I make Hot Crossed Buns every year for Easter, mainly because they’re the perfect complement to leftover slices of Easter ham. Grandma’s youngest sister was supposed to have made the BEST Hot Crossed Buns, but I had never seen the recipe until I found it in Grandma’s file. This is a photo of this sister with my mom. She was a WAVE (we think) in WWII, and it looks like she was home on leave.
I would say it’s springtime since the garden behind them isn’t looking too green and my mom has a little spring coat on. I was so excited to see that the recipe was in Grandma’s recipe file and that I would get a chance to try it! There are a lot of steps, but it really isn’t that hard or complicated. So here goes . . .
The house smells so good when these are baking!
Here is the recipe as I made it:
Hot Crossed Buns
1/2 cup warm water (not hot – 110-115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
3/4 cup unseasoned mashed potatoes (it doesn’t say if they need to be warm so I made them the day before and they were cold)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (I didn’t know how well softened butter would mix in so I melted it and it worked just fine)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup raisins
4 1/4 cups flour, sifted
In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water.
Mix in remaining ingredients except flour.
Add half of flour and beat until smooth.
Add enough of the rest of the flour to handle easily.
Mix by hand (I mixed the dough in my big mixer, but then kneaded it by hand).
Turn out onto floured board and knead until smooth.
Place in greased bowl, flip greased side up (I cover with plastic wrap), and let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double (about 1 1/2 hours).
Punch down, put on floured board, cover, and let rest 10-15 minutes.
Divide dough into 2 halves and divide each half into 16 pieces.
Place pieces into greased 9 inch round or square cake pan (I smooth the pieces like I would if I was making buns).
My round cake pans were only 8 inches, so I did have a few left that I just put on a baking sheet.
Brush with egg yolk glaze (beat 1 egg yolk with 2 Tablespoons water), and let rise again until double (30 minutes).
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Remove from pan and let cool.
Make “X” on top with powdered sugar icing: about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar mixed with 2 Tablespoons or so milk or cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
I never really know how smooth is smooth enough when kneading dough. This is how far I went, and you can see the size of the ball of dough before rising.
I cover with plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t develop a skin and have a hard time rising. This is also how much it grew during the first “rise”.
Punch it down, cover it, and let it rest a bit.
I use a serrated knife to cut the dough into pieces.
These are the pieces of dough before and after baking.
You really don’t need a lot of icing for making the “X” on top. I use a snack sized zip top bag as my icing bag. Just put the icing in, zip the top, cut a small piece off of one corner of the bag, and squeeze from the top. Just toss when you’re done!
I LOVE how these turned out – they’re nice and compact.
They’re already in my freezer ready for Easter!
These buns are a tradition in our family and I’m so glad I found this recipe from my great-aunt – they’re my new favorite! It’s a fairly easy recipe and they’re DELICIOUS!!! Try these – it will be your new favorite, too!