Hot Cross Buns were always a part of Easter for me growing up. When I was little I remember just liking to lick the icing off. As I grew and my taste for peel developed, I enjoyed the whole thing! Of course, if peel still isn’t your thing, feel free to leave it out. These are still great and festive without it.
Hot Cross Buns freeze well (before icing), so they are great to make ahead and then just ice before serving. This is the recipe my Mom has used for years.
Hot Cross Buns
Summary: Traditional Easter hot cross buns, made with currants and peel. You can leave out the peel or replace the currants with raisins. This recipe will make 20 to 24 buns. They freeze well.
- 2 envelopes yeast (traditional, not instant)
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup currants, peel or mixed candied fruit
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 5 cups (approximately) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. mace
- 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp. allspice
- Be sure flour is at room temperature before using.
- Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and sugar, leaving for 10 minutes.
- Combine warm milk, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and lightly beaten eggs in mixing bowl. Beat in yeast mixture. Beat in flour 1 cup at a time, adding spices with the third cup of flour, and desired fruits/peel/currants with the fourth cup, making sure the fruit is well covered with flour before mixing in.
- Start kneading with hands, adding only enough of the last cup of flour to keep from sticking. Knead at least 5 minutes. Place in a buttered bowl, sprinkle lightly with flour, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk.
- Punch down dough. Cover again with flour and damp cloth and leave to rise another 30 minutes.
- Shape dough into equal-sized balls (about half the size of a finished bun) and place in a buttered baking dish (9×13 glass works well for these). Set buns out to rise until doubled in bulk. (*I like to put a a lot in the pan, so they rise up instead of out – like 4 rows of 5 or 6 in a 9×13 pan. The short sides of the 9×13 pan will still give you a very rounded top, while the bottom will be squarish. If you prefer the round shape, place on a parchment covered baking sheet or two, leaving more space between them so they will spread). If you like, you can cut a cross into the top with a sharp knife or clean scissors before baking.
- Bake in a pre-heated 350° F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly brown and hollow sounding when tapped.
- Remove from oven and brush with a glaze of sugar and hot water.
- Ice each bun with a vanilla butter frosting, by making a cross on each bun with the icing using a pastry bag or icing tool.
- Makes 20 to 24 buns.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 25 min | Total time: 2 hours 50 min
Number of servings (yield): 20