There’s no Easter without hot cross buns! But I have to admit, I have made them at my own terms and to our liking. Any recipe I find for these always gets altered into what I know we like. I really am no fan of candied citrus peels, especially not the store bought stuff. So mine are without that. These ones are also dairy free and thus, allergy friendly. But, the great thing with baking, is that you can make your own little twists and make it into what you personally like.
A little change I did this year, was to use apple in the buns and to brush a little of the homemade blood orange marmalade on top of them before cooking them. That was well worth it. The apple helps keep them moist, and the marmalade on top just added that little extra citrus hint that you love about these buns.
- Add all the dry ingredients to your stand mixer with a dough hook and mix them a little. You can add the dry seasoning at this point too.
- Add the milk and egg and start the mixer at medium speed. Mix until a sticky dough.
- Add the butter and work the dough until it is all incorporated.
- Add the rest of the seasoning; apple, orange peel and sultanas.
- Mix the dough until everything is well incorporated. The dough should be fairly sticky when done.
- Leave to prove for 45 minutes.
- Have some flour on your baking surface and pour the dough onto it.
- Fold in a little bit of flour, but not too much. The dough should still be fairly wet.
- Divide the dough into small pieces, 20 – 25 pieces.
- With floured hands, roll the pieces into little buns and put them on a tray lined with baking paper (you will likely need two trays).
- Brush some citrus or apricot type jam on top in a very thin coating. I used the blood orange marmalade I mage a few days ago.
- Put plastic wrap on top and leave to prove for an hour.
- Cook at 200 degrees Celsius for 13-14 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they may turn dark very quickly due to the coating on top.
Most recipes will tell you to coat the buns just before serving, not before cooking. I like the added flavor during cooking too. And it won’t make the buns so sticky to eat.
Involve your kids:
Baking is one of those things where the kids love to help and they should be welcomed to. Depending on age, the complexity of what they are able to do will vary. My boys will happily help to cut up the butter into chunks, measure out ingredients and put things into the machine.
For this recipe, I handled the measuring of the main components, whereas my youngest was very helpful with the sultanas, both measuring, putting into the machine and eating some. The measuring being him putting a few onto the scale, watching the numbers change and saying “oi, look mummy” over and over. Some sultanas made it into the mixing bowl too in the end.
With the older one, who is 4 years old, I can measure out the ingredients and he will put them into the machine for me. Ingredients that won’t make a huge mess with a little bit of spillage, I let him try to measure out too. He is also very good at cutting softer ingredients into bits, like butter and fruits.
Be patient, accept some mess and they will quickly develop a fond interest in helping out in the kitchen. And they will get better at helping out every time. 🙂