Hot Cross Buns
A sweet bun with the most amazing pillowy texture. Definitely need to make these more often than just for Easter!
1/2 cup raisins, currants, or craisins + 1 cup boiling hot water
3/4 cup very warm milk, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup (I used whole milk, 2% is fine)
1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened 15 seconds in microwave
1/2 tsp salt
1 envelope active dry yeast (about 3/4 Tbsp or 2 1/4 tsp) – I used Red Star Yeast
2 large eggs, well beaten
3 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp (a large pinch) ground nutmeg
For the Egg Wash:
1 egg, well beaten with 1 tsp water
For the Glaze:
1/2 cup Powdered sugar mixed with 2 1/2 tsp Milk
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup raisins/craisins with 1 cup boiling hot water. Let sit 10 min then drain well and set aside.
In a large measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup very warm milk with 1/2 tsp sugar and sprinkle 3/4 Tbsp yeast over the top. Stir and let sit at room temp until bubbly and doubled in volume (10 min).
In a large mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid mixer), combine 1/2 cup very warm milk with 1/2 cup sugar, 4 Tbsp softened butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir until butter is melted. Add 2 well beaten eggs and proofed yeast mixture. Stir in 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and pinch of ground nutmeg.
Using the dough hook attachment mix in 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time until soft dough forms. Knead 8-12 min or until smooth and elastic. Dough will still stick a little to the bowl but not to your fingers.
Add drained raisins/craisins (pat them dry with paper towels if they still seem too wet) and transfer dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side-up. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free room 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume (you can also proof in a warm 100˚F oven).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half then continue cutting dough until you have 12 equal sized pieces. Roll dough into balls and transfer to a buttered 9×13″ baking pan. Cover with a tea towel and let them sit in a warm, draft-free room 30 min until puffed
Now you should preheat your oven to 375˚F. Generously brush the tops with egg wash and bake for 15-17 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan.
Once buns are just warm (not hot), stir together the 1/2 cup powdered sugar and about 2 1/2 tsp milk. You can add more powdered sugar to thicken it up if needed. Transfer glaze to a ziploc bag, cut off the tip of the bag and pipe a cross shape over each of the buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.