Hot Cross Buns
In between writing essays and wondering what an earth I’m going to get up to when I graduate (so much fun…) I decided to try my hand at making Hot Cross buns. These scrummy spiced buns are the epitome of all Easter treats to me. Easter just wouldn’t be Easter without them. I actually picked this recipe out of a recent copy Good Housekeeping that my Mum left lying around. They taste great and look adorable, although I think they could do with another handful of fruit just to make them really pop! The great thing about these buns is that, like most of my favourite things in life, you can customize them. If you have a hankering for chocolate and wouldn’t dare giving it up for Lent, then throw some chocolate chips into the mix. Add mixed peel, apples, oranges – all sorts! – into the dough.
So without further ado, here’s how to make Hot Cross buns
450g white bread flour
75g caster sugar
7g pack of dried fast-action yeast
300ml full-fat milk
75g butter, melted
Pinch of ground cinnamon
FOR THE TOPPING
50g plain flour
1.) Mix the flour, sugar, yeast, and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl.
- I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but, make sure you keep the salt and yeast separate at this point! Don’t let them mix because the salt will deactivate the yeast and your bake will not be very happy at all!
2.) Beat the egg and heat the milk in a saucepan over a gentle heat, and then add to the flour along with the melted butter and the egg.
3.) Mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth and elastic dough – if you’re using an electric mixer, you should stop mixing once you hear a slapping noise –
- The mix was very very wet at this point! But not to panic, wetter really is better when it comes to dough.
4.) Tip your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until your dough is very smooth and stretchy.
- Lightly flour your hands whilst kneading as this will help stop the dough from sticking to you too much. Another handy tip is to work quickly – the faster you move the dough the less it sticks to the surface.
5.) When the dough is ready pop it into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with Clingfilm. Place it somewhere warm and leave to rise for 1-2 hrs. The dough should be ready once it has doubled in size.
6.) Push the heel of your hand into the centre of the dough and pour in your fruit and cinnamon. Then knead the dough until the spices and fruit are evenly distributed.
- I would recommend kneading the dough in the bowl. It’s easier to get the fruit and the dough to stick together if you push it against the side of the bowl.
7.) Once you’re happy with the dough, cover it again and leave it to rise for 1-1 ½ hours. Pre-heat the oven to 200*C (This is on a fan oven, you may have to adjust according to your own oven)
8.) It’s now time to shape your buns! Divide your mix into around 12 pieces and shape into balls. Place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, leaving plenty of space between each bun as they will spread in the oven. Set the buns to one side whilst you make the topping.
9.) Mix 50g of plain flour with enough water to make a thick paste that can be piped or spooned. Add more water or flour as needed. Spoon the paste into a piping bag and then go crazy! – or not – Pipe those beautiful crosses onto each bun.
- Tip on how to fill a piping bag – Rest your piping bag in a pint glass or whatever tall receptacle you have to hand (I used an empty kitchen roll tube resting in a tall bit of Tupperware because I don’t actually own a pint glass. Terrible student, I know) and spoon your pipable mixture in. Anything that comes out of the nozzle will be caught in the bottom of the glass so less mess!
10.)Bake your buns in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and golden brown. Because of the sugar in the dough they will colour quickly, so I recommend keeping a beady eye on them.
11.)Once they’re done, take them out of the oven and place them on a wire cooling rack.
- Don’t get rid of the greaseproof paper you lined the trays with just yet! Put them underneath the cooling rack. When you come to glaze the buns it will catch all of the syrup that runs off and so makes tiding up SO much easier!
12.)While the buns are cooling, heat some sugar with some water in a pan over a medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Brush the buns all over so they look all glossy and gorgeous.
13.)Eat these up warm and just enjoy those little bundles of Easter-yness!