Category Archives: Sweet Rolls

Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts

Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsA few weeks ago, there was a Facebook poll going around asking if a cinnamon roll is a doughnut. I don’t know where or why it started, but I compulsively swiped it every time it came up on my feed just to make sure everyone I know understands that cinnamon rolls are not doughnuts.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Rolls = baked pastry.

Doughnuts = fried* pastry.

*Baked Doughnuts = muffins in disguise.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsOf course, there are exceptions to every rule and, oh, do I love finding an exception. Today’s recipe, Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts, are exactly what they sound like: fluffy, brown sugary cinnamon rolls made from doughnut dough, fried ‘til golden and dunked in a classic sugar glaze. They are both cinnamon roll and a doughnut and they are exactly as delicious as they sound.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsThe inspiration for these comes from my childhood doughnut shop, Dale’s Donuts #9.* They made (and I assume that they still make) a version of these, and since I didn’t grow up with much home baking, I just assumed that all cinnamon rolls were doughnuts. As has been established, they are not, but I didn’t know at the time and I don’t think I would have cared…unless there wasn’t one left for me after a Sunday doughnut run.

*I have never encountered Dale’s Donuts #1-#8. If you ever do, please tell me. I would love to know they exist.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsAnyway…I’ve since learned to make great cinnamon rolls and doughnuts, but the cinnamon roll doughnuts of my youth have eluded me. I’ve looked for something comparable in every doughnut shop I’ve encountered over the years (which has been a lot), but have come up empty-handed…so I figured it out myself.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll Doughnuts are as simple to make as any of my other yeasted doughnuts. They begin like many sweet rolls and doughnuts do: by making a dough and letting it rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight. This makes for prime gluten development (critical for softness and chew) and nuanced flavor, and it means you don’t have to get up at 5am to make doughnuts in time for breakfast.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsThe next day, the dough is punched down, rolled into a rectangle, filled with cinnamon & brown sugar, rolled back up, and sliced.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsThen the rolls are then pressed down with the heel of your hand and the ends are secured with toothpicks before a short second rise. These steps will keep them unraveling while rising and frying.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsAnd speaking of frying, this is when these rolls take a decidedly doughnut-esque turn. Each one is fried in hot oil until golden and fully cooked in the middle. Some filling will escape during frying—that’s the nature of the beast—but trust me when I say your doughnuts will still be plenty cinnamony.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsOnce they’re all fried and golden, the Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts get a dip in a sugar glaze. You could spread them with cream cheese frosting instead, but I really love the contrast of soft doughnut, buttery cinnamon filling and shattering sugar glaze.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsIt tastes like childhood and doughnut victory and a very delicious exception to the rules. The best.Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts

Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts
makes 16 doughnuts

Doughnut Dough:
2 cups bread flour*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I used Red Star Platinum)
1 cup buttermilk,* room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature
2 quarts shortening or frying oil (like peanut, safflower, or canola), for frying

Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Glaze:
2 pounds confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup hot tap water

For Assembly:
parchment
wooden toothpicks

Make the dough the night before. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together bread flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and instant yeast. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm until hot to the touch, about 115F. Use a silicone spatula to fold liquid into dry ingredients. Fold in eggs until a sticky, shaggy dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, until dough is smooth. Shape dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, cut a large sheet of parchment into 16 4-inch squares. Place squares on two rimmed baking sheets. Place a separate whole sheet on a third pan.

Fill the dough and form the rolls. Remove plastic wrap from dough and punch down. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×17-inch rectangle. Use a pastry brush to apply butter to the surface of the dough. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Sprinkle over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 16 rolls. Place each on a square of parchment.

Flour the heel of your hand and press each roll down so that it’s flat and squat. Use toothpicks to secure the end of each roll and use another toothpick to secure the other side of the roll. Do not skip these steps.

Gently lay plastic wrap or a sheet of wax paper over the tops of the pans and allow doughnuts to rise in a warm, draft-free environment* for 45 minutes. Once puffy, remove doughnuts from oven.

Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet, and set in close proximity to the stove.

Heat shortening or oil to 375F. Working in small batches, fry doughnuts 1.5-2 minutes per side, until deeply golden. Remove to rack. Continue with remaining doughnuts.

Make classic doughnut glaze. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Pour glaze into a shallow dish. Dip one doughnut at a time before transferring back to rack. Repeat with all remaining doughnuts. Glaze will set after 15-20 minutes.

Doughnuts are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about a day.

Dipped doughnuts are best the day they are made.

