Hot Cross Buns

Happy (Belated) Easter!
I had never actually had hot cross buns before I made them. I just remember playing the nursrey rhyme tune (hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one ha' penny, two ha' penny, hot cross buns) on my recorder ages ago.

Apparently these buns are associated with Good Friday in England (with the cross symbolizing the crucifix, which is a little morbid if you think about it). I did some investigative reporting on wikipedia (which is always correct) and supposedly the Anglican church tried to ban hot cross buns because of their Catholic origins, but they were too popular so the buns were onl7y allowed to be sold on Christmas and Good Friday. Regardless of their symbolism, these are very tasty buns, with sugar and spice and raisins.

The recipe calls for heating the milk over the stove but I microwaved it in a large pyrex bowl. I did it 5-6 minutes checking every minute until it was warm. I have a trick to yeast breads, which I learned from my mother. The best place to rise is in the oven (turned off) with a casserole pan or bread pan filled with the hottest water from the tap. This will keep it warm and damp and make it rise like you wouldn't believe.

My hands got all sticky from the dough, so I didn't get any pictures of the various steps in between, where you gently mix the raisins and spice in. Then shape them in to little balls and let them rise again.

Here they are, all done and iced and delicious. If you don't want to mess with the piping bag, you can just spread the icing on the buns. Then I think they'd just be spice buns with no religious significance.

Hot Cross Buns

2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 package (2 1/4 Teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 + 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsps salt
1/4 cup brown Sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp each cardamom, nutmeg, allspice
1/2 cups raisins

1 egg white
Splash Of Milk

1 egg white
powdered sugar
splash of milk

1. Combine 2 cups milk, canola oil, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Stir and heat until very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until mixture is still warm, but not hot–about 30 minutes.
2. Sprinkle yeast over mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine. Mixture will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside for 1 hour.
3. Add 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined.
4. Combine 1/4 cup sugar with spices.
5. Lightly flour surface. Press to slightly flatten dough. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle on about a third of the raisins. Then fold the dough over on itself and flatten again so the dough is “plain” again. Repeat the sugar/raisin process, then fold the dough again. Repeat a third time until all the raisins are used. (You won’t use all the sugar/cinnamon mixture.)
6. Pinch off ping pong or golf ball-size bunches of dough. With floured hands, quickly roll it into a ball, then turn the edges under themselves slightly. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes…an hour-plus is better.
7. Mix 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Brush onto each roll.
8. Bake for 20 minutes in 400 degree oven or until tops of buns have turned nice and golden brown.
9. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
10. Mix 1 egg white with enough powdered sugar for icing to be very thick. Splash in milk as needed for consistency.
11. Add icing to a small Ziploc bag and snip the corner. Make icing crosses on each roll, making sure they’re completely cooled first.
From The Pioneer Woman

Print this recipe


  1. We are doing Hot Cross Buns in keyboard class in 2 weeks. I'll make these for the kids. Maybe I should wait to see if they practice.

  2. They did practice! I just made a batch, with spices for us, without for the kids. There might be a bit too much salt or it isn't easy to mix it in. The dough is delicious and since there aren't eggs....