This Easter my parents threw a big brunch for our friends and family. I was trying to decide what to bring when my of my friends mentioned that she couldn't find hot cross buns anywhere. I hadn't eaten hot cross buns since I was little but they still remind me of Easter and spring time.
I read through a number of recipes before deciding on combining a few of them. These turned out as soft, sweet yeasted rolls flavored with a cinnamon spice mix, orange and lemon zest, currants, and raisins. I decided not to do pieces of dried orange peel in them because I dislike the store bought kind and didn't have time to make my own. Using orange and lemon zest kept the bright flavor but eliminated the bitterness that some store bought peel can have.
Making the buns was ridiculously simple. The yeast gets put into some warm milk and set aside until it foams. Meanwhile you combine the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl, then mix in the yeast. The dough hook does all the kneading work for you and voila! Delicious smelling dough in just a few minutes. The dough is quite easy to work so if you don't have a stand mixer all you have to do is knead the dough by hand.
I let the dough do its first rise on the counter. Then I shaped the buns, lightly covered them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning I let them sit in a warm place for just over an hour to let them come to room temp and rise a little bit more.
They baked up in less than 12 minutes and made my house smell amazing. Then they made the car on the car ride over to my parent's smell amazing. When we arrived I mixed up some icing sugar with just enough milk to make it easy to pipe out the crosses onto the buns.
Actually she was just excited about my camera cord. But I bet if she could eat solid foods she'd be excited about the buns.
My sister (who is a self proclaimed raisin hater) ate two of them and said that they were worth over looking the raisins for.
Hot Cross Buns
(based on this Gourmet Magazine recipe)