Hot cross buns

  • Makes 16 buns.

These are the buns I bake every year for Easter morning breakfast. The recipe is adapted from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook, but the combination of spices and flavorings is borrowed from a bun I ate years ago (I don’t recall where). I’m considerably condensing the bread-making instructions here, assuming that you already know about things like kneading and rising.

    • ½ cup milk, warmed
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 2 tablespoons yeast
    • ½ cup whole wheat flour

    The sponge: Combine in a large bowl and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes until bubbly.

    • 1 cup milk, warmed
    • ⅓ cup brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • ½ cup butter, softened
    • 1½ teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • heaping ½ teaspoon cardamom
    • ¼ teaspoon cloves
    • grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
    • 1 cup raisins
    • 3½ cups bread flour

    The dough: Add the milk and brown sugar to the sponge, then beat in the eggs, whole wheat flour, and butter. Stir in the salt, spices, and orange and lemon zest.

    Work in enough bread flour to make a soft dough and knead until smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should remain quite moist.

  1. Let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.

  2. Shaping and second rise: Deflate the dough and divide it into 16 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Set on greased baking sheets, cover, and let rise 45 minutes to an hour.

  3. Baking: With a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each bun before baking. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

    • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon and/or orange juice, or more as needed (use the lemon and/or orange you zested earlier)

    Frosting: Mix the lemon or orange juice into the confectioners’ sugar to make frosting (you won’t need much). When the buns are cool, drizzle frosting through the cross to emphasize it, or simply drizzle frosting over top.