Hot Cross Buns
Yield: 16 buns
Prep Time: 3 hours (includes inactive rise time)
Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes per baking sheet
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
1¼-ounce package active dry yeast (about 2½ teaspoons)
¾ cup warm milk, divided
3¼ to 3½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup currants
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
For the Glaze:
1 tablespoon milk
For the Icing:
2 teaspoons milk
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. In a small bowl, stir together ¼ cup of the warmed milk and one teaspoon of the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
2. In a large bowl or the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, vigorougly whisk together 3 cups of the flour (reserving additional flour for Step #4), the salt, spices, and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar.
3. Create a well in the flour and add the foamy yeast, butter, eggs and the remaining ½ cup of milk. Using a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer, mix the ingredients on low speed until well incorporated. The mixture should be shaggy and quite sticky. Add in the currants and orange zest.
4. If you are using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook attachment and start to knead on low speed. (If not using a mixer, use your hands to knead.) Slowly sprinkle in additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, kneading to incorporate after each addition, until the flour is still slightly tacky, but is no longer completely sticking to your fingers when you work with it.
5. Form a ball of dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. let sit, covered, at room temperature (or in a warm, draft-free spot) for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
6. Press down on the dough to gently compress it. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Take the individual pieces and form them into rolls, placing them 1½ inches apart from each other baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature (or a warm, draft-free spot) to rise again, until the rolls have doubled in volume, about 30 to 40 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the egg wash by whisking together one egg and a tablespoon of milk. Using a pastry brush, brush on the egg wash over the dough.
8. Place in the middle rack of the oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the buns are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool.
9. Wait until the rolls have cooled completely before painting the cross on top. Whisk together the milk and the powdered sugar. Place in a plastic sandwich bag and snip off a small piece from the corner of the bag (or use a pastry bag and decorating tip - I did this and used a #7 tip). Pipe two lines of frosting across each bun to make a cross.
(Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)