A traditional treat during the Easter season, these rolls are easy to prepare and yummy to eat. Hot crossed buns are traditionally filled with raisins or currants, just as these are. They are wonderfully spiced and have a subtle sweetness. These buns perfectly pair with coffee or a strong tea. They are very filling too - perfect for breakfast! This wonderful recipe comes from King Arthur Flour and makes a lovely soft roll that will have you coming back for more.
If you do not have a heavy duty mixer, you can prepare the dough by hand. When the fruit is cool, mix all of the dough ingredients along with the fruit and any liquid not absorbed. Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about seven minutes and then continue on according to directions.
For a more tender roll, after you let the dough rise (for 1 hour), punch the dough down and let rise for another 40 minutes. Continue on according to directions.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.
Preparation time is 35 minutes. Bake time is 20 minutes. Total time is 3 hours 15 minutes.
Ingredients for Buns:
1/4 cup apple juice or rum
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk (save the white for the topping)
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (like King Arthur's)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing
Lightly grease a 10-inch square pan or 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to "shrink wrap" itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: if you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.
When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients (including the eggs and the egg yolk from the separated egg); hold out the fruit for the time being. Knead the mixture, using an electric mixer or bread machine, until the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed. Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.
Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You'll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan. Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns. Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the buns out of the pan (they should come out in one large piece), and transfer them to a rack to cool. Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun. Yields 12 to 14 buns.
(edited by Anna Weicht)