» Hot Cross Buns Aren’t Just for Good Friday

Hot Cross Buns Aren’t Just for Good Friday

posted in: Cooking with Catholic Kids | 0 |
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by Jerry Windley-Daoust

On Saturdays, I take two of my kids to piano lessons at Steve Nagel’s house, and often stay to chat while the kids have their lessons with his granddaughter. (Steve is the former editor in chief at Saint Mary’s Press, and designs many of our books, among other things here at Peanut Butter & Grace.) Being foodies, Steve and his wife often have something delicious to share with the piano students after their lessons…and sometimes their parents, if they’re lucky.

Last Saturday as I sat down at the Nagel’s big kitchen table, Steve slid a plate of freshly made hot cross buns toward me.

Notice how there are only two left in the picture for this recipe? We didn’t start with two. (In my defense, my kids helped.) They were sooo good, I persuaded Steve’s wife, Barb, to share her recipe so I could crash Cooking with Catholic Kids. You can be sure we’ll be cooking these spicy buns sometime this Easter weekend.

As we were sampling the buns, I wondered out loud why they’d be served on Good Friday, a day when we’re supposed to be fasting, for heaven’s sake! Somehow a spicy, sweet bun with white frosting seems a little not in keeping with the spirit of the day, kind of like having lobster on Lenten Fridays because it’s “fish.”

Turns out I’m not the first one to wonder about this, and Catholic Cuisine went to the trouble of researching the question. Their theory, which seems pretty plausible to me, is that the buns were originally just scored with a cross, and that the frosting was added only recently.

But even if you decide to refrain from indulging in a sugary treat on Good Friday, it’s very traditionally to make and eat sweet breads throughout the Easter season, and this surely qualifies. So I say let’s recast hot cross buns as an Easter treat! Who’s with me?

Print Recipe
Hot Cross Buns
Yummy, spicy hot cross buns are simple to make with your kids, and traditional to eat on Good Friday...although it is also traditional to eat sweet breads throughout the season of Easter.
Cuisine Breads
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
buns maximum
Ingredients
Cuisine Breads
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
buns maximum
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Dissolve 2 Tbsp yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let rest until bubbly.
  2. Heat together 1 cup milk and 1 cup butter. (I just pop it into the microwave.) Add 1 cup sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves into the milk/butter mixture, and add the dissolved yeast.
  3. Add 2 or 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth.
  4. Add 6 eggs (beaten), 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Add about 5 more cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups of raisins. When you cannot stir it anymore, turn it out on a floured counter and knead it until fairly smooth and not sticky.
  5. Turn the dough into a buttered bowl and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
  6. Punch down and divide the dough into three balls: each ball should make 10 to 12 buns. Shape into round buns and place on a greased cookie sheet, and again let them rise until doubled. Optional: Score the buns with a cross using a very sharp knife.
  7. Bake at 350° F for 15 minutes.
  8. When the buns are cool, frost with a simple confectioner's sugar and milk frosting.
Recipe Notes

Barb Nagel, who provided this recipe, notes: "I’ve never used a bread machine, so these directions are the way that I’ve made hot cross buns every Lent for the past 57 years! I’m sure the directions can be modernized by the next generation making them!"

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