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Cinnamon-Raisin Pull-apart Hot Cross Buns

pull apart hot cross buns 2

Over the past week or so, a half dozen people have said to me – mostly in passing – please tell me you have a hot cross bun recipe! Which makes me partly wonder why there’s such desperation for a good recipe, and whether or not people actually do make them from scratch, or just like the idea of making their own. A hot cross bun will always in my mind be cinnamon-heavy and come from a bag, with a soft, squishy supermarket texture and rubbery not-really-icing crosses, that are only really worth eating when toasted and heavily buttered. I’ve made a few good batches in the past, but nothing worthy of looking forward to year after year.

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Despite their carbiness and spices and dried fruit, most hot cross buns do not live up to their potential. (Mostly – no offense to anyone’s buns.) But a cinnamon-raisin bun should be delicious.

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And so I thought it would be a good idea to take a new stab at the hot cross bun, to relieve it of its packaged grocery-store image, even free it (somewhat) from its traditional bun form. Maybe get it together with a cinnamon bun and see what happens. Maybe douse small wads of dough in cinnamon-sugar and bake them cuddled together in a muffin cup so that you can pull the pieces apart and eat them with your fingers, your other hand wrapped around a steaming coffee whilst the kids run around the living room searching for Peeps?

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It seemed like a good idea.

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The dough itself is loaded with raisins and candied citrus peel – or citron – I like this better than the bits of glacé mix, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before is often made of brightly coloured rutabaga. Any dried fruit goes – chopped dried apricots, cherries, cranberries – you could scatter them between the balls of dough as you pile them, but I kneaded them in to protect them from the heat of the oven. (Raisins don’t like to get burnt.)

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As soon as they come out, a bit of sugar stirred into a bit of water and brushed overtop gives them a nice shine. Don’t let the length of the recipe intimidate you – it’s all easy stuff.

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And the glaze! You can drizzle it (or squeeze it out of a zip-lock baggie) into crosses if you like – or go all Jackson Pollock on your buns. This is my favourite part – everything looks better spattered in icing. (Except me.)

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And it won’t be weird at all to keep on making these even when it doesn’t happen to be Easter. If you’re not a fan of candied citron, stick with raisins. Or use orange zest and swap the dried fruit for chunks of dark chocolate, then use OJ in the drizzle. Or make them with dark chocolate and dried cherries, with vanilla in the drizzle. See? Hot cross buns have potential.

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Because the best part about Easter weekend is lounging with something warm and baked while watching the cousins’ Easter egg hunger games.

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Because these were inspired by this recipe, the dough has instant potato flakes in it, which I only happened to have as a prop for a food styling gig. (I knew we may need some quick mashed potatoes on the set.) I’m quite certain they’d work as well without – they didn’t make a noticeable difference.

Cinnamon-Raisin Hot Cross Pull-apart Buns

AuthorJulie

Dough
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 Tbsp. sugar (white or brown)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup instant potato flakes (optional)
1 large egg
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup raisins (dark, golden or both)
1/3 cup candied citron (optional)
Glaze
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. water
Sugar + drizzle
1/3 cup sugar
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp. milk or cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla (optional)

1

To make the dough, put the warm milk and water in a large bowl, and sprinkle a pinch of the sugar and all of the yeast overtop; let sit for 5 minutes, until it gets foamy. Add the flour, remaining sugar, potato flakes, egg, butter and salt and blend until you have a sticky dough; add the raisins and candied citron and knead (in your stand mixer with a dough hook or on a lightly floured countertop) until smooth and elastic. It should be slightly tacky. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and let sit for an hour, until doubled in bulk.

2

Punch down the dough and divide it into 12 pieces - I find this easiest to do by cutting it in half, then each half in half, then each piece in three. Then take each piece and cut it into about 6 pieces - this is easy to do with a dough scraper/bench knife, and they don't all have to be equal.

3

Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners and spray the papers with nonstick spray. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and roll each piece of dough in it to coat, then place in the tins - so you'll have about 6 pieces in each tin. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar overtop. Cover loosely with a tea towel and let sit for another hour. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

4

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. In a small dish, stir together the sugar and water and brush/dab over the tops of the buns while they're still warm. Stir together the icing sugar and milk or cream and drizzle over the cooled buns.

Category,

Ingredients

Dough
 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
 1/2 cup lukewarm water
 3 Tbsp. sugar (white or brown)
 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
 3 cups all-purpose flour
 1/4 cup instant potato flakes (optional)
 1 large egg
 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
 1 tsp. salt
 1/2 cup raisins (dark, golden or both)
 1/3 cup candied citron (optional)
Glaze
 2 Tbsp. sugar
 1 Tbsp. water
Sugar + drizzle
 1/3 cup sugar
 1-2 tsp. cinnamon
 1/2 cup icing sugar
 1 Tbsp. milk or cream
 1/4 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Directions

1

To make the dough, put the warm milk and water in a large bowl, and sprinkle a pinch of the sugar and all of the yeast overtop; let sit for 5 minutes, until it gets foamy. Add the flour, remaining sugar, potato flakes, egg, butter and salt and blend until you have a sticky dough; add the raisins and candied citron and knead (in your stand mixer with a dough hook or on a lightly floured countertop) until smooth and elastic. It should be slightly tacky. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and let sit for an hour, until doubled in bulk.

2

Punch down the dough and divide it into 12 pieces - I find this easiest to do by cutting it in half, then each half in half, then each piece in three. Then take each piece and cut it into about 6 pieces - this is easy to do with a dough scraper/bench knife, and they don't all have to be equal.

3

Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners and spray the papers with nonstick spray. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and roll each piece of dough in it to coat, then place in the tins - so you'll have about 6 pieces in each tin. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar overtop. Cover loosely with a tea towel and let sit for another hour. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

4

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. In a small dish, stir together the sugar and water and brush/dab over the tops of the buns while they're still warm. Stir together the icing sugar and milk or cream and drizzle over the cooled buns.

Cinnamon-Raisin Hot Cross Pull-apart Buns
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24 comments on “Cinnamon-Raisin Pull-apart Hot Cross Buns

  1. Kristin
    April 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Yum, thank you! Yesterday actually I was wondering if I could find a good recipe for hot cross buns – no idea why. Glad I found these!

  2. Jo-Anna
    April 16, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Wow do these look amazing! I’m adding them to my Easter weekend baking! YUM!

  3. Julie
    April 16, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Thanks guys! Hope you like them!

  4. Lorraine
    April 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks Julie. I was just coming to your page to see if you had a hot cross recipe, as like you I’ve never been overjoyed with the ones I’ve tried before, and you always have such great recipes and ideas. Will definitely try these instead this weekend. Did you use 1/4 cup extra flour instead of potato flakes?

  5. Jules