Hot Cross Buns
1 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (one envelope)
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour (I used bread flour, but all-purpose will work)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 cup golden raisins
In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter and sugar until the butter is almost melted and the temperature is about 110 ° F. (bathwater warm). If you accidentally heat the milk too much, just let it cool down.
Stir together 2 cups of the flour, the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom. Set aside.
Combine the warmed milk and the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy. Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the flour/spice mixture to the milk and beat on medium/high speed for about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Add 2 cups of flour, the orange peel, lemon peel and raisins and knead for about 5 minutes, or until a soft dough forms, adding more flour as needed.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently by hand briefly until no longer sticky (be careful not to add too much flour). Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning it so that both sides are lightly oiled. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft free area for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375 ° F. Punch down the dough and form into 18 rolls. Brush each roll with a little melted butter and let rise again until doubled, about 35 minutes. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool for ten minutes and pipe icing* in a cross form on each bun.
*Icing: Stir together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and enough orange juice to make a spreadable frosting.
Pairs Well With
Every year at the start of Lent, my mother-in-law, Alice, asks me to find some Hot Cross Buns. Unfortunately, the bakery versions are usually dry, skimpy on the raisins, or full of that awful candied fruit. So this year I came up with my own recipe.