This year I've managed to avoid the chocolate frenzy that usually happens this time of year. The toddler is still too small to realise that all the shiny things in the shops have chocolatey goodness inside. I suspect next year will be a different matter. He has, however, been devouring his own weight in hot cross buns, so I had to make some for him (and the rest of the family).
I made some fabulous ones either last year or the year before (I can't remember) but I couldn't find the recipe again. This current batch turned out very well and were very easy, so I'm recording it for next year! I think using the bread mix worked really well - I think I'll be using this approach again to make things like cinnamon buns or finger buns.
Hot Cross Buns (makes 16)
1 600g packet of Laucke Crusty White Bread Mix for Breadmakers (includes yeast sachet)
1 tablespoon treacle
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon mixed spice
200g dried mixed fruit
100ml melted butter
For the crosses:
3 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp water
½ tsp sugar
For the glaze:
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp powdered gelatine
2 tbsp water
Heat the milk to warm (around 38°C) and mix in the yeast sachet and the treacle. Set aside for 10 minutes until the mix is frothy.
Mix the flour, fruit, spice and sugar in a large bowl. Add the milk mixture, the egg and melted butter and mix to form a slightly sticky dough. Sprinkle with flour as necessary and knead until the dough is smooth. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise either overnight in the fridge, or at room temperature for 2-3 hours until it has at least doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and knead it again, then divide into 16 balls and place into a baking tin lined with baking paper. Allow the buns to rise again for 30 minutes, then brush with some milk. Mix the flour, water and sugar for the crosses - it should be a thick paste. Use a piping bag to pipe on the crosses, then bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes until the buns are golden and sound hollow when tapped.
To make the glaze, mix the water, sugar and gelatine, then heat in the microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Brush the hot mix over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.
Best eaten while still warm and spread with butter.