"Hot cross buuuuuns...hot cross buuuuuuns...one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buuuuuuns!"
Did I ever mention that I teach music?
I taught my 3rd grade students to play "Hot Cross Buns" on their recorders recently, and wow, were they excited! They were so proud to be able to play an actual song; it was very fun watching them find such joy in a three-note recorder piece. Oh, to be 8 years old again!
As I was teaching my students about the history of hot cross buns, I could tell that the kiddos were getting hungry (they sure liked the sound of the frosting cross on top). One of my students even had the guts to ask me if I could make them a batch of buns if they played the song perfectly--such bribery! So instead of baking buns for my students, I made them for myself. Is that selfish?
These were my addition to my family's Easter brunch a couple of weeks ago, and they turned out to be quite good. I might change a few things about them next time, but if you're looking for a good hot cross buns recipe, this one will definitely do. Now if only I had twenty third graders instead of ninety, I might consider making them again...
Hot Cross Buns
by The Pioneer Woman
2 cups whole milk (I used 1 cup half-and-half, 1 cup skim)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 cups flour + another 1/2 cup
1/2 cup (additional) flour
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
1/2 cup raisins
1 egg white
splash of milk
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine milk, canola oil, and sugar in a large dutch oven. Stir over medium-high heat until steaming but not boiling. Take dutch oven off the stove and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Mixture should still be slightly warm.
Add in yeast and 4 cups of flour and stir until well combined and sticky. Cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place for 1 hour. Then add last 1/2 cup of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir until combined.
While waiting for the dough, mix sugar and cinnamon together for the filling. Add in a touch of cardamom, allspice, or nutmeg if you'd like, too.
After dough has risen, take out of dutch oven and place on a lightly-floured surface. Flatten into a sheet and sprinkle a few teaspoons of the filling and about 1/3 of the raisins over the top. Fold dough in half to cover the filling, flatten again, and repeat with filling and another 1/3 of raisins. Fold over one last time (dough should now be 1/4 the size) and add filling and raisins. You may not use the whole bowl of filling.
Flour your hands and then rip off a small piece of dough. Take each corner and tuck them under to form a smooth ball of dough. Shape more if needed. Dough should be about the size of a golf ball. Place on a greased cookie sheet and cover again with a tea towel for another hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and whisk egg white and milk together for the glaze. Brush mixture onto each bun. Place buns in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Remove and cool on a cooling rack.
I used cream cheese frosting for this recipe, but you can use any white frosting that you like. Combine butter and cream cheese together in an electric mixer, and then add powdered sugar slowly until smooth. Beat in vanilla last. Make sure to wait until buns are completely cool, and then pipe frosting in an X on the top (put in a plastic baggie and cut the corner for an easy piping bag).
Sing and enjoy!
I'm sharing with you a sound clip of my dears playing the song right after they learned it--I thought it would be fitting.