Final Take (For The Year) – Hot Cross Buns v3

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If there’s something you should know about me… It’ll be that I’m a geek.

I like to read recipes. Then I find myself reading the same recipe again and again (and maybe a few more ‘again’) especially before my attempt at making whatever it is. I also like to compare notes – going through different recipes, read the comments, check out the differences in ingredients used, different methods.

Maybe that’s OCD.

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But you know what the most annoying thing is? I fuss so much over a recipe only to find myself making mistakes. I realized this happens more often when there is no caffeine in my blood stream. Occasionally I find myself omitting an ingredient or two or casually skipping an important instruction like beat sugar with butter. Instead I add the sugar to the dry mixture(???). Such simple things appear to be a challenge without caffeine.

An OCD’s worse nightmare. Wait, does that mean I’m my own worse nightmare?

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I’ve been looking at so many Hot Cross Buns recipes my head hurts and my eyes are almost crossed. There are the ones with peels, the ones without, and then there are the different crosses – made of icing sugar, plain flour and even self-raising flour… Did I mention I really don’t like choices? (This will one day come back and bite me in the arse, I’m sure of it)

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So I’ve finally settled on THE ONEWilliams-Sonoma’s Hot Cross Bun Loaf.

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Well, I really thought I did until I got to the part of the recipe where it gave me the option to either make it into a loaf or normal classic buns.

Like, why? Honestly. Why would anyone do this to me? Maybe my problem is that I’m so indecisive. Or maybe because I just want to do it all.

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Maybe I’ll do half and half – one loaf and maybe 6 little hot cross buns. Everyone wins.

Right…? Balls, this is too hard.

Maybe I’ll finally decide when the dough is done proofing.

So… The proofing came and went – I chose buns. Almost the hardest decision in my life.

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It will be easier to give them away to friends and colleagues.

It will allow my OCD-ness to release its sudden urgent need to make perfectly round dough.

So I rolled-up 16 buns and boy, were they perfectly round. Excitedly, I crossed them with flour paste. I could/should have really diluted the mixture a little bit more but… I didn’t. So, they came out as fat crosses.

I’ve made Hot (Fat) Crossed Buns.

Honestly. It was 8 pm, I was not allowed caffeine. I guess it could have been worse.

I decided I’ll make up for it with packaging – baking paper and kitchen string/thread! While I was busy wrapping and tying ribbon-knots, I casually stuffed a bun in my mouth – toasted and slathered with melted butter.

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They did look pretty cute all wrapped up.

The buns were greeted with lots of awe and love – the combination of spice, sultana and fresh orange zest was apparently just perfect!

This is definitely pump fist in the air moment – and I’m keeping this recipe.

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*****

Hot Cross Bun Loaf
Recipe adapted from William-Sonoma

Ingredients:

4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 package active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup dried currants
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

For the crosses:
½ cup of all-purpose flour
2 ½ tablespoon castor sugar
5 tablespoon water

For the glaze:
2 tablespoon castor sugar
2 tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon powdered gelatine

Method:

Buns:

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the milk and granulated sugar, and warm to 43°C – feels warm but not hot enough to burn the finger. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the yeast. Allow to stand for 10 minutes until foamy.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Add to the yeast mixture along with the eggs, currants, and orange zest. Using the dough hook, knead the dough on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Scrape the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap, let rise in a warm temperature for 1-1 1/2 hours or until double in volume.

After the dough has risen, divide it into 12 to 16 equal pieces (depending on how big you want the buns to be) and roll each into a ball. Space the rolls out on a lined baking sheet and cover again with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled.

Pre-heat oven to 175°C.

Crosses:

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crosses until smooth– if paste is too sticky, add more water. Pipe crosses onto buns.

Bake until golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Glaze:

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly.

Remove buns from oven to a wire rack and brush tops with glaze.

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