Lots of time and a full pantry of ingredients are needed to bake this familiar holiday classic.
Adapted from Allrecipes.
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4-1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (to consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons milk (to consistency)
- Stir together yeast and warm water and allow to activate ~10 minutes. The mixture should be light and frothy.
- In a bowl combine flour, white sugar, salt, butter, milk and active yeast mixture (use your hands!).
- Add the egg and egg white and continue to combine with your hands until it resembles a shaggy ball of dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead ~20 minutes or until the dough starts to become smooth and elastic.
- At this point return the dough to the bowl and add in spices and dried fruit. Continue kneading for another 5 minutes to incorporate. Cover bowl with saran wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until double, ~3 hours.
- Remove dough to a floured surface and punch down. Cover again and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Gently cut dough into 12 pieces and shape into balls by tucking dough “up and under”. They should be smooth on top, like little mushroom caps.
- Place balls into greased 9×12 inch pan and cover to let rise in a warm place until double, ~45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together egg and water and brush lightly over buns.
- Bake hot cross buns for 20 minutes. They should be a very light golden brown color- do not overbake!
- Remove from pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.
- Stir together sugar topping ingredients and sprinkle over tops of buns.
- Once completely cool whisk together confectioner’s sugar, milk and vanilla. Add more confectioner’s sugar to make a stiffer glaze or more milk to make the glaze thinner. Pipe or drizzle glaze over tops of buns. Enjoy hot or reheated in the toaster oven.
- Keep buns in a sealed container to preserve freshness.