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Buttermilk Hot Cross Buns

According to legend, a 12th century English monk made the first hot cross buns on Good Friday and they became the symbol of Easter and it wasn't long before all of England was munching on them along with a cuppa tea. However, digging a little further into history we find in a 16th and 17th century text, the first written record of the hot cross bun which reads: “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs, with one or two a penny hot cross buns.” Queen Elizabeth 1 declared that hot cross buns were such a sacred symbol that they could only be made and sold on Good Friday and Christmas. So many stories are attached to hot cross buns, like the belief that if you bake them on Good Friday, they wont get moldy during the coming year, or if the buns are given to the sick, they would be cured. And the cross atop the bun is symbolic of the crucified Christ. What we can say for sure is that these endearing sweet little buns, filled with currants and candied orange peel and flavored with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, coriander, ginger and cloves are simply delicious, easy to make and are perfect for Easter morning breakfast.

Ingredients

Makes 12

½ cup warm water

1 package dried yeast

1 cup warm buttermilk

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

5 tablespoons melted and cooled butter

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon allspice

Grated zest one large orange

½ cup raisins

½ cup candied diced orange peel

3 ½ to 4 cups all purpose flour

Directions

Pour water into a stand mixer and stir in yeast or mix by hand in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, baking soda, sugar, egg, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and grated zest; mix on medium speed or by hand until blended. Add raisins and orange peel and mix in. Add enough flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.

Knead on a floured surface until smooth about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to buttered bowl and cover. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size. Punch down dough and knead a few times on floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (3 ounces each) and place in a 9 x 12 buttered rectangle baking pan in rows of three, leaving space between each one.

Cover and let rise until puffy and almost double in size.

Preheat oven to 350F; bake until nicely browned and puffed, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. 

Frost with confectioners icing

 

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