Notes:

1. If you do not have bread flour, you may substitute an equal volume of all-purpose flour. Your doughnuts will not have as much chew as those made with bread flour, but they will still be delicious.
2. If you do not have buttermilk, you may make a substitute with lemon juice (or vinegar) and milk. Pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Pour in milk until the liquid reaches the 1 cup mark. Let sit for five minutes before proceeding with the recipe as written. Whole and low-fat milks are fine, but I do not recommend skim or nonfat.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll Doughnuts

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Nutella Morning Buns

Nutella Morning BunsIf I could change one thing about myself, I think I’d like to be a morning person. I really like mornings (especially the lazy variety), but I have such difficulty getting myself out of bed that I rarely enjoy them. It’s a whole horrible, eight-alarm ordeal on weekdays and I almost always sleep past 11 on the weekends, so I’m either a bleary-eyed mess or out like a light for the start of most days. But, on extremely rare occasions, I wake up early of my own volition—usually with the aid of jackhammers outside my window or the sun shining in my eyes—and I get to enjoy the morning, starting with making myself a nice breakfast.Nutella Morning BunsSometimes mixing flour, sugar, and butter is an act of self-care.

Exhibit A: An unfortunately-timed 6am wake-up call last Saturday was turned around when I realized I had time to make myself a Puff Pancake, my childhood favorite weekend breakfast.

Exhibit B: These Nutella Morning Buns, which I made the previous Saturday when my roommate’s cute pup had to air some early morning grievances. They helped change the trajectory of my day: I got to treat myself, and the batch is large enough that I got to share with eleven of my closest acquaintances! Most everyone loves a fresh pastry swirled with warm Nutella ❤Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsFor something so rustic and beautiful, Nutella Morning Buns are surprisingly simple to make and come together in a pretty reasonable amount of time. It takes me about two hours to make a batch from the time I decide that a soft, warm bun full of chocolate-hazelnut spread might be nice to the time I dust them with confectioner’s sugar and dig in.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsThe dough is very straightforward. It’s got all the usual suspects: flour, a little sugar, butter, milk, and an egg. It requires yeast, of course, but I use the instant stuff here, which simplifies the already simple process, making these buns incredibly approachable.

I’m not the sort of person who bestows wishes or blessings on people, but if I were, I think I’d say “May all your yeast doughs be approachable.” Is that weird? It’s probably weird. 🙂 Nutella Morning BunsIf there’s anything that’s intimidating about making Nutella Morning Buns, it’s probably shaping. Never fear though—it’s really simple and satisfying. Once your dough has risen for 40 minutes, punch it down and roll it into a large rectangle. Spread it with a thin layer of Nutella and then fold it like a letter, so that you have alternating layers of dough and filling. Use a sharp chef’s knife to trim off the ends and slice the rest into a dozen 8×1” strips.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsWorking with one strip at a time, twist it up. Then cross the two ends over each other and tuck them into the hole that forms in the center. BOOM! Dough shaped!Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsRepeat with the rest of your strips and then let them rise a little longer. If some ends come untucked, just nudge ‘em back with your fingers before baking. Or don’t. These are the sort of buns that can take all sorts of manipulation and still look gorgeous when all is said and done. And even if they don’t, a swipe of melted butter and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar can cure all manner of ugly pastry.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsBut is there such a thing as ugly pastry when Nutella is involved? I don’t think so. Or if there is, nobody who tried one of these buns during testing found the time to tell me. Oh, and all the test batches were gone (GONE!) within 45 minutes of coming out of the oven, so I’ll just let that speak for itself.Nutella Morning BunsI’m pretty sure it’s impossible to have anything but a beautiful morning when these are around.Nutella Morning Buns

Nutella Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
2/3 cup Nutella

For finishing:
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Spread dough with Nutella, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12×12-inches. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12×6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14×8-inches. You may lose a bit of filling. This is normal.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I can get 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with wax paper (or parchment) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove wax paper (or parchment). They will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place overnight racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 10 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown.

Brush warm buns with melted butter. Let cool 10 minutes before dusting with confectioner’s sugar and serving.

Baked buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so. I’ve never had them last longer than 45 minutes out of the oven though.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning Buns

Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Classic Cinnamon RollsI have put a lot of sweet rolls on this blog, but have somehow never posted a recipe for classic cinnamon rolls. Consider that oversight rectified. And in time for holiday breakfast season, no less.Classic Cinnamon RollsNow, I know there are a gazillion cinnamon roll recipes out there. You probably have one you love. Why take a chance and switch it up? What makes these cinnamon rolls special?Classic Cinnamon RollsWell, I like to think *all* cinnamon rolls are special. I have never been disappointed to be offered a cinnamon roll in all my 33.5 years. Not once. Not even by the one I ate at a Roy Rogers in rural Connecticut at 8am that one time eleven years ago.

