Hot Cross Buns

hot cross buns(1)
Wait! You’re not done with your holiday baking yet. You still need to make Hot Cross Buns. Thought to have originated in Tudor times, these sweet, spicy buns were only allowed by law to be sold on Good Friday and Christmas (No kids … Martha Stewart did not invent these either.) You have plenty of time to work on these–Good Friday is still a few weeks away.


Grated zest and juice of 3 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup dried currants
1 3/4 cup milk
1 3/4 teaspoon (1 package) active dry yeast
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3-6 cups bread flour
Grated zest an juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cream
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  1. Combine orange zest and juice, vanilla, currants, and set aside to plump overnight.
  2. Combine milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, yeast, stir to dissolve, and let stand 10 minutes, until foamy.
  3. Add soaked raisins and liquid, remaining sugar, 3 eggs, butter, mace, salt, and enough bread flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Add flour only as needed to reduce stickiness. Return to bowl, dust with flour, cover with plastic, and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn risen dough out onto a floured surface, shape into a rope, about 3 inches thick. Slice 2-inch pieces off the rope, then roll each into a tight ball. Place balls on the prepared pan, seam-side down. Dust with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  5. Whisk together egg, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of water, and brush gently onto the top of the risen buns. With a serrated knife, slash a cross or “X” on the top of each roll. Bake until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Cool completely.
  6. Beat together lemon zest and juice, cream, and enough powdered sugar to make a smooth, thick icing. Pipe or drizzle icing into the cross cut in the top of each bun.

Makes about 15-20 buns

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