I don’t celebrate Easter much, but I do enjoy a little something to welcome in Spring. A weekend morning with some hot cross buns is a great way to do that, in my opinion. These are quite simple to make and don’t take nearly as much time as one would expect from an enriched, yeasted dough.
The dried fruit can be whatever you like (I use half raisins and half chopped apricots, but currants are more traditional).
Hot Cross Buns (makes a dozen servings)
Prep Time: 1 1/2-2 hours
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (lukewarm or room temperature)
1/3 cup canola oil (plus a splash extra to coat the bowl)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons orange zest (about the zest of one large orange)
1/4 cup sugar
3 3/4 cups AP Flour
3/4 cup dried fruit of choice
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond milk
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and lukewarm water. Let sit for a few minutes until bubbling.
While the yeast is activating, in a separate bowl stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, sugar, and dried fruit.
Once the yeast is quite bubbly and active, add the flour/spice mixture, almond milk, and canola oil. Stir until just combined with a spatula. Begin to “knead” the dough by using the dough hook of the stand mixer on low or medium-low speed.
After about 4-5 minutes, it should be thoroughly combined and somewhat elastic. Use a splash of canola oil to coat the sides of the mixing bowl. Turn the coat to allow the dough to become coated.
Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Once risen, punch down the dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide evenly into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a round bun, then place into parchment- lined baking dish (10″ x 14″ or 11″ x 13″ both work well).
Cover again with dish towel and let rise for around 30 minutes (dough should mostly spring back when touched). While dough is rising, preheat oven to 375º F.
Make dough wash by mixing together almond milk and maple syrup. Brush onto rolls.
Bake buns for 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown. This could vary considerably depending on the oven used, so I would recommend checking earlier to ensure they are baking well. The buns will touch while rising and baking, but that is completely normal.
Once the buns are golden-brown and cooked through, remove from oven. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and place on cooling rack, counter, or large cutting board to continue cooling.
Whisk together almond milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla to make icing.
Once the buns are cooled, top with icing using a piping bag or drizzling with a spoon.
Enjoy! These store well in a covered container for 1-2 days, though they will begin to dry out after that. They are best served the same day or the next day.