(Don’t ask me why I remember what I ordered at a Roy Rogers in rural Connecticut eleven years ago because I honestly don’t know. It’s just garbage taking up space in my brain and now it’s taking up space in yours.)Classic Cinnamon RollsBut, um, back to these cinnamon rolls, which are infinitely better than anything you could possibly find at a fast food restaurant in New England. They’re made with the same dough I use for my kolaches. It’s enriched with eggs, whole milk, butter, and sour cream, so you know it’s good. It produces cinnamon rolls that are super soft, tender, and rich.Classic Cinnamon RollsThis dough works best with an overnight chill in the fridge. Immediately after mixing, it’s very soft and sticky—very frustrating to roll. After a chill however, the butter has set up enough that the dough rolls without sticking, making it ideal for slathering with brown sugar-cinnamon filling. This overnight method is also the ideal way to get scratch-made cinnamon rolls on the breakfast table without having to get up and start baking when it’s still dark outside. Sleep > baking.Classic Cinnamon RollsOnce the dough has been filled, roll it into a cylinder and slice it into pieces.Classic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon RollsLet them rise and bake them until they’re brown.Classic Cinnamon RollsAnd then slather them with a thin coat of cream cheese frosting. Or double the recipe for a thick coat. Whatever floats your cinnamon roll boat. <—hey, that rhymes.Classic Cinnamon RollsAnyway, you don’t need me to talk you into wanting fresh cinnamon rolls (unless you hate them like my sister…weirdo). Take some time to make a batch this holiday season, and you might be surprised to find they are as pleasurable to bake as they are to eat.Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the dough. Cut butter into 8 pieces.Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the cinnamon, and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

In the morning, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together softened unsalted butter, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, until it’s completely combined. Set aside.

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, line the bottom with foil, and butter again. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×17-inch rectangle. Use an offset icing spatula to spread filling over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free environment for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let rolls cool 5-10 minutes.

Make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy and lighter in color. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated.

Drop spoonfuls of the frosting over the tops of the rolls and use an offset icing spatula to spread it into a thin layer over all the rolls.

Slice and serve.

Cinnamon Rolls are best the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
Classic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon Rolls

Pineapple Sweet Rolls

Pineapple Sweet RollsYou won’t believe the intense pineapple flavor of these Pineapple Sweet Rolls! Or maybe you will—I mean, they have four doses of the stuff.

These are for serious pineapple lovers only. I absolutely count myself as one and yet, somehow, these rolls were something I didn’t know I wanted.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsBut then a grocery store display of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls caught my eye and I had a craving for pineapple sweet bread. Instead of purchasing a package of rolls though, my “baker brain” took over and I went home to make a buttery, sweet pastry dough with pineapple juice.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsThat went so well that I wrapped it around a layer of soft crushed pineapple filling…Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet Rollssliced it into rolls and let them rise…Pineapple Sweet Rollsbefore baking them until golden.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsThen I topped them with a simple pineapple icing…Pineapple Sweet Rollsand sprinkled them with sparkly, sugar-coated dried pineapple.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsAnd then I had the gall to put them on the internet in the middle of a work day so you’d have a craving, too.Pineapple Sweet RollsSorry, not sorry.Pineapple Sweet Rolls

Pineapple Sweet Rolls
makes 12 rolls

Filling:
16 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Dough:
1 3/4-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (reserved from making filling)
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

Icing:
2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4-5 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice (reserved from making filling)

Sparkling Pineapple Garnish:
1/3 cup chopped unsweetened dried pineapple (about 1 ounce)
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (I use turbinado)

Make the filling. Set a sieve over a mixing bowl. Pour canned crushed pineapple into the sieve and use a spoon to press out excess juice. Set juice aside.

Combine pineapple, sugar, ginger, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until juices are clear and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold (about 1 hour). Filling may be made up to a day in advance.

Make the dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until they reach 115F and are hot to the touch. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients, followed by pineapple juice and beaten eggs. Stir in remaining flour in 2 tablespoon installments, just until a smooth, soft dough forms. Dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead dough on a floured surface for 5-6 minutes. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 8×14-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, using a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, tenting the pan with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let rolls cool for 10 minutes while you make the icing and garnish. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, salt, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons of pineapple juice. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. Add more pineapple juice by the teaspoon, up to 3 teaspoons (aka 1 tablespoon) until desired texture is achieved.

