My husband doesn't have a terribly sweet tooth. So, about a decade ago, when I had found a recipe for Hot Cross Buns and made them Easter weekend, he was just in his glory. This year, I decided that I was tired of getting up early to be sure he had great food to eat, while the kids were pigging out on candy. This being the weekend before Easter, I tried an experiment last night. First, the basic recipe for 2 dozen Hot Cross Buns, from a bread machine cookbook by Donna Rathmell German (not her original recipe - I doubled it).
HOT CROSS BUNS
1-1/2 cups milk
6 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
6 cups flour
3 tsp yeast
1 cup raisins
I had to use the mixer for this one, because it's much too large for the bread machine to mix. Mix all ingredients except raisins together, and beat at low speed or knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Add the raisins and beat or knead another 5 minutes. Let the dough ball rest for 10 minutes, then divide it into 24 pieces; form the pieces into balls and put on greased baking trays. Brush with one egg yolk mixed with 2 tsp. water, and let rise 45 to 50 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes; remove from the oven and let cool. Mix together 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. milk, and drizzle onto each bun in the shape of a cross.
If you're going to bake these as soon as they've risen, use warm milk, approx. 100 degrees. If not, use cooler milk. I used my milk straight out of the refrigerator (so, probably 33 degrees), and only used 2 tsp yeast, and it took a couple of hours in the morning to rise. Bummer! Next time, I'll use it at around 60 degrees, and use the full amount of yeast; that should cure the rising speed. They did come out beautiful, as you can see:
Before that photo was even taken, or before all of the buns were even frosted, my dearly beloved was helping me by ascertaining that these were all edible. That caused the 5 kids who were home to hang over the passthrough between kitchen and breakfast room, salivating, until the tray got put onto the passthrough. I did get one (which has been known to not happen), and this is the tray 12 minutes after it hit the counter:
If my recipes sometimes seem absurdly large, this probably helps explain why. Bear in mind that only one of my four large sons was home this morning, and only 5 of the 9 total kids were here. Ah, well, next weekend the one son who was here, but had to go back to college today, may return for Easter weekend, and 2 other kids will be home on Thursday night. I'll probably go for 3 dozen next weekend.