These Hot Cross Buns are perfect for celebrating Easter. I'll walk you through how to make these sweet yeast buns from scratch. This recipe can be cut in half if desired.Be sure to check out the how-to VIDEO at the bottom of the recipe!
2largeeggslightly beaten, room temperature preferred
⅔cupsdried currants or raisins
ICING (Please see notes if you would like to make traditional pastry crosses instead).
1 ½cupspowdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer (see note if you do not have a stand mixer), combine 2 cups (250g) flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and spices.
In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter until butter is melted and mixture reaches 120-125F (48-52C) (if the mixture becomes too hot, let it cool back down to the correct temperature range, otherwise you run the risk of killing your yeast).
Turn mixer to low speed and gradually pour liquid ingredients into dry. Once just combined, add eggs and stir until combined.
Stir in currants or raisins and orange zest, if using.
With mixer on low speed, gradually add remaining flour (415g) as needed (it's possible you will not need to use all of the flour) until dough attains a smooth elastic texture that’s tacky to the touch but not too sticky. The dough should be clinging to itself and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Add additional flour if needed.
Form the dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Roll dough through oil and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free spot and allow to rise until doubled in size (usually 30-60 minutes). I usually preheat my oven at this point and place my dough on the top of my preheating oven, as that’s the warmest spot in my house.
Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and lightly butter a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
Once dough has risen, punch down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Form into a log that’s 12” long and cut into 12 even slices. Form each slice into a round ball/roll and place rolls almost touching in prepared plan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise again for 20-30 minutes. If making pastry crosses (rather than the recommended icing), please see notes section below.
Once rolls have finished their rise, combine large egg and 2 teaspoons of water in a small dish. Use a whisk or fork to beat until well-combined. Remove plastic wrap from rolls and use a pastry brush to brush the top of each roll with egg wash mixture.
Transfer to 350F (175C) oven and bake for 30-32 minutes or until rolls are golden brown and are firm and sound hollow when tapped on top. Allow to cool before adding icing.
Prepare icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and lemon juice. It should have a thick consistency that holds its shape for piping, if it’s too thin then add more sugar, if too thick then add more milk.
Spoon icing into a small piping bag or into a ziploc bag and snip one corner. Pipe crosses over buns.
I have successfully made this recipe by substituting an equal amount of active dry yeast. To do this, heat the milk to only 115F (46C) then add the yeast with a generous pinch of sugar, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes until a foamy cap forms. Then add melted butter, flour, sugar, salt, and spices and proceed with the recipe as indicated. It will need to rise longer (approximately 1-2 hours or longer).
Making without a stand mixer
To make by hand, simply combine the ingredient using a wooden spoon through step 5. Once the dough is dry enough to do so (but still a bit tacky to the touch), turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Add more flour as needed by sprinkling over the surface of the dough and working it in as you knead.
This recipe can be made with traditional pastry crosses instead, though it is not my preference for taste. To do so:Stir together ½ cup all-purpose flour (65g), 1 ½ Tablespoons granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water (60ml). The mixture should be thick enough to pipe and hold its shape, add more flour if needed.Pipe crosses over the buns before baking (use a piping bag or a ziploc bag with a corner snipped off), brush with egg wash if desired, and bake. After baking you can brush with some melted apricot jam over the buns for added sweetness, if desired.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. For best results, warm slightly before enjoying.