Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

With Madlyn Jane

Hot cross buns, hot cross buns
One a penny, two a penny
Hot cross buns
Give them to your daughters, give them to your sons
One a penny, two a penny
Hot cross buns

April 1, 2021


As we celebrate the many traditions of spring and reawakening, we turn to the traditional flavors of hot cross buns. These delightfully spiced treats have been said to bring luck and good energy to your household. Citrus is plentiful in California right now so we added home grown lemon and tangerine zest to our dough and icing. Enjoy!

For the Buns:

  • 1 packet dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons) dissolved in ¼ cup of warm water (110 degrees F)

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • ½ cup of warm whole milk (110 degrees F)

  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted softened butter cut into small pieces

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

  • ½ teaspoon tangerine zest

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon 

  • ¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour

  • 1 cup raisins

For the Cross Mixture:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 5 tablespoons milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 large large egg

  • 1 teaspoon water

For the Tangerine Wash:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar

  • 3 tablespoons tangerine juice

Making the Dough:

  1. Dissolve and activate the yeast in ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees F) with the sugar.  Wait 5-7 mins until the yeast starts to bubble and come alive.

  2. Warm the milk on the stove (110 degrees F)

  3. Add the activated yeast with the warmed milk in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment * or hand mix. Also add to the bowl: brown sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, salt, lemon and tangerine zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and ½ cup of the flour.  Mix on low to combine ingredients.

  4. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the remaining flour and raisins.  Mix well until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowel -about 2 minutes.

  5. Kneed the dough in the mixer for an additional 2 minutes. * Or hand kneed

Letting the Dough Rise:

  1. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, coat all sides of the dough with oil.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size (about 2 hrs).

  2. When the dough is ready, grease a 9x13” pan (or cast iron skillet).  Punch down the dough to let out the air.  Divide the dough into 14-16 pieces.  Use your hands to shape each piece into smooth, round balls.  Arrange in the baking pan.

  3. Cover the rolls with a towel and let rise until puffy  (about 1 hr).

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).

Making the Cross Mixture:

  1. Combine the ingredients for the cross mixture in a small bowl and mix well.  It should be thick enough to pipe out onto the rolls. 

  2. Spoon paste into a piping bag or use a zipped top bag and cut off a small corner.

  3. Make a ⅛” slice in each bun in a cross shape using a knife.  Then pipe the paste along where you made your small cross slices.

  4. Combine the ingredients for the egg wash in a small bowl and mix well.  Use a pastry brush to gently cover the buns with the egg wash -being careful to avoid the cross mixture.  

  5. Bake for 20-30 mins or until they are cooked through.  When done, remove from the oven and let cool.

Icing (optional for a sweeter bun)

  • Combine the ingredients for the icing and whisk well. Use a pastry brush to add a thin layer of icing to each bun.



    Hot cross buns are traditionally served on Good Friday.

    Our family makes hot cross buns over Easter weekend. We hope you and your family enjoy this special recipe.



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