It is amazing how fast our Spring Break has passed. It is already Friday, and the next couple of weeks promise to bring lots of work, final papers, and exams, and then not too long after that, graduation.
I told my husband just last night that, although I am thankful for the week-long break, true rest will not come until Summer is here (and it is, indeed, just around the corner). Spring Break is nice, but there still remains so much to be done, most of which is written down on a neglected to-do list for this week.
Instead of focusing on that homework and other household chores, I trekked across New York City with friends on Monday, spent the day shopping on Wednesday, had a Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Night with some of my favorite girl friends on Thursday, and have spent much time resting.
Not only is it a wonderful week to rest (and ignore that to-do list and coming deadlines), but it is also Holy Week and a great time to prepare for Easter. I love the traditions that are reminders of what this week means. Today is Good Friday, and traditionally, Hot Cross Buns are made and eaten on Good Friday as a reminder of Christ's death on the cross. While I did not grow up eating these delicious buns, they have become a Good Friday tradition for us over the past few years, and I have adapted this sweet roll recipe to our liking. They are sweet and tender and full of fruit, while not being overly dessert-like. While these rolls are traditional for Good Friday, they can also be enjoyed for Easter breakfast or brunch.
Hot Cross Buns
Adapted from Allrecipes
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water (110-120 degrees)
1 tablespoon honey
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, cherries, currants, cranberries) or candied citrus peel, chopped
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, water and honey. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, until bubbly.
Add 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar, spices, milk, butter and 1 egg to the bowl. Using a dough hook, mix for 1 minute on medium speed, until well combined. Add the remaining flour and mix for 8 minutes on medium. Add the fruit and mix until well dispersed.
Transfer the dough to a well-greased bowl; turn to coat the top. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size. Punch down the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 portions. Shape into rolls and place in a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Before baking, remove the rolls from the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut crosses into the buns. Brush with the egg and cream mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the buns are golden.
Combine the powdered sugar, milk, and extract in a small bowl. Transfer to a small bag and snip the corner of the bag. Pipe a cross on each bun with the icing.