Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gram's Hot Cross Buns recipe

Growing up, the coming of Easter heralded the arrival of Gram's hot cross buns. She'd start making them in the weeks before Easter and drop a batch off at the house. These are my all-time favorite rolls. I loved the sweetness of the bread and especially the glaze that is drizzled over them. She usually added raisins, but would make at least one batch without as some of us didn't like them. Usually we'd just pick out the raisins after the plain buns vanished.

Once when I was young I helped Gram make them, but it was so long ago I only have vague memories. My Aunt who lives in Tucson mentioned that she'd made some this year, so I asked her for the recipe. This was the first thing I made after the dough hook arrived. They are pretty easy to make and they tasted almost exactly like I remember. Hot out of the oven with butter, they were amazing. They reheat very well in the microwave. I cut them in half and spread butter on top and bottom. Reassemble and nuke for 10-15 seconds. The bun gets warm and the butter melts. Not quite as good as fresh, but still quite yummy.

When I made them, I weighed the dough on my kitchen scales and divided them into balls of approximately equal size. I spread my rolls out so they weren't touching on the sheet pan, but you can put them right next to each other if you wish. I got just under two dozen rolls out of this recipe.

Hot Cross Buns

1 package yeast (I used Active Dry)
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar

Scald milk, let cool to lukewarm (~115 or so) and then dissolve yeast and sugar in milk.


1 1/2 cups flour to make spongy mixture: beat until smooth, cover let rise about 1 hour.

Cream together and add to mixture:

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg


2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Raisins (optional)

Knead and let rise until double. Shape into balls, place on greased cookie sheet, and let rise again until double. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Frost while warm:

1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons warm water

Traditionally the rolls are frosted in perpendicular lines so that each bun has a cross on it. I prefer more frosting so I tend to cover them liberally. The frosting is somewhat trial and error to get the right consistency for this. If you want a lot of frosting, double the amount. My Aunt uses milk in the frosting instead of water, but I haven’t tried it that way yet.

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