Friday, April 18, 2014

Honey Soaked Hot Cross Buns

  • 1 package of dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1/4 cup warm water, plus 1 tablespoons of water
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of honey, plus more for glazing
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup craisins
  • 4 cups of flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 cup confectioner sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
  • pure vanilla extract
 Preheat oven to 375 degrees (eventually)


Grease and flour a 13x9 pan and set aside.

Combine dry yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, and a touch of honey.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  [I add sweetener to see the yeast feed a bit and ensure its viability.  I have learned that this is not necessary, but the foam created is rather comforting for a nervous bread maker.]

Warm over low the milk, butter, salt and 2 tablespoons of honey until the butter has melted. Do not let it come to a boil!  I recommend letting the butter, salt, and honey melt first, before adding the milk.  Remove front the stove when you see steam rise from the milk.

Pour the mixture into a large bowl.  Add in the yeast water.  Then whisk cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggs into the mixture. Add 2/3 cup craisins.  Finally, add the flour, one cup at a time, stirring with a four until the previous cup disappears into the dough before adding the next one.

Knead on a lightly floured surface for five minutes until the dough is smooth and resilient.  Create a smooth surface of your finished dough ball by stretching and tucking the ends beneath the ball.  For the kneading process, add additional flour until the dough is no longer wet or too sticky to handle.  The dough will become heavier and more elastic, wanting to return to its shape as you stretch, fold over, and push down your dough ball.

Place in a greased bowl, cover with a towel dampened with hot water,  and let rise until the dough ball is doubled.  Since this is a honey sweetened bread dough, this will take approximately three hours.  Then, punch down the dough and divide into 24 balls.  Place the bun balls into the baking pan and let rise until doubled again, rewarming the towel with fresh hot water.  Allow for a minimum of an hour and a half, but the second doubling make take the same amount of time as the first.

With a sharp knife, cut crosses into each bun.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and brush the tops with honey.  It is helpful to warm the honey before doing so.  Return to the oven and cook 5-7 minutes more.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Whilst cooling, sift a cup of powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl.  In a prep bowl, put one teaspoon honey, one teaspoon water, and fill another teaspoon approximately 3/4 lemon juice and 1/4 pure vanilla extract.  Put in a dash more water.  Zest and then mince the lemon peel.  Add to the prep bowl.  Warm in the microwave for a few seconds to help melt the honey so that you can stir everything together.  Then, slowly whisk the mixture into the powdered sugar until you have a glaze.

Once the buns are cooled, cross the tops with a thick line of glaze.

Myrtle's Note:  Rising will take forever, but the end result is worth it.  My first batch of these was with yeast fed with a pinch of sugar.  However, I put the bit of honey because I like the idea of the dough being solely created from honey.  I also used scissors to make the cuts, but they are not nearly as pretty as those made with a knife.  Because I read that hot cross buns, a Good Friday treat, are meant to be given away.  For now, I do not have a photo since the ones I kept are the poorest looking in the batch!!

Yield:  24