For the garnish, toss chopped dried pineapple with coarse sugar until well-combined and sparkly.

Pour/spread icing over warm rolls. Top with garnish. Serve immediately. Leftover rolls will keep for about a day, covered at room temperature. Icing will sink in over time.
Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet Rolls

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns“Hot Cross Buns…Hot Cross Buns…”

I know the song, but I am not sure I had ever had one of the actual buns before last week. That seems fairly par for the course until you find out that I was raised by a fairly devout Episcopalian, and attended Episcopal church, school, and camp until I was well into my twenties. You’d think I would have had a hot cross bun sometime in all those Good Fridays.Hot Cross Buns

Alas, no soft cinnamon-raisin treats for me 😦 Well, I mean, until I started testing these last Friday 🙂 I’ve now made five batches of Hot Cross Buns and am definitely a fan of their soft, chewy texture and the touches of spice and fruit. Oh, and the icing. Of course, the icing!Hot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns go back centuries, with each of the main ingredients being a religious metaphor. Some even used to believe that these buns had healing powers. I don’t buy into any of that, but I will take any excuse to bake.

Hot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsMy Hot Cross Bun dough is made with both yeast and baking powder. Adding a leavener on top of the yeast may seem like overkill, but it makes the dough nice and puffy and ensures that the finished buns will be super soft. The dough comes together in about fifteen minutes. Once it’s been kneaded, it needs a ten minute rest.Hot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns

Next up, fold in the raisins and spices. Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness, scatter some warmly-spiced sugar and plump raisins over the top, and fold it in thirds. Repeat this twice before gathering the ends and placing the dough in an oiled bowl for an hour-long rise.Hot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns

When the hour is up, punch down the dough. Pull off golf ball-sized hunks and form them into boules by tucking under the scraggly ends. It’s okay if they’re not all perfect—my motor skills leave something to be desired, so mine are always a little, uh, rustic. After you’ve formed all the buns, give them another hour-long rise. This recipe isn’t quick, but I promise you that the results are worth the wait!Hot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns

After the second rise, give the buns a brush with an egg yolk glaze and pop them in the oven for twenty minutes. They’ll be glossy and golden when they’re done.Hot Cross Buns

Let the buns cool while you prepare a simple icing. It seems antithetical to cool something with “hot” in its name, but it’s mandatory if you want the icing to stick properly. If you want warm Hot Cross Buns, there are plenty of recipes online that involve crosses made out of flour paste that are put on before baking. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take icing over flour paste anytime.Hot Cross Buns

Once the buns are cool, pipe on the icing. This is the easiest piping you will ever do, I promise. Let the icing set for a few minutes before serving.Hot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns

Whether you’re a Hot Cross Bun connoisseur or this is your first time having one, you’ll love this take on the classic festive treat. They’re soft and buttery with the perfect amounts of warm spice and dried fruit, and the icing takes them from being everyday buns to a memorable yearly tradition. Make a batch to share this week!Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
makes 15 buns

1 cup raisins (or currants), not packed
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons orange zest, from about 1/2 medium orange
6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Glaze:
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk

Icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
5 teaspoons whole milk

Combine raisins and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 60-90 seconds, or until hot. Set aside to cool a bit while you prepare the dough.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour and bread flour. Whisk in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, allspice, orange zest, 3 tablespoons sugar, and salt. Add instant yeast and baking powder.

Combine whole milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Let sit, swirling occasionally, until hot to the touch (about 115F). Pour into dry ingredients and fold together with a silicone spatula. Fold in beaten eggs.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and cardamom. Drain water from raisins. Grease a medium mixing bowl with oil.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a long oval that is 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle with about 1/3 of the sugar mixture and about 1/3 of the raisins. Fold in thirds and turn 45 degrees. Re-roll and repeat sprinkling processes two more times. Tuck loose ends under to form a ball/boule shape. Place in oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour. Dough will be puffy, but may not fully double in size.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

When an hour is up, peel off plastic and punch down dough. Lightly grease your palms. Pull off pieces of dough that are slightly larger than a golf ball. Tuck loose ends under to shape into buns. Place 1-2 inches apart on prepared pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375F. Make glaze by whisking egg yolk and milk together in a small bowl.

Remove plastic wrap from pan. Gently brush glaze over buns. Bake 20-22 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Make icing. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar and milk until smooth. It should be very thick and pipeable. Transfer to a zip-top bag and snip off a very small corner. Pipe a simple cross onto each bun. Let icing set for about 15 minutes before serving. Icing will fully set after several hours.

Hot Cross Buns are best the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.

Hot Cross Buns