“One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross buns!” is the rhyme that was sung on Good Friday in England where these buns were sold, which are thought to date back to the 12th century. I remember singing this nursery rhyme as a child and having no idea what the rhyme was talking about. Now that I’ve made and enjoyed hot cross buns over the last few years, they have new meaning. These Easy Easter Hot Cross Buns are the perfect Easter gift for friends and family. I love baking up a few batches to celebrate the season and these are simple and delicious. I look forward to them every year.
For those unfamiliar with this delicious Easter bun, it is a yeasted sweet bun studded with dried fruit, piped with a flour paste in the shape of a cross (or iced with the cross after being baked). When I first made Hot Cross buns a few years ago, I was hesitant about using currants in the recipe. I’m not a huge fan of dried fruit in baked goods and I was afraid it wouldn’t be my favorite. But I found currants at the grocery store and decided to use them in my buns. Currants are much smaller than a raisin which made them easier for me to eat and they were absolutely delicious. If you are able to buy currants, definitely include them in this recipe. It has become my new go-to dried fruit to put in baked goods because of the smaller size and flavor. If you have never tried them before, pick up some currants from your local grocery store and give them a try.
These buns make a wonderful Easter gift or are perfect to eat on Easter morning or anytime on Easter weekend. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. “Get them while they’re hot. Eat them by the ton. One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross buns!”
Easy Easter Hot Cross Buns
- 1 cup whole milk warm (250 grams)
- 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed (60 grams)
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 3-3 1/2 cups bread flour see note (about 475 grams)
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup currants
- 4 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 4 Tablespoons water
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream milk can be substituted in a pinch (add more or less depending on consistency)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Warm the milk in the microwave. Stir the milk so the heat disperses. The milk should be warm to the touch (like baby’s bathwater). Add the milk to a stand mixer and add the yeast, brown sugar, egg, salt, cinnamon, all spice and cloves.
- Begin adding flour a cup at a time until a dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. Continue adding flour little by little until the dough is just a tiny bit sticky. Add the softened butter in small chunks and knead for 5 minutes until tacky and smooth.
- Add the currants and continue kneading for another couple of minutes.
- Oil a bowl and put the dough mixture into the oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for an hour in a warm place.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Once the dough has risen, turn out on your counter and cut into 12 equal pieces. Roll each ball of dough into a bun shape and place on the baking sheet, four rows of three. Alternatively for rolls that pull apart, you can bake these in a glass pan. Spray the pan with cooking spray and nestle the buns together with just a little space for them to rise in between.
- Cover and let rise again in a warm place about 45 minutes to an hour until puffed up and just about doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix the flour paste together gently until you form a batter that can be piped. Add a little more water or flour if needed to adjust for consistency. Place this mixture in a piping bag and pipe a cross on each risen bun. You can also skip this step and pipe the icing in the shape of a cross if you prefer.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes until rolls are baked through and golden on top. If you are baking the buns pull-apart style, they will need about 30 minutes of baking time.
- While the rolls are baking, mix together the icing. As soon as the rolls come out of the oven, use a pastry brush to slather them in icing. Alternatively you can pipe a cross with the icing on each bun.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
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