Hot cross buns are a longstanding tradition, possibly dating as far back as ancient Greece and Saxony, where they were used in spring celebrations.
They were once banned by Queen Elizabeth, who thought the cross-topped yeast rolls celebrated Catholicism a little too much for her Protestant taste. The ban didn't work out, and eventually the buns popped up in bakeries year-round.
Today, they're only rolled out once a year at Easter. In honor of spring, and the coming Easter holiday, The Cooking Virgin decided to honor another famous Virgin by making homemade cinnamon-spiced hot cross buns, with a few modern twists.
See The Virgin's blasphemous buns after the jump...
These buns are based loosely on a family recipe, combined with Barbara Jean Lull's version. To make the buns, you'll need:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 packet yeast
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 4 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp of raisins (currants or candied fruits are fine, too)
- dash of salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves
- For the icing: confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla
The Virgin's DeStructions:
1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over the stove until steamy. Dump it in a small mixing bowl and stir in yeast.
2. Soften butter in microwave, or if you're The Virgin (who thinks microwaves are the axis of evil), melt by placing stick of wrapped butter directly on a heated burner, where it leaks out and forms an oily mess on the stovetop. Promise to clean it up later.
4. Add in the rest of the flour and mix well until a nice stiff dough forms.
Note: This is where I
accidentally let the egg white fall into the dough purposefully added egg white just to teach you that the dough will then stick mercilessly to every possible surface, from your hands to your cutting board (which I also stupidly purposefully placed plastic wrap on rather than flouring just to demonstrate what not to do).
Since dead bread doesn't resurrect, toss the whole thing out and start again.
5. Flour a plastic cutting board well and place the dough ball on the board. Knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth and soft.
6. Place dough in a greased plastic bowl, cover and let rise. Fortunately, this rising happens in less than three days -- about an hour will do fine.
7. Flatten dough and shape into 6 or 8 small balls, Place 2 inches apart in a pan or on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick. Cover and let rise for another half hour. Use knife to cut in cross shapes, if desired.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.
9. When buns are cool, mix confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Add flour or cornstarch to thicken if necessary. Pipe icing onto buns in a cross shape.
Or, if you don't celebrate Easter, decorate with your favorite religious (or non-religious) symbol. Muslims should avoid during times of fasting and Jews will want to wait until after Passover to consume this leavened bread, but everyone else can enjoy year-round.
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