It's just not Easter without hot cross buns. Well, at least in our house.
The soft, sweet buns are great with a little butter or jam...or....all by themselves warm out of the oven. The third way is my favorite.
I got this recipe from Taste Of Home and made a few little changes to tweak it to our tastes. It really is a simple bun to make if you are looking for something Easter-y to bring to the family Easter dinner. Plus, it makes A LOT. Like 6 dozen. So you can freeze some for later.
Hot Cross Buns (large batch)
(Slightly adapted from Taste Of Home)
4 pkgs (9 tsp) active dry yeast
3 cups very warm milk (110 - 115 degrees)
2 cups oil
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp allspice
3 tsp salt
2 cups craisins (or raisins)
13 - 15 cups flour
2 cups icing sugar
4 Tbsp milk (or water)
In a very large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let sit 5 minutes. Add in oil, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, spices, and salt. Stir to combined. Stir in 9 cups of flour. Beat until smooth.
Stir in craisins.
Stir in enough flour to form a firm dough.
Turn on to floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. (About 5 minutes or so.) Place into a large bowl greased with a little oil or cooking spray.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
After rising, punch dough down.
Turn onto lightly floured work surface. Divide into 72 pieces. Shape each into a ball.
Place about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 375.
Whisk the egg whites until a bit foamy. Using a basting/pastry brush, brush the egg white on top of each bun.
Bake each tray separately for about 10 - 15 minutes, until golden brown.
That's half the batch!
Remove from pan to wire rack to cool.
For icing: whisk together icing sugar and milk (or water) until desired consistency is reached. You may have to add a bit more icing sugar or water to get there. It should be thick but still able to drizzle slowly off the end of a spoon.
Drizzle and "X" on top of each bun. (If desired, you can pipe it out of a plastic bag with the corner snipped off.)
I love how pretty they look. One year I made them into Hot Cross Bunnies.
They turned out pretty cute too. I did the "X" on their tummies but didn't get a photo of that.
Anyway you want to shape these buns, they are delicious.
You can, of course, make these any time of year but around here...hot cross buns are only for Easter.
I love that this recipe makes a HUGE batch. If you don't have 2 HUGE cookie sheets then you can use 4 regular sized cookie sheets.