Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Healthier Hot Cross Buns

I wanted to bake some hot cross buns this week (although my cookbooks disagree on when they ought to be served-some say Palm Sunday, some say Good Friday, and some say Easter season in general), but with the impending sugar overload this weekend, I wanted something simpler and more hearty, than the hot cross bun recipes I found in cookbooks. So I tweaked and combined a couple of recipes, reducing the sugar and adding some whole wheat flour and making a few other minor changes, and here is what I came up with:

What you need:
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • a pinch or two of salt if using unsalted butter
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • up to 1/2 cup more additional flour of either type
  • raisins or currants to taste
What you do:
  • Pour the water and yeast into your mixing bowl and add a sprinkle of flour
  • Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, eggs, and melted butter and mix
  • Add the flour and mix
  • Add extra flour if the dough seems too wet
  • Knead 4-6 minutes
  • Allow to rise until about doubled, 1 -1 1/2 hours at room temp
  • Punch down and allow to rest 10 minutes
  • Shape into rolls and allow to rise until doubled again-30-45 minutes this time
  • Slash a cross into the top of each bun
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes
  • Drizzle glaze on in a cross pattern (should go in the slash lines basically)
My notes:
  • If your frosting is running too much, wait until the buns are cool to frost, and/or add more powdered sugar to thicken the frosting
  • The dough will be sticky, even after kneading, because of the eggs, sugar, and butter. Don't add more than 1/2 cup additional flour if it seems fine other than sticky.
  • Since my husband doesn't like raisins and they are a choking hazard for my son, I only put them in a few of the buns. I mixed them in by hand after forming my son and husband's share of the rolls, then shaped my buns too. If everyone in your house likes dried fruit, feel free to add that earlier in the process, like right before you add the flour.
  • I ended up making 14 rolls, but you could certainly make them a little smaller-I was surprised how big they were when I actually ate one (they seemed smaller when I was shaping them...I guess because that was before they rose and then baked!)
  • I seperate eggs with my hands-just crack the egg into your freshly washed hand and let the white slip through your fingers! I keep the yolk and add them to scrambled eggs later that day or sometimes the next day. You can also make ridiculously unhealthy but delicious "norman butter cookies" with the yolks.

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