Friday, April 2, 2010

Hot Cross Buns for Easter

I am big on tradition in my house, so an Easter weekend would never go by without the fun of coloring eggs and participating in an outdoor egg hunt (Michigan weather permitting). Well, this year I think maybe I'm going to start a new tradition -- hot cross buns for Easter breakfast. I remember my mom and my aunts occasionally making buns like these when I was growing up, but it wasn't really an every-year thing, and I don't have the recipe that my mom used. But, I've got the next best thing. A wonderful recipe courtesy of, and one that is also super easy. How can a yeast bread recipe be super easy? Because it uses the bread machine to make and knead the dough! I love using my bread machine for things like this; it enables me to make fresh rolls for a meal when otherwise I simply wouldn't have the time.

Hot Cross Buns

3/4 cup warm water
3 T. butter
1 T. powdered milk
1/4 cup sugar
3/8 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 egg white
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. active dry yeast
3/4 cup dried currants
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1-2 T. water

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. milk

Add water, butter, milk powder, sugar, salt, egg, egg white, flour and yeast into bread machine in order recommended by manufacturer, and set program for dough. When about 5 minutes of kneading are left, add currants and cinnamon (many bread machines will beep when it's time for "add-ins" such as these). When dough program is complete, punch dough down and turn out onto floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape dough into 12 smooth balls and place in greased 9x13 pan. Cover pan and let rise in a warm place til double, about 35-40 minutes. Mix egg wash and brush onto tops of unbaked rolls. Bake rolls at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. When cool, make crosses on buns: mix glaze ingredients and using a clean paintbrush, brush an "X" on each bun.

I did a couple of things differently than the recipe. Even though the recipe calls for regular flour, I opted to use bread flour. Bread flour is high in gluten and it generally gives superior results in the bread machine. Also, I didn't have any currants on hand, so I substituted raisins. Another thing I did that this recipe didn't specifically say to do was that I slashed small crosses in each of my buns BEFORE I baked them in the oven. You need a really sharp knife to do this, and you don't have to slash the bun all the way from side to side; medium-sized crosses in the tops of the buns will do fine.

Here is a picture of my pan of rolls ready to go into the oven, with the crosses slashed into the dough and the egg wash applied:

The reason for slashing the rolls before baking is that it produces a pronounced and somewhat indented "X" or cross in each bun, once they're baked. Having that indentation makes applying the glaze a simple matter -- I just used a clean paintbrush and filled each indented cross with the glaze. As you can see from the top photo, the finished buns are really beautiful!

Oh, and they taste pretty good, too. The dough is wonderfully cinnamon-y and just sweet enough that you know this is a breakfast bread, but not so sweet that you couldn't slather a bit of butter on your bun if you wanted to. The crosses on the buns are, of course, intended to recall religious crosses, particularly fitting on Easter. But I encourage you to give these yummy rolls a try, regardless of your religious leanings. They are one Easter treat that I think we're going to make into an every-year tradition at my house.


  1. These look delish. Maybe I should get out the breadmaker and try them.....Oh hunny.teehee

  2. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...Those looks so yummy!!! They look perfect!