Easter Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns are a sure sign that spring and Easter is upon us. They are a great way to kick off Easter Sunday and are very easy to make. Here is a great recipe and the dough can also be used to make cinnamon rolls or almond paste braided breads. These can be made ahead with out the frosting and frozen. Frost just before serving
Makes at least 1 ½ dozen
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm (110º to 115ºF) water
1/2 cup warm (110º to 115ºF) 1% low-fat milk
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4 1/2 to 5 cups King Arthur Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and mix with a spoon until the yeast dissolves. Let the mixture ferment for about 5 minutes. Small clusters of chalky-looking bubbles should appear on the surface. Stir in the milk. With a fork, beat in the eggs one at a time. Set the mixture aside.
In a food processor, mix together 4 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, and salt. Break up the butter over the dry ingredients and work it in until a crumbly mixture is obtained. Add the yeast mixture and mix until a ball of dough is formed. Add additional flour if necessary to obtain a dough that is soft but not too sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead it for 3 to 4 minutes, until a smooth ball of dough forms. Let the dough rest on the work surface for 10 minutes, covered with a towel or inverted bowl.
Knead the dough again for 5 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky. Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking oil spray or lightly coat with butter. Gather up the dough, place it in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
When the dough has risen to approximately two times its size, use two fingers to make two indentations into the center of it. If the indentations do not close up, the dough is sufficiently risen and ready to use.
Break off pieces the size of small oranges and form into balls. Place them on lightly greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned.
Cool on wire rack.
Make a confectioners icing using 1 cup confectioners sugar and 3 to 4 tablespoons Half/Half. Mix until smooth; then make a decorative + on top of the buns.
More great recipes at ciaoitalia.com