These have got to be the softest and fluffiest rolls I've made in a while.
These were made more out of an excuse to practice making bread rather than because Easter is so soon this year—March 27! Easter has never been a big holiday in my family but I've always loved the look of Hot Cross Buns.
There's only been one other time, I've attempted to make Hot Cross Buns. Like these English Muffins (still working on them, though), I first attempted to make Hot Cross Buns in my beginning days of making bread. They turned out dense and doughy because I had difficulties working with the dough. It was terribly sticky and my solution was to put in more flour which is of course why they turned out so dense.
This time, I thought I was going down the same path again, but they were a huge success. Best, straight out of the oven and piping hot.
I'm not the biggest fan of raisins or currants so I put dried cranberries in these buns instead. Soaking them in hot water makes them plump and juicy but you have to dry them thoroughly to ensure that the dough does not receive any more additional moisture than it needs.
For the crosses, I went plain and simple with a flour and water paste. There are other ways to make the crosses such as with lemon curd or frosting but I like how these sink into the dough. They don't add much taste wise but I like how the subtle division into four quadrants makes the overall look of the bun pop.
I'm making these again for Easter so I think I'll pizazz them up a bit with more cranberries and a sweeter cross. But, as is, they are still really, really delicious.
Eating warm buns with melted butter is a guilty pleasure. A double guilty pleasure if it's with cream cheese.
Cranberry Hot Cross Buns
Slightly Adapted from the Hot Cross Buns from Mary's Bread Basket and Soup Kettle
Yields: 16 buns // Active Time: 1 hour // Inactive Time: 3 hours