I am usually greeted with a look of confusion when I tell people that I don’t like Hot Cross Buns. There’s something about the smell, I think it’s the cinnamon, that just turns me off. I have the same problem with Raisin Toast. But I thought it was about time to suck it up and I figured if I made them myself then I’d be more inclined to enjoy them.
It’s raining and dark outside today, so it was a perfect day for baking. I thought I’d ease myself into the world of Hot Cross Buns by making them less than traditional, so I’ve left out the extra cinnamon and added some choc chips. I’ve adapted this recipe from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics recipe.
I must say I was impressed with the results. They looked just like the ones in the cookbook, and the smell was lovely, but not too Hot Cross Bun-like. The crunch you get from biting into the crust is fantastic. I think I’m a convert! Hubby, who is a seasoned Hot Cross Bun connoisseur, said they’re in his top 3 buns of all time!
Hot Cross Buns
1 tbsp dried yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
600g (4 cups) plain flour, sifted
3 tsp mixed spice*
50g (2 oz) butter, melted
3/4 cup sultanas
3/4 cup choc chips
2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
Place the yeast, 2 tsp of the sugar and the milk into a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to let the yeast activate and foam.
Sift the flour, mixed spice and remaining sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir to combine. If you don’t have a stand mixer, just use a regular mixing bowl and a wooden spoon to combine the mixture. Add the yeast mixture, butter, egg, sultanas and choc chips and mix on low for about 5 minutes, or knead by hand for about 10 until it all comes together and is smooth and elastic.
Place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap. Leave for about 1hr until doubled in size. Roll the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface and shape the dough into a log. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. If you like you weigh your pieces, then make them about 120g each.
Grease and flour a 8×10 inch baking tin**. Shape the pieces into balls and place them in the tin. Cover with a tea towel or cling wrap for about 30 minutes or until they have risen. You can also leave them in the fridge overnight for this rise. I cover my tin with a shower cap and place it in the fridge. In the morning, the buns are nicely risen and I put them straight into a warmed oven.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). To make the paste, put the flour and water into a ziploc bag. Seal the bag and then squish the mix around to combine. Snip the corner off the bag and pipe lines across the buns to make the crosses. There will be more paste than you need.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until well browned and the bun springs back if you push on it. While the buns are baking, prepare the glaze by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar has melted. When the buns are cooked, remove from the oven and brush with the glaze. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and rest on a wire rack.
Best served warm with butter.
*I went light on the spice with these. For cinnamon fans, add an extra teaspoon of cinnamon in with the mixed spice.
**You could also use a 9 inch square tin. I have also I used an 8 inch square tin for 9 of the buns and a loaf tin for the rest.