Before sharing this recipe with you, Dear Reader, I have to say that for some reason the BakingGods were with me when I made these and … well, modesty prohibits me from describing the ethereal dough with a mere hint of orange and the lightest touch of sweetness.
But I have to admit that I so enjoyed the making of and the baking of these springtime buns, that I quite neglected to measure each and every ingredient.
This business of tossing spices here and scattering herbs there is pretty normal behavior for me, but I generally try to remember to measure accurately and time carefully when a blog post is involved.
Nonetheless, I just added the orange pulp and juice to the dough until it seemed about right, and I kneaded in enough juice and vanilla soaked raisins to look OK. For good or bad, that leaves the guesstimating of such things up to you. My only advice is to close your eyes, listen to your inner cook, and trust your instincts.
Well, here is the exact recipe for a sweet dough that is best eaten within 24 to 48 hours of coming out of the oven. Any ingredients or steps in the process that were dealt with more creatively are italicized.
HOT CROSS BUNS
Basic Sweet Dough
As with any bread machine recipe, please refer to your particular machine’s manufacturer’s directions first.
(For 2 pound loaf)
3 eggs, large at room temperature
1/4 cup + 3 1/2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon yeast, active dry, instant or bread machine
After fitting with paddle, place all ingredients in order given above in bread pan. Place pan in machine, choose the dough setting.
While waiting for dough cycle to complete, gently grate only the orange zest from two medium oranges into 8 ounce measuring cup. Squeeze both oranges for fresh juice, being sure to include some smooshed pulp, then add to zest already in cup. Add a tablespoon or so of vanilla extract, and dehydrated orange peel if desired – 1+ teaspoon – then add enough water to bring level to 3/4 cup. Add a handful or two of raisins to liquid, allowing to soak during dough cycle.
Allow bread machine to complete cycle, approximately 1 1/2 hours, then remove from pan and place in large, lightly greased bowl. Punch dough down and let rest 10 minutes before continuing.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. preheat oven to 375*
Place dough on flat surface. Scoop plumped raisins from measuring cup, being generous with any accompanying liquid, but careful not to soak dough.
Knead raisin/orange juice mixture into dough.
Divide dough into 12 -16 equal parts. Gently form each part into a ball, then place each ball two inches apart on baking sheets. Using scissors, snip small Xs into top of dough (unless you forget all about this step – oops!).
Cover lightly with lightly oiled/buttered waxed paper and allow to rise in draft-free location until almost double in size.
Bake Hot Cross Buns 17-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven, and while cooling, prepare icing.
Remaining orange juice/pulp mixture
- Combine ingredients, adding small amounts of sugar just until achieving desired consistency. Using a teaspoon, pour over tops of cooled buns in the shape of an X. If buns are too warm, or if icing is too thin, buns will be glazed rather than decorated, but they will still taste delicious!