Hot cross buns, hot cross buns. One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns. If you have no daughters, give them to your sons. If your sons don’t like them, they’re the only ones. One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.
A hot cross bun is a cinnamon flavored sweet bun mixed with currants or raisins and marked with a white icing cross on the top. In predominantly Christian countries, hot cross buns are traditionally eaten warm out of the oven or toasted from Ash Wednesday through Good Friday.
There are many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. They supposedly won’t spoil or mold for an entire year. A piece given to someone who is ill will help them recover. Sharing one with friend will secure a lasting friendship. Taking one on a sea voyage will protect against shipwrecks. And, my personal favorite, a hot cross bun hung in the kitchen throughout the year will prevent kitchen fires and ensure all baked goods turn out perfectly. It will most likely also attract every flying insect in the immediate area..
Whatever your personal beliefs, we guarantee you and your family will enjoy these simple, bread-like sweet buns any time you make them. You can even personalize them by using dried cherries, dried cranberries, or your favorite fruitcake or Panettone dried fruit blend instead of currants or raisins.
Hot Cross Buns
- ¾ cup warm water (90°F to 110°F)
- 3 Tbs butter, softened
- 1 Tbs powdered milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg plus 1 egg white
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbs active dry yeast
- ¾ cup raisins or currants
- 1 tsp Amoretti Cinnamon Oil Extract
- 1 egg white
- 1 Tbs milk
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 Tbs water
- ½ tsp Amoretti Lemon Zest Oil Extract
- 1 tsp Amoretti Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla (2 Fold) Extract
In a small bowl, combine the warm water, the powdered milk, 1 tsp of the sugar and the yeast, and let it sit until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 3 cups of the flour, the salt, and the rest of the sugar and momentarily run the mixer to combine them. Add the yeast mixture, the softened butter, the egg and the egg white, and mix the ingredients until well incorporated. The mixture will be quite sticky. Add in the raisins and the Amoretti Cinnamon Oil Extract and run the mixer until they are combined. Continue to knead the dough on low speed, slowly adding in additional flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough is slightly tacky, but no longer sticks to your fingers when you touch it.
Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil, add the dough, turn to coat, cover it the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down, and divide into two pieces. Place one piece back in the bowl while you work with the other piece. Cut the dough you are working with into 8 equal pieces, form each individual piece into a flat bottomed ball and place them 1½ inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut the remaining dough into 8 equal pieces, form each individual piece into a flat bottomed ball and place them 1½ inches apart on a second baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover each baking sheet with plastic wrap and let the dough sit in a warm place to rise until the buns have doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix egg white and 2 tablespoons water and coat the buns using a pastry brush. Place the baking sheets on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the buns are lightly browned. Remove them from the oven, let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then move the buns to a wire rack to cool completely.
Combine the water, vanilla extract and lemon zest oil, and whisk in the powdered sugar until you get a thick consistency. Once the buns have cooled completely, place the frosting in a piping bag and pipe two lines of frosting on top of each bun to make a cross