I'm really not quite sure why Hot Cross Buns are created. All I know are that, they are the "must haves" every Easter. Some say, to share a hot cross bun with a friend means it will be a treasured friendship. Others say it is to be eaten on Good Friday where the symbol of the cross piped across the buns represent Jesus sacrificing for us on the cross.
Chatting with a few girlfriends last week, they asked me what will I be doing this long weekend. I said "I will finally attempt to bake hot cross buns." There I said it. There was no turning back. So I rolled my sleeves and baked it on Thursday night 9pm, finishing the whole batch by 11:45pm. Just in time. We toasted and spread a healthy amount of margarine on our freshly baked hot cross buns as we thankfully prayed for His grace.
In the morning, the whole house smells heavenly (pardon the pun)... Was it worth the effort? Oh yeah!
ps- I did a mixture of fruit and chocolate in this batch. I couldn't decide so I put both in. This resulted in a darker than normal hot cross buns.
Hot Cross Buns (adapted from Donna Hay)
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups soy milk heated till lukewarm (You can use normal milk)
4 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons mixed spice
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (original recipe calls for 2 but I LOVE my cinnamon)
50g butter, melted
1 cup dried mixed fruits (That has some dried peel in it but not too much that it is overpowering)
1 cup of dark choc chips (I used Margaret River Dark Choc bits, however, if you can, grate some lindt chocolate or break them into small pieces. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford).
The HOT crosses (I put in more water so that it is more runny and easier to pipe)
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon of castor sugar
1 tablespoon of water
Combine yeast, 2 teaspoons of the sugar and milk in a large mixing bowl. Set
aside for 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to foam. It has to form as it means the yeast is active.
Mix flour,mixed spice, cinnamon, remaining sugar, mixed fruit and chocolate. Beat butter and egg. Fold through to dough. Slowly pour the yeast/milk mixture to the dough. Use a spoon to mix until a sticky dough forms.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it feels elastic (around 8 mins or so). Donna Hay also says you can use the dough hook. I think using the bread maker to knead might be a good idea too.
Place dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to stand in a warm place about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls.
Line a 9X9-inch cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Place the dough balls in the tin and cover with a clean tea towel. Allow to stand for 30 minutes in a warm place, or until they rise.
In the mean time, preheat the oven to 200°C. Combine the flour and water for the crosses. Place in a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off and pipe crosses on the buns when they are ready to be baked.Bake for 35 minutes or until browned and springy to the touch.
Make glaze by placing sugar and water in a saucepan. Simmer till it becomes a syrup.
When fresh out of the oven, brush the hot cross buns with glaze. Serve warm or toasted, with butter.