Since Easter is just around the corner and most of our time will be spent at home for the next four weeks, why not bake some delicious Hot Cross Buns?
Traditional Hot Cross Buns
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
2 cups warm whole milk (110˚ to 115˚)
2 large effs
1/3 cup butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dried currants
½ cup raisins
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 to 6 teaspoons whole milk
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. In a large bowl, combine eggs, butter, sugar, salt, spices, yeast mixture and 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in currants, raisins and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide and shape into 30 balls. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until doubled, 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°.
Using a sharp knife, cut a cross on top of each bun. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk and water; brush over tops. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool slightly.
For icing, in a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Pipe a cross on top of each bun. Serve warm.
White chocolate & nut butter
50g whole spelt flour + extra, to dust
50g rolled oats
7,5ml (1½ tsp) ground cinnamon + extra, to sprinkle
pinch ground nutmeg
2,5ml (½ tsp) ground ginger
10ml (2 tsp) xylitol
7,5ml (1½ tsp) instant dried yeast
125ml (½ cup) fat-free milk
30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil + extra, to grease
10ml (2 tsp) vanilla essence
15g dried cranberries
20g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
20g white chocolate, melted, to pipe
macadamia nut butter, to serve
Grease a 20cm-square baking tin. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, spices, salt, xylitol and yeast.
Heat the milk, oil and vanilla in a bowl in the microwave on high until warm, but not hot. Pour the warm liquid over the dry ingredients and add 1 of the eggs. Mix well to combine, then turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with spelt flour and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Add the dried fruit and nuts and knead for a further minute until well distributed through the dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place, about 1 hour.
When the dough has risen, knock it back and divide into 9. Shape the dough into balls and arrange in 3 rows of 3 in the prepared square tin. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Beat the remaining egg and brush over the dough balls before baking in the oven until golden, risen and cooked through, about 35 minutes.
Allow the buns to cool a little before piping a cross over the top of each one with melted white chocolate. Serve immediately spread with a little macadamia nut butter and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon.
Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
7g sachet (2 teaspoons) dry yeast
1 ½ cups milk, warmed
¼ cup caster sugar
4 cups plain flour
½ cup cocoa powder
60g butter, chilled, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup Dark or Milk chocolate bits
1 teaspoon gelatine
1 tablespoon boiling water
Butter, to serve
¼ cup plain flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
Grease a 6cm-deep, 23cm (base) square cake pan. Place yeast, milk and 1 tablespoon Chelsea Caster Sugar in a bowl. Whisk to dissolve yeast. Cover. Set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes or until foamy.
Sift flour and cocoa into a bowl. Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in centre. Add yeast mixture, egg and remaining Chelsea Caster Sugar. Stir to combine. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 1 minute. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Add choc bits. Knead to combine. Roll into 16 balls. Place in prepared pan. Cover. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until slightly risen. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced.
Meanwhile, make paste. Combine flour, Chelsea Caster Sugar and 21/2 tablespoons cold water in a bowl. Spoon into a snap-lock bag. Snip 1 corner from bag. Pipe crosses onto buns. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatine over boiling water in a heatproof jug. Stir with a fork until gelatine has dissolved. Place buns, top-side up, on a wire rack. Brush tops with gelatine mixture. Cool. Serve with butter.
Vegan Hot Cross Buns
300ml unsweetened almond milk
50g dairy-free spread
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
70g golden caster sugar
½ tsp salt
2 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
2 heaped tsp mixed spice
1 large orange, zested
50g mixed peel
For the cross
70g plain flour
For the glaze
50g apricot jam
Put the almond milk in a saucepan over a medium heat. Once simmering, add the spread, remove from the heat and allow to melt. Set aside to cool to hand temperature.
Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk mixture, swiftly combining with a wooden spoon to create a sticky dough. Tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead the dough by stretching it back and forth on the surface for 5 – 7 mins or until smooth, springy and elastic. Shape into a ball and put into a lightly oiled mixing bowl. Cover and leave in a warm spot to rise, for 1hr or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough back onto the surface and flatten into a round. Spread the orange zest, sultanas and mixed peel onto the dough and knead again until everything is well distributed. Form into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and leave to rise for another hour.
Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Knock the dough back by turning it out onto your surface and gently punching out the air. Divide the dough into 12 even-sized pieces, weighing for accuracy if you like. Roll each one into a ball. Arrange the buns on the baking sheet, leaving a 2cm space between each one. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise for 45 mins.
Heat the oven to 220C/ 200 fan/ gas 7. To make the cross, in a small bowl, mix together the flour with 1 tbsp of water at a time to create a thick, pipeable paste. Spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle and pipe crosses on the buns. Transfer to the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until deep golden brown.
Meanwhile, gently heat the jam in a small saucepan over a low heat to loosen. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps. Once cooked, brush the warm jam over the tops of the buns. Set aside to cool a little before eating.