Saturday, April 23, 2011

Weekend Cooking.. "One ha' penny, Two ha' penny, Hot Cross Buns"

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
one ha' penny,
two ha' penny,
hot cross buns.

If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons,
one ha' penny,
two ha' penny,
Hot Cross Buns

I am a person riddled with fears...and one of them is yeast! It is so mysterious, all bubbling and...alive! But we should try and overcomes our fears and so I struck out to make something yeasty, some Easter-y. Something that looks like it would be lovely with a cup of tea. So, off I went in search of a recipe. I could not find one from America's Test Kitchen (lol) so I went with one from my friends at King Arthur Flour, mostly because they were named Easy Hot Cross Buns.
They had me at the word easy.


  • 1/4 cup apple juice or rum
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, 1 separated
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


  • 1 large egg white, reserved from above
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing


1) Lightly grease a 10" square pan or 9" x 13" pan.
2) Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to "shrink wrap" itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.
3) When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.
4) Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.
5) Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You'll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.
6) Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
7) Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.
8) Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
9) Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.

I went with the rum to soak the fruit, because oddly I have a big bottle of rum on hand but not a drop of apple juice. Go figure!  I also added a bit more fruit than the recipe called for, maybe 1 1/2 in all and a bit more brown sugar, more than 1/4 but less than a full 1/2...whatever that would be. I made those changes based on some of the comments on the KAF site. Ok, I also added 1 tsp of vanilla extract and the zest of an orange and used some of the juice instead of milk in the icing...because I had that sad zested orange sitting there, just begging to be of use! 
Let me tell ya, these things smell WONDERFUL as they baked.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. The look absolutely scrumptiousa and making my mouth water right now.

  2. Yeast always scared me too. But a biologist once told me, just remember that yeast are living things, and pick your water temp. like you would for any other living creature. Very helpful advice!

  3. I'm definitely going to have bake hot cross buns soon. This is the second post about them. I have a craving!

    King Arthur will never lead you astray. I count on them. Yeast is fun and it can be your friend!

  4. What a delightful post :)
    I've been baking bread for years, so yeast is not scary to me, but I am definitely souffle challenged -- I've always been too afraid to try one...

    These hot cross buns look great; very professional :)

  5. They look absolutely amazing, glad you got over your fear of yeast! I still need to get over mine.

  6. I'm afraid of yeast too, so I'm extremely impressed with your hot cross buns. I LOVED hot cross buns as a kid, but haven't had them in ages - it's hard to find them in the Deep South.

  7. well, you will just have to make some!

  8. I never made hot cross buns before but I wanted to try for several years already.

  9. I had a like/dislike relationship with hot cross buns. Some are delicious and other UGH. Maybe its the rum! Haven't had them since both grandmothers passed, they were the ones that made them.

  10. These look so shiny and good. I've made them before but never put a topping on them. I like that. That must be what makes them look so shiny. I like the extra fruit you put in too.

  11. They had me at the first ingredient...rum! Love those folks at King Arthur Flour. I've never made hot cross buns but if I were going to, this is the recipe I would turn to.

  12. Hot Cross Buns are popular this weekend!

    I love that ATK is your go-to for recipes -- you have me absolutely hooked on the SLOW COOKER REVOLUTION, so I suspect I'll be popping over to King Arthur to see what other goodies I can find.

  13. Two questions. (1) Why no discussion about the fascinating history of the bun? For instance, after the Protestant Reformation, the English government tried to ban the bun as too Catholic (a papist pastry?) (2) They look really good. Do we get to try them?

  14. Oh, don't they look super yummy. And I agree, a lot like Nigella's.

  15. Yum!!! Man those look good!

    Feel free to visit my W C

  16. hope you all enjoy that history lesson above... ;-)

    of course, he did not mention that some trace the origins to a bun eaten by the Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre. marked with a cross that they believe represented the four seasons.
    hmmm..I assume they don't mean the singing group, right?

  17. Oh yummy. Looks like the 'easy' worked for you.

  18. I would never have thought to try to make Hot Cross Buns! These looks delicious!

  19. Caite, I have to tell you that I ordered the original Bundt pan you blogged about recently from Amazon, and it arrived this week. It is just awesome. Thanks for telling us about it.

  20. I don't think I've tried hot cross buns before, they look so good! Wonder how long they keep (assuming they're not devoured within a day xD)

  21. Yummy! I love hot cross buns. By the way, I also have a bottle of rum and no apple juice. Three cheers for rum!

  22. Those look so delicious!

  23. I used to be able to play this tune on the recorder. Funny that I've never actually eaten hot cross buns.

  24. I love Hot Cross Buns but I am also afraid of yeast. I need to tackle my fear of yeast like you did and try this. They look wonderful!


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