Happy (almost) Easter, friends! Whether you celebrate or not, I hope you enjoy the tasty foods that come around this time of year – all the Easter specific candies and fun stuff to try. One thing that’s so popular this time of year is Hot Cross Buns! They are so fun and so tasty and can be flavored in so many different ways.
For my hot cross buns, I skipped the traditional raisins for dried cranberries, added some orange, and kept the traditional flour cross to give it that cute, typical look you think of. I love the combination of cranberry and orange and those flavors really shine here! Let’s take a look at all the components:
- the fruit – I’m personally not a huge fan of raisins so I went down the dried cranberry route, but really any dried fruit would work here! you do you, make the hot cross buns of your dreams
- the flavors – I soaked the dried cranberries in a bit of spiced rum and added lots of orange zest and a bit of cinnamon to the dough to add extra flavor and fun. If you’re not feeling the rum for whatever reason, orange juice or even your favorite tea would be a great option as well!
- the dough – I love this dough. It’s fun to work with and came out so well. Just be sure not to use too much flour – it should be a bit sticky. If you add too much flour the buns will become a bit dense which isn’t terrible but isn’t ideal either.
- the cross – I know a lot of folks use an icing or even pastry creme (Erin of Cloudy Kitchen is always so creative!) for their cross, but I went traditional with just flour and water. as usual, you do you! whatever you’re feeling would be great here
These take a lil bit of time, but they’re so, so good! Let me know what you think if you give them a try!
Hot Cross Buns
makes 12 buns
for the buns
- 1/4 cup (57 g) spiced rum, or orange juice or tea
- 1 cup (120 g) dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup (180 g) milk
- 2 1/4 tsp (1 package / 8 g) yeast
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 5 Tbsp butter (71 g), softened
- 1/3 cup (71 g) brown sugar
- zest from 1 orange
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3.5-4 cups (420-480 g) flour
for the cross
- 1/2 cup (60 g) flour
- 5-6 tbsp water
How to do it
- soak the cranberries: combine the cranberries and rum in a small bowl. set aside until needed
- proof the yeast: heat up the milk in the microwave with 30 second intervals or in a small pot. it should be between 90-100*, if it’s too hot you’ll kill the yeast. add the yeast and a pinch of the brown sugar and let bloom for 5-10 minutes until it’s a bit foamy
- start the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the proofed yeast mixture, 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk (hang onto the extra egg white for later), softened butter, brown sugar, orange zest, salt, cinnamon, and about 3 cups (360 g) of flour. give it a mix with a spatula, then mix on medium speed with a dough hook for 3-4 minutes until it starts to come together.
- add the cranberries and knead: add the cranberries and their soaking liquid along with about 1/2 cup (60 g) additional flour. continue mixing on medium speed for another 3-4 minutes. it should start to pull away from the sides of the bowl and come together. if it’s still sticking, add flour 1-2 tbsp at a time, but be careful not to add too much. it’s done kneading when you can take a little piece of the dough and stretch it thin enough to see through without it tearing.
- rise #1: turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times by hand. shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl to rise. cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area of your kitchen for 1.5-2 hours until almost doubled in size
- shape: once the dough has almost doubled, shape into equal 12 balls. you can do this by eye or weigh otu the dough and divide by 12 to determine the weight of each bun. to shape, take each portion of dough and press out into a rough circle. fold the edges into the middle and keep doing so until it forms a small ball. pinch the edges a bit and flip over. use the sides of your hands to turn the dough on the counter, it should stick a tiny bit, causing the dough to pull tight and make a cute circle. repeat with all 12 portions and place them into a lightly oiled 13×9 pan
- rise #2: cover the 13×9 pan with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes. while they’re proofing, preheat the oven to 375* and make the cross mixture
- make the crosses: in a small bowl, combine the flour and water for the crosses. the mixture should be thick enough to slightly hold it’s shape but thin enough to pipe. transfer to a small piping bag or plastic bag
- bake: you’ll know the buns are ready when you poke one with your finger and the dent slowly comes back. brush the tops of the buns with the reserved egg white and cut a small hole in the tip of your piping bag. pipe the crosses on top of the buns and bake for 23-29 minutes, until golden brown and they reach an internal temp of 190*
- enjoy: let cool and enjoy!
These are always so much the flavor of Easter.
Aren’t they? And they’re so fun to make!