Every year my Mum buys hot cross buns for Good Friday from ASDA. They're the squashiest, squishiest, most delicious hot cross buns I've ever had. Having a lot of spare time ('that's a firm 'no' to revision today') and a KitchenAid on my hands this holiday (brought down from the dusty confines of my room in lieu of my Dad's bread maker. Sacrilege), I decided I'd see if I could match and recreate these amazing rolls.
These turned out even better than I'd expected. Despite not having cinnamon (sneakily replaced with nutmeg and ginger - weird, but it totally worked) the flavour was delicious, and thanks to the apricot glaze these rolls were as sticky and sweet as my favourites from the shop.
I've said before, I've never really been that successful with doughs and breads, they just never seemed to rise quite right. UNTIL I found active dried yeast, a true miracle. Somehow, wonderfully, even if the dough doesn't quite proof properly (guess it wasn't warm enough in my kitchen) it works in the oven to create beautifully soft and fluffy rolls. So, make sure you're working with the right type of yeast. Active dried. Can't sing its praises enough.
Best eaten warm and on the day they're made, these are delicious with butter, jam, or, as I found out after a night out, cheese. If you can, warm cold rolls slightly in an oven or microwave?! to make them super soft and squidgy again.
Hot Cross Buns
550g plain flour
1/2tsp ground cardamom
120ml warm water
1 1/2tsp active dried yeast
4tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2tsp salt
50g caster sugar
200g (or to your taste) mixed peel and sultanas
For the 'cross'
1tbsp icing sugar
1tsp lemon juice
1tbsp vegetable oil
1tbsp apricot jam
1. Mix cinnamon and cardamom with the flour in a large bowl. Mix yeast with warm water and whisk well, then set aside for 10 minutes until frothy.
2. Add the yeast mixture, milk, salt and sugar to the flour and mix well. Mix in the butter and egg, then add the mixed peel and sultanas. Kneed dough until smooth, adding extra flour if it's too sticky, about 10 minutes.
3. Cover the bowl of dough with a tea towel and leave in a warm spot until doubled in size, about an hour.
4. Punch down the dough and divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet, leaving 3-4'' between each bun as they will spread in the oven. Cover with a towel again and leave to rise once more until doubled in size.
5. Mix the apricot jam with 4tbsp hot water until you have a think glaze. For the 'cross' part whisk flour, icing sugar, lemon juice and vegetable oil together until you have a pipable paste, adding a little water if the consistency is too thick. Spoon into a piping bag and either cut a small corner off or use a small, round piping tip. You can use a plastic bag if you don't have a piping bag.
6. Pipe a cross on the risen rolls, and brush with apricot glaze.
7. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top, basting with more apricot wash every 10 minutes or so.