Easter Cakes: Hot Cross Buns

Easter Cakes: Hot Cross Buns

Inside: do you want to make Hot Cross Buns with your children? This recipe is easier than others because the dough is made in the bread machine. If you want a gluten free version (#2 below), you don’t need a bread machine because the dough doesn’t need to be kneaded. 


Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny.
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons!
One a penny, two a penny.
Hot cross buns!  
 
“One a penny, two a penny,”  what does it even mean? Every time I read this silly and seemingly nonsensical rhyme, I wondered What are these hot cross bunsAre they really hot? And who would choose to have one for a penny, if you can have two? 
 

Hot Cross Buns are easy and fun. I love that making buns together offers a bonding opportunity. We parents spend the majority of our time taking care of business, so it's nice once in a while to push "pause" and just be with kids in a moment. #hotcrossbuns #kidscook

Finally, I looked it up. Turned out that Hot Cross Buns are sweet Easter cakes, traditionally eaten during Lent, and particularly enjoyed on Good Friday. “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs with one or two a penny hot cross buns.” One big bun for a penny or two small ones (that makes more sense).  
 

History of Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns have come a long way, at least since 79 CE (year 79 Common Era). According to Holiday Symbols and Customs, the first evidence comes from an ancient Italian city of Herculaneum, which was buried under volcanic ash and lava since 79 CE. Two small buns with a cross on it were found among the ruins. (Imagine a city buried under lava and two little buns resting under the debris waiting for a chance to come out and tell their story). Much later when the pagan Festival of Spring became Easter, many pagan customs and practices were reinterpreted to give them a new meaning, so cross on the buns began to symbolize the crucifixion of Christ. 

When I offered my kids to make Hot Cross Buns they were super excited. I’m glad to say that not only they loved making them, but they also loved eating them. We made a batch today and they are already gone. We are making another one after naps. 

 
 
The distinctive feature of Hot Cross Buns is a cross made of icing on top. Since my kids are making the Xs on our buns, they don’t really look like Xs, but it’s ok.
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 #1 – Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
5 tablespoons sugar (We love organic coconut palm sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon or lime rind, grated
1 teaspoon lemon flavor or lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional) 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
 
Glaze
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
 

Hot Cross Buns are easy and fun. I love that making buns together offers a bonding opportunity. We parents spend the majority of our time taking care of business, so it's nice once in a while to push "pause" and just be with kids in a moment. #hotcrossbuns #kidscook
Directions

  1. Put all ingredients except fruit into a bread machine. Set for dough. Add fruit when the bread machine alerts you.
  2. When the dough is ready, remove and punch down.
     Hot Cross Buns are easy and fun. I love that making buns together offers a bonding opportunity. We parents spend the majority of our time taking care of business, so it's nice once in a while to push "pause" and just be with kids in a moment. #hotcrossbuns #kidscook
     
  3. Lightly oil pan. One 9×13 for all of them, or in my case I used three small pans so that I could bake everything in my toaster oven. 
  4. Cut into 16-24 pieces.
  5. Roll each into a ball.
  6. Place balls 1/2″ apart in the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).
     Hot Cross Buns are easy and fun. I love that making buns together offers a bonding opportunity. We parents spend the majority of our time taking care of business, so it's nice once in a while to push "pause" and just be with kids in a moment. #hotcrossbuns #kidscook
     
  7. Cut a cross into the top with a sharp knife.
     Hot Cross Buns are easy and fun. I love that making buns together offers a bonding opportunity. We parents spend the majority of our time taking care of business, so it's nice once in a while to push "pause" and just be with kids in a moment. #hotcrossbuns #kidscook 
  8. Bake 12 minutes @ 375F. (We used a toaster oven, your baking time might vary). 
  9. Make a glaze mixing sugar, milk, and lemon together. Add more sugar, if needed.  You want a glaze that is like a drizzle but it shouldn’t be too runny. 
  10. Let cakes cool slightly and drizzle the icing into the cuts.
     Hot Cross Buns are easy and fun. I love that making buns together offers a bonding opportunity. We parents spend the majority of our time taking care of business, so it's nice once in a while to push "pause" and just be with kids in a moment. #hotcrossbuns #kidscook

#2 – Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns

  • Replace the regular flour in the recipe above with any gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour. 
  • Proof the yeast by mixing the yeast and the sugar with 1/2 cup very warm water (but not hot!). It should get foamy in about 10 minutes.
  • Warm the milk.
  • Mix all the ingredients and let stand covered for 1 hr. 
  • Divide the dough into equal parts, shape into balls, and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Let the dough rise until double in size. 
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. 

 

Hot Cross Buns are easy and fun. I love that making buns together offers a bonding opportunity. We parents spend the majority of our time taking care of business, so it's nice once in a while to push "pause" and just be with kids in a moment. #hotcrossbuns #kidscook
 
Hot Cross Buns are easy and fun. I love that making buns together offers a bonding opportunity. We parents spend the majority of our time taking care of business, so it’s nice once in a while to push “pause” and just be with kids in a moment. Working on the same project is always enjoyable, and if it leads to a yummy treat even better. Plus, who can stay serious surrounded by flour smeared cute faces full of mischevious grins… 

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  1. […] Serve up some glazed rolls with these Hot Cross Buns you can make with a bread […]

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