For some reason or another, every time somebody mentions hot cross buns, I think of the song we had to memorize in third grade. I believe it was part of a new music teaching system to get us to learn how to play an instrument well instead of staring off cluelessly into space. So, everyone had to learn how to play the recorder. The way they did it was with books and little strips of cloth modeled after the martial arts system. The highest one was, of course, a black belt, and the song that you had to be able to play was called “hot cross buns.”
I didn’t realize until this year that “hot cross buns” was the name of a roll commonly eaten during Good Friday.
A few days ago, titles involving ‘easter’ started appearing. It totally took me by shock since Easter is usually in April, but there’s still snow falling outside my window. It descends as easily as it does in January, yet it’s the end of March.
So, I guess it’s absolutely understandable I want something warm and toasty to eat as a snack after I arrive at home from school. These have been my rolls of choice so far… They’re so soft and tender, yet wonderfully filling and pleasant because of all the spices! (Plus I get to say that I baked something seasonal/themed)!
Oh and chai? Chai is an Indian tea like beverage that is also spiced and warm! It pairs real nicely with these buns, plus it makes them awesome (not to say that these buns aren’t without it!).
Tea with your breakfast? Nah, there’s tea already in it! (Although, there’s no reason not to drink more tea with it).
-If you don’t want to make chai/you don’t have the spices, you can just omit the first step and sub the same amount of water (that is, 1/2 cup).
-Pumpkin pie spice? Yes, of course! It doesn’t make the buns taste like pumpkin if that’s what you’re wondering. I used it because it is so much easier than buying 5 different spices and then only using a little bit. Of course, you can always make your own by searching up a pumpkin pie spice recipe.
In a saucepan, combine the water, tea leaves, cardamon, star anise, and the 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. Boil for 5 minutes. Strain.
In a large mixing bowl, add in 1/2 cup of the tea mixture with the milk. The mixture should be warm to the touch. If it isn't, heat it up in the microwave or let it cool until it's warm to the touch.
Sprinkle on the yeast and mix in the flour. Let it rise for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile in a separate bowl, combine the rest of the tea mixture and the raisins. When the dough is done rising, drain the raisins.
To the risen dough, add the rest of the dough ingredients (including the soaked raisins). Knead for 5-10 minutes, or until a smooth dough is formed. It should be slightly tacky but firm.
Let rise for 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each one into a roll shape.
Score a cross on each one with a knife.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover the scored rolls and let rise for 30 minutes.
Combine the cross ingredients and spoon into a plastic bag.
Brush the risen rolls with milk.
Cut off the corner and pipe the paste onto the risen rolls.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Brush on warmed syrup or jam.