Hot Cross Buns

I know I’m jumping ahead a few days here, but I wanted to tell you about my favorite Easter morning breakfast food: hot cross buns.  Many people eat them on Good Friday; either way they’re a great tradition.  I particularly love this recipe from the deliciously talented people at King Arthur Flour.  If you don’t have anything planned for breakfast this weekend, consider giving them a try!  I do suggest making the dough beforehand so you only have to brush, bake, and ice the buns in the morning.

Hot Cross Buns (barely adapted from the King Arthur Flour Blog)

Main Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup apple juice or rum
  • 1 cup dried fruit (I use raisins, but you can try anything!)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs (2 eggs+1 yolk for the dough, 1 white for brushing on later)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 large egg white, reserved from above
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Icing Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing


  1. Lightly grease a 10″ square pan or 9″ x 13″ pan.
  2. Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to “shrink wrap” itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.
  3. When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.
  4. Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.
  5. Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You’ll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.
  6. Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they’ve puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F if you’re planning to serve them immediately.  (If you’re making them ahead of time, cover the pan after rising and place in fridge.  Remove them from the fridge at least an hour before proceeding with brushing and baking.)
  7. Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.
  8. Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
  9. Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.

4 thoughts on “Hot Cross Buns

  1. I know that this will reveal my ignorance when it comes to working with yeast, but if I am making these the night before, does that mean I skip step 6?

    • Nope, don’t skip the rising. Let them rise, then cover the pan and stick it in the fridge overnight. I’m just guessing here, but I think it would be best to remove them from the fridge an hour or two before you bake them so they can warm back up to room temp.

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