bun recipe is made with sugar, spices, fruit and usually eaten on Good Friday, marking the end of lent and each part of the bun has a different meaning. The spices represent the spices used in the embalming at Jesus' funeral and the cross on top signifies the crucifixion of Jesus.
Today, we know that these delicious treats can be found year-round in your local grocery store. But what's even better is making this easy Hot Cross Bun recipe right at home, Easter or not!
How to make hot cross buns
Tip before you begin - soak your raisins (or currents) in a bowl of boiling water and let sit for a few minutes. Drain and dry with a paper towel.
In a medium pot heat the milk, add butter, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine, let it cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast and let it sit then stir to combine.
Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer and add the flour. Beat to combine, add the egg and beat again. Add in remaining flour, cinnamon, allspice, zest and begin to knead the dough. Add the raisins and candied fruit and keep kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides.
Move the dough to a flat surface and gently knead to form a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl making sure all sides are oiled. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm area until doubled in bulk.
Punch the dough and divide it into six equal parts. Form into smooth balls and place in a lightly greased baking pan. Cover with plastic and let rise again in a warm area. Preheat the oven.
Brush the buns with an egg wash and bake until golden brown. Let cool in pan then make a cross on each bun using the icing.
How to make icing for the cross
In a small bowl mix icing sugar and milk until smooth. The mixture should be thick, however, add more icing sugar if necessary.
Ways to eat hot cross buns
I'm not going to tell you what you can and can't eat these buns with. I will say, that they are sweet bread and with the addition of fruit, nuts, and sometimes even alcohol, it's probably safe to say you're not going to use them as burger buns.
They are so good lightly toasted with a bit of butter for breakfast, or drizzled with a glaze for a nice after-dinner dessert.
Why eat them at Easter?
Historically, during lent, people gave up dairy products such as milk and butter and therefore being able to eat the buns, which included dairy, was a symbol of lent being over.
Do you need to soak the raisins before baking?
Yes. This will help the raisins loosen and soften and will make sure they don't sink to the bottom while in the oven. If you are wanting to take these hot cross buns up a level some people enjoy soaking their raisins in rum!
How to store hot cross buns
These buns will keep in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic at room temperature for a few days. They will also freeze well for up to 6 months. It is a good idea to wrap them individually that way you can thaw only the ones you need.
To reheat, simply thaw at room temperature and put them in the oven at 300F for 5 minutes.
Hot Cross Buns Recipe
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon milk 2 % (scalded 180F / 82 C)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour (divided)
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- zest ½ orange
- ¼ cup raisins or currents*
- ¼ cup candied orange
*In a bowl of boiling water add the raisin and let sit for 5 -10 minutes, drain and dry with a paper towel.
- ½ cup powdered/icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons teaspoon milk 2%
- In a medium pot heat the milk to 180F / 82 C, add the butter, sugar and salt, stir to combine, let cool to lukewarm 105F / 40C, then add the yeast and let sit 5m, stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of the stand up mixer, add one cup of flour (130 grams) and beat with flat beaters, add the egg and beat, then add the remaining flour, cinnamon, allspice and zest, start to knead with the dough hook, add the raisins and candied fruit. Continue to knead until smooth and pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes.
- Move the dough to a flat surface and gently knead to form a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl rolling to cover the dough in oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free area for 1-2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch the dough down and then divide into 6 equal parts, form into smooth balls, about 116 grams / 4 ounces each. Place in a lightly greased 10x6.5 inches (26x17cm) baking pan. Cover with plastic, place in a warm draft free area and let rise 1 hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).
- Brush the buns with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pan, then make a cross on each bun with icing using a pastry bag. Enjoy!
- In a small bowl mix the icing sugar and milk until smooth. Mixture should be quite thick. Add more icing sugar if necessary.