Hot Cross Buns
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, divided
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- 3 large eggs, divided
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, for greasing a large bowl
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Heat 3/4 cup milk until lukewarm (between 100 degrees F and 110 degrees F).
Stir the yeast and the granulated sugar into the warm milk. Allow the mixture to stand 10 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy.
Pour the milk and yeast mixture into the flour mixture, and beat on low to combine. With the mixer running, add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until the yolks disappear. Add the softened butter and raisins and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly greased large bowl, turning the dough once to coat it with the oil from the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm place, free from drafts to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F.
When the dough has risen, punch it down once and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form each piece into a round ball. Place each dough ball evenly spaced onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Whisk together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, paint the tops of each roll with the egg mixture, reserving the remaining egg wash.
Place a clean kitchen towel (or lightly grease piece of plastic wrap) over the tops of the rolls and put in a warm place to rise, about 30 minutes.
Remove the kitchen towel and brush the tops of the rolls again with the reserved egg wash mixture. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Using oven mitts or potholders, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Use a spatula to remove the rolls from the baking sheet and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Combine the powdered sugar and remaining tablespoon of milk, mixing well. Place the sugar glaze in a squeeze bottle with a small tip or in a plastic bag with a small hole cut in one of the corners.
When the rolls have cooled, pipe a cross over the tops of each roll using the sugar glaze.
Traditionally made around Easter in the springtime, these rolls are delicious enough to make any time of the year. At my house we like to put raisins in the buns, but you can substitute other kinds of dried fruit such as cherries or cranberries if you wish. Make sure you wait to drizzle the icing until the buns are cooled, or the icing will not stick to the buns.