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Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

  • Author: Shelagh
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 9 buns 1x
  • Category: Breakfast, Brunch
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British/Irish


Lovely, and not too sweet buns, are perfect to make ahead of time (dough) and bake on Easter morning.


  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (affiliate link)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • zest of one orange (wash the orange well)
  • 1 cup raisins, currants and/or golden raisins (any combination)
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (warmed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

For the crosses (you may omit if you only want to ice crosses after cooling)

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons warm water

For the glaze

  • 2 tablespoon melted apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon hot water

For the icing (you may omit if using flour cross, or use both)

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice (from that orange you zested!)


  1. In a stand mixer, combine the flours, yeast, cinnamon, salt, sugar, and zest in the mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook. Combine the buttermilk, egg and melted butter in a large measuring cup (warmed in microwave for about 20 seconds, to get the chill off) and mix into the dry ingredients to form a sticky dough.
  2. Add the dried fruit, and knead on low speed until silky and smooth. (You can do this by hand, but it will be sticky to handle.) Knead for about 6 minutes. Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  3. Gently deflate the risen dough and divide into 9 equal pieces. Shape into balls and dust with flour. Place in a 9″ x 9″ baking pan, cover with plastic wrap or towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes until again, doubled in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. To make the crosses, whisk together the flour and water until smooth, then transfer to a plastic bag and snip off the end to make a fine hole. Pipe a cross on top of each one, then and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the apricot jam with the water in a pan or in microwave, so it is brushable. Brush mixture over the buns right from the oven. Serve warm, cold, or toasted. Try a little butter too, yum.

For the icing (optional)

  1. Wait to ice the buns until they have cooled a bit. Combine confectioners sugar and orange juice. Add more liquid if needed to make a mixture that holds its shape. Again, add to a piping bag or sandwich bag and pipe a cross across the baked cross.


Zesting Tips:
The zest of any citrus fruit is a powerhouse of flavor, much more than the juice itself.

  • Zest the fruit at room temp, if you don’t get it out of the fridge in time, place it in the microwave for about 15 seconds, to yield more juice.
  • To get even more juice, roll the fruit on the counter back and forth a few time under your palm, that get’s it started.
  • Be sure to not zest into the bitter white pith.
  • Zest before you juice!

Keywords: hot cross buns, whole grain hot cross buns, easy hot cross buns, easter brunch buns

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