Hot Cross Buns Recipe

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Retro Recipes from the '50s and '60sHot Cross Buns were a staple for my mom. The family-owned corner bakery was run by a gregarious baker who would sneak in an extra bun when my mom got a few for the family.

  • Yield: 15 buns
  • Preparation Time: 45 Minutes


  • 1½ cups whole milk, lukewarm
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dried mixed fruits
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons water
How to Make It
    For the buns
  1. In a small bowl, combine the milk, granulated sugar, and yeast. Stir until combined and let rest for 15 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together 4 cups of the flour, the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom until combined. Mix in the eggs and butter.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture over the flour. Switch to the dough hook attachment and mix for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the dried fruit and orange zest and mix for another minute. Add more flour if the dough is wet. It should be soft and elastic.
  4. Coat a large bowl with the vegetable oil, place the dough in the bowl, and roll it so all sides are coated with a bit of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Divide the dough into 15 pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a bun and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes, until the buns have doubled. Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. For the syrup
  8. In a small saucepan, combine a ¼ cup of water and the granulated sugar and bring to a boil over low heat. Let it boil for a few minutes until the syrup has thickened. Remove from the heat and brush the tops with the syrup.
  9. For the icing
  10. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and water until a creamy consistency is achieved. Transfer the icing to a piping bag and pipe an “X” over each bun. Serve.

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