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.
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.
#1 – Traditional Hot Cross Buns
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 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Put all ingredients except fruit into a bread machine. Set for dough. Add fruit when the bread machine alerts you.
- When the dough is ready, remove and punch down.
- 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.
- Cut into 16-24 pieces.
- Roll each into a ball.
- Place balls 1/2″ apart in the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).
- Cut a cross into the top with a sharp knife.
- Bake 12 minutes @ 375F. (We used a toaster oven, your baking time might vary).
- 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.
- Let cakes cool slightly and drizzle the icing into the cuts.
#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.