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Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

These homemade hot cross buns are so easy to make and taste much better then the ones you get at the store! The whole family will love them!

Do you know the song, “Hot Cross Buns”?  It was the first little song I taught my kids on the piano.  It’s likely the first little song everyone learns on the piano.

Soft and fluffy hot cross buns filled with raisins and topped with a honey lemon glaze - they make the perfect treat for the Easter season!

So the first time I made hot cross buns at Easter, when she was about 6, she was quite confused.  Because how do you make a song?

It makes sense that she didn’t know they were an actual thing, as I’ve never bought them, because in my opinion hot cross buns make a great little song, but aren’t really worth eating.  Until I tried this recipe.

Soft and fluffy hot cross buns filled with raisins and topped with a honey lemon glaze - they make the perfect treat for the Easter season!

These ones are good.  I don’t what it is about the ones at the store, but I always think they’re way too dry.  And I’m sorry, but I cannot get on board with candied fruit in bread.  That just shouldn’t happen.

Needless to say – there’s no candied fruit in this recipe. I suppose you could replace the raisins with candied fruit.  Just don’t tell me about it.

Soft and fluffy hot cross buns filled with raisins and topped with a honey lemon glaze - they make the perfect treat for the Easter season!

These may not even be very traditional.  I really don’t know. But a number of years ago I made a Greek celebration bread, the braided kind with hard boiled eggs tucked in between the strands, for Easter, and my mom said that it reminded her of hot cross buns.  

So, since that bread was tasty, I figured I could make a variation of it into these buns that I would actually eat.

Maybe not traditional, but they’re light and fluffy, filled with spices and raisins, and have a sweet honey lemon glaze on top.

And they’re delicious.

Soft and fluffy hot cross buns filled with raisins and topped with a honey lemon glaze - they make the perfect treat for the Easter season!

What is the cross on the hot cross bun made of?

The cross is actually just made with a flour and water paste. You pipe the paste onto the buns before baking them and it bakes into the bread in the traditional cross shape. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like a flour paste on top of your bun, it just bakes into it.

You can use a piping bag, or just a ziplock bag with the corner cut off to pipe the flour paste onto the buns.

Soft and fluffy hot cross buns filled with raisins and topped with a honey lemon glaze - they make the perfect treat for the Easter season!

What is the story behind hot cross buns?

Hot cross buns are spiced, sweet buns marked with a cross on top. The cross represents Jesus’ crucifixion, and the spices are meant to represent the spices that were put on his body. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday.

Soft and fluffy hot cross buns filled with raisins and topped with a honey lemon glaze - they make the perfect treat for the Easter season!

How to make Hot Cross Buns:

  • If you want to prep ahead, you can make these up to the point where you shape them into buns, then let them rise until they’re almost doubled (30-45 minutes), and place them in the fridge overnight. The next day take them out of the fridge to warm up and finish rising, about 90 minutes before you’re ready to bake them.
  • These are best the day you bake them, but if you keep them tightly covered they’ll still be tasty for a couple of days afterwards, just reheat them gently in the microwave, or even slice them and toast them a bit

Here are some more great brunch recipes for you:

Yield: 12 buns

Hot Cross Buns

Soft and fluffy hot cross buns filled with raisins and topped with a honey lemon glaze - they make the perfect treat for the Easter season!

These homemade hot cross buns are so easy to make and taste much better then the ones you get at the store! The whole family will love them!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

For the Buns:

  • 3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons Instant Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest, zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 2 large Eggs, at room temperature, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
  • 1/4 cup Water, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Raisins

For the Cross:

  • 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Water

For the Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Extract

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
  2. Add the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and almond extract and start to mix on low speed.
  3. Drizzle in the water slowly with the mixer running, using just enough water to form a soft dough.
  4. If the dough still looks dry add more water, a teaspoon at a time until it’s a soft ball.
  5. Knead the dough with the dough hook for 5 minutes (7-8 minutes by hand) until it is soft and slightly tacky, but not sticky at all. If it’s too sticky sprinkle in a little more flour, if it is stiff then add a little more water, until you have a smooth, soft dough.
  6. Add the raisins and knead for 1-2 more minutes until they are dispersed throughout the dough. You may have to do the last of the kneading by hand to get all of the raisins into the dough.
  7. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning it to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes.
  8. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Punch down the risen dough and remove it from the bowl to an oiled countertop.
  9. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 3 ounces each, and roll each piece into a round ball. The easiest way is to roll the dough pieces on the counter, cupping your hand around the dough, with the edge of your hand on the counter. After 10-15 seconds of rolling it this way it will form a nice round ball with a smooth top.
  10. Place the buns in the prepared baking dish. Cover them with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray.
  11. Allow the buns to rise until doubled, about one hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and water for the crosses to form a paste. Spoon this paste into a ziplock bag or a piping bag.
  13. Cut a small corner from the ziplock bag and pipe the paste into cross shapes on the tops of the buns.
  14. Bake for 25-27 minutes until the buns are golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of one reads 190°F.
  15. Allow the buns to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  16. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and the sugar to a boil.
  17. Add the honey and lemon extract and whisk to combine and then remove from the heat. Remove the buns to a wire rack and brush with the glaze, you may not need it all.
  18. Let the buns cool completely on the wire rack.

Notes

These hot cross buns are best the day they are baked, but can be reheated and enjoyed for a couple of days. If you want to prep them ahead, you can make them up to the point where you shape them into buns, then let them rise until they’re almost doubled (30-45 minutes), and then place them in the fridge overnight. The next day take them out of the fridge to warm up and finish rising about 90 minutes before you’re ready to bake them.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 167mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 2gSugar: 17gProtein: 6g

Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.

I’ve also shared this Hot Cross Buns recipe over on Food Fanatic.

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