Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hot Cross Buns

I know I am behind the times, and everyone else already posted all their hot cross bun recipes ages ago (ok maybe it wasn't ages, but I have completely lost my grasp of time, this new job of mine where I work in the morning and then have the day off and work again in the evening makes every day feel more like 2 mini days, which I feel is a somewhat valid excuse for not being able to remember when Easter was). Anyways, I am finding that I am quite fond of food that is connected to specific holidays (like hot cross buns and Good Friday), I want to try to incorporate more of it into my daily life, of course that means I am going to need to find some more holidays to celebrate with food on a daily basis. Hot cross buns are all kinds of wonderful according to wikipedia. They save you from shipwrecks and do good things for your friendships and make it so your bread always rises and nothing will burn in your kitchen. Of course I think technically speaking, you need to carry around a bun with you to make sure all these things happen, but if you are like me (I tend to be more liberal with my interpretations, for example I feel that going to a christmas pageant can certainly take the place of going to church christmas day, my mother does not always agree) baking these babies will keep you from encountering any perfect storm type scenarios for at least a year, no need to bring one along. I used this recipe, I don't know how much of a difference using honey instead of sugar made, but I liked the idea.

Making these buns is a bit of a process. Start by mixing the yeast and water.

Then mix the milk, butter, honey and salt together and heat until the butter melts. Depending on how hot this mixture gets during that process, you may want to let it cool a bit before mixing it with the yeast. If it's too hot it will kill the yeast and no one wants dead yeast.

Next, whisk the eggs and spices in a good sized bowl and add the yeast/milk/butter/honey mixture. Toss in your dried cranberries, or raisins or whatever dried fruit you are using. I personally dislike raisins, they make me sad for the grapes they once were, so I always either leave them out or substitute craisins.

Add your flour slowly, then knead until it looks something like this. Cover and let it rise for about an hour or until it has doubled.

After it has risen (like Jesus) (sorry, couldn't help myself, and it was for Good Friday after all) divide the dough into 24 pieces and roll them into balls. Dividing dough evenly is not my strong suit, as you can see. Toss them into a 13x9x2 pan and let them rise again. After they have risen a second time, cut a cross into each bun with a sharp knife, a dull one will be frustrating to use and a bit messy, trust me I know.

Bake for 15 minutes and then glaze with honey and bake for 5 more minutes.

In an ideal world, you would let cool and then put the icing crosses on each bun. In my world, certain people started eating them right away and doing individual crosses was a bit tedious not to mention my icing was a bit runny for that, so I drizzled it over all of them and called it a day.

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