Quality Control: Healthier Hot Cross Buns
I made a batch of my hot cross buns today, adding 1/4 cup of chopped apricots for some fruity variety. I used my winning recipe, posted here and below.
The dough was stickier than I remember it being last year, but perhaps that was due to the humidity we’ve had recently. “March winds and April showers” is no cliche around here.
I added 3 TBS extra flour as it mixed in the bread machine, in order for it to become a ball, rather than a shapeless mass. Even so, when I pulled the dough out to form balls and place them on cookie sheets, the dough stuck to my hands.
But I dampened my hands and proceeded with the recipe. No worries, Mite! The finished buns were fragrant and moist, studded with chewy bits of cranberry, raisin, ginger, and apricot.
I used orange juice in the icing, since the orange that I had taken the zest from for the recipe was now naked and staring at me. But I think it makes the icing just a tad too sweet. Better to stick with the lemon juice that the recipe calls for. The tang of the lemon provides a nice balance with the sugar in the icing.
When my omnivore father took a bite, he remarked, “Mmm, better than the ones I bought from the store.”
“Of course!” I replied. “You can’t even compare them. These are lower in fat and have whole wheat flour, flaxseed, soymilk, and lots of fruits. And they are much more moist and fresher tasting.”
Hot Cross Buns
1-1/2 cups warm soymilk
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, softened (or substitute a vegan margarine)
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons grated lemon or lime peel
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached flour
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast (or 2-1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
Place all dough ingredients in a bread machine. Select the dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed).
When the dough is ready, use moistened hands (if the dough is sticky) to divide into 16 portions. Shape each into a ball. Place 2 inches apart on two baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks.
Combine the icing ingredients; pipe an “X” on each bun. Or dip the tops in the icing, or smear it on. Then you’ll have to call them “Hot Smeared Buns.”
Doesn’t have quite the ring to it, though, huh? Oh well. They’re still addictively tasty.