Hot Cross Buns is a traditional Easter recipe. I celebrate Passover, but I have been looking for new and fun recipes and I keep coming across recipes for Hot Cross Buns that just look so good. Also, I have this strange fascination with making bread from scratch. It’s so neat that you can use so few ingredients and end up with amazing tasting bread! Anyways, when I saw the recipe that the Cookin Canuck poster on Unconventional Hot Cross Buns, I was sold. I decided to make them in honor of Easter.
My mom’s side of the family does celebrate Easter, but this year they are not in town. I guess I still wanted to do something for Easter and sharing these guys with my family seemed like the perfect thing. My mom recalls getting hot cross buns every year as a child and hating them because of the raisins. These buns have NO raisins, and they have chocolate, you really can’t go wrong. Plus, the original recipe calls for mostly all-purpose flour and a little whole wheat flour. I didn’t feel like opening a new thing of all-purpose flour and so I used all white whole wheat flour. I didn’t change anything else and they were great!
Finally, I have a little tip: once you have made the dough and need to wait for it to rise for 2 to 2 and a half hours, you can place it in the fridge to slow the process down a little. My mom and I were going to get pedicures (yay spa day!) and I knew that the bread would be ready before we were home. I stuck it in the fridge for an hour, and then placed it in the oven (not on obviously) for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. It was perfect!
Whole Wheat Hot Cross Buns-with a Twist (inspired by Cookin Canuck)
6 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk (I made my own: buttermilk powder + water)
1 .75 oz packet of dried yeast
4 tbsp agave nectar, divided
4 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp water
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp skim milk
1 tsp vanilla
1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
2. Heat the buttermilk in a saucepan until warm (NOT BOILING) and then mix in a large liquid measuring cup with the yeast and 1 tbsp of agave nectar. Let sit for about 10 minutes, until bubbles start to form on the top of the mixture.
3. Whisk in the eggs, cooled butter, and the rest of the agave nectar (3 tbsp).
4. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, and cinnamon together.
5. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, or with your hands, combine the flour and buttermilk mixture until dough forms. Then, knead for 8-10 minutes until you have a pliable and smooth dough.
6. Punch a hole in the middle of the dough and place the cherries and chocolate. Knead until they are dispersed evenly throughout the dough. Form dough into a ball and place in a large, oiled, bowl.
7. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a draft-free place for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the dough has more than doubled in size. (This is where I put the dough in the fridge for an hour because of my pedicure…haha).
8. Once the dough is ready, form 12 balls and place in an oiled 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the rolls double in size and are pressing against each other.
9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the 1 tbsp of water. Cut a cross into each of the rolls, and then brush with the egg wash. Bake for about 25-30 minutes (mine took 30). Buns will be lightly browned on top. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
10. Make the glaze: mix all the ingredients together and then, using a spoon, brush the glaze across the X’s in the buns to make the traditional cross.