Hot Cross Buns are traditionally served on Good Friday. They are a spiced bun and each bun is marked with the shape of a cross (made from flour and water) to symbolize Christ’s suffering and crucifixion (this is just one of the many reasons I read about behind the ‘cross’ on the bun). In the United States we add candied citron, raisins and currants (and other varieties of dried fruit).

I have never eaten hot cross buns. I had never even heard of them. And no, I don’t even know the song (I was home schooled, and I guess we missed that day). So I could venture to say these are the best hot cross buns I have ever had. Which would not be a lie. But I have nothing to compare them to.
*In one week I made 2 batches of hot cross buns, both different recipes. This is the first batch. The second batch will be coming soon. So now I have something to compare these too. I decided if I ever open a restaurant or bakery, hot cross buns will be my signature roll. That is how much I love them.

The dough reminds me of a very flavorful cinnamon roll dough. The cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg flavor the dough perfectly. You bite into the roll and it is such a smooth combination of the flavors together. And the sweetness of the dried fruit compliments the spices. The glaze adds a very slight bit of extra sweetness to the roll that it just delicious.

Hot Cross Buns
makes 12 large buns
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (2 packets)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk (I used 1%)
3 cups plain flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg
2 cups mixed dried fruit (I used 1 cup raisins and 1 cup dried apricots, chopped)

Crosses
¼ cup plain flour
3 tablespoons water

Glaze
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp water

Place the yeast, two teaspoons of the sugar and milk in a stand mixer bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. The mixture will start to foam, indicating the yeast is active.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices and remaining sugar then add it to the yeast mixture. Add the butter and egg to the dough.

Knead the dough in the mixer for 5-7 minutes until dough is elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and allow to stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
*If you kitchen isn’t hot, turn on the oven to around 300 and place the bowl on top or right next to the oven.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls.

Grease a 9 inch square cake tin and line with spray with non stick spray. Place the dough balls in the pan, cover with a towel and set aside for 30 -60 minutes or until they rise and almost double in size.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

For the crosses, combine the flour and water in a small bowl. Using a piping bag, pipe crosses on the buns.
*The cross mixture will be sticky.

Bake for 35 minutes or until well browned and springy to touch.

Prepare the glaze right before the buns are done baking by mixing the sugar and water in a bowl with a fork.
Brush the warm glaze over the buns while they are hot.

Enjoy while warm. Oh, and you WILL enjoy them. They are dense, flavorful and wonderful!

I recently read this, from an unknown author: “Hot Cross Buns, and other forms of Good Friday bread, were considered blessed, and were believed to provide powerful protection against disease and danger.”