hot cross buns

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

If you bake it, spring will come – that’s how the saying goes, right? With a mix of spices and candied citron, and the classic unsweetened fondant frosting, these traditional hot cross buns are the perfect way to welcome spring.


Hot Cross Buns
Servings: makes two dozen rolls


For Buns:

  • 7 cups bread flour
  • ¼ whole nutmeg, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 envelopes (½ ounce) instant active yeast
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) candied citron peel, finely minced
  • 1 ½ cups raisins
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 recipe cross paste (recipe follows)
  • 1 recipe honey syrup glaze (recipe follows)

For Paste:

  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For Honey Glaze:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 pinches of salt


For Buns:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, spices, sugar and salt and mix on low speed for one minute. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until the mixture resembles grated Parmesan cheese and absolutely no lumps or pieces of butter remain, about eight minutes. Meanwhile, warm the milk to about 100° F. Add the yeast and honey and stir to combine.
  • Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the milk and yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and butter mixture in the mixer bowl. Add three of the eggs to the mixer, one at a time. Add the orange zest. Once the dough has mixed into one solid piece, mix the dough on low speed for three minutes. Increase the mixer to medium speed for four minutes until the dough is smooth. Add the candied citron and raisins to the mixer and continue to mix on medium speed for two minutes to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer, lightly cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 24 equal-sized pieces (about 2 ½ ounces each or a piece the size of a racquet ball). Roll each piece into a small ball, taking care to tuck in any raisins poking out of the dough (they can burn easily in the hot oven). Arrange the rolls of dough on the baking sheet in a 4 x 6 roll grid. Lightly spray the rolls with nonstick cooking spray and lightly cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise at room temperature until increased in size by about 75%, about 45 minutes.
  • Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly beat the remaining egg in a small bowl. Brush the entire surface area of the rolls with the beaten egg. Carefully pipe a line of the cross paste across the rows of rolls in one direction, then repeat in the opposite direction to create a cross pattern.
  • Bake the rolls until a deep golden brown, rotating the tray halfway through the baking, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and let cool on the tray placed on a cooling rack. Immediately brush the rolls evenly with the honey syrup glaze until no glaze remains. Let cool until just warm enough to handle and serve immediately, or cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to two days. To store longer, transfer the cooled rolls to a freezer bag and freeze for up to four weeks. Thaw at room temperature and microwave to warm up for a few seconds before serving.

For Paste:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small round piping bag and set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

For Honey Glaze:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for three minutes and set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

Learn to bake buns (and more!) like a pro — click here for information on ICE’s career programs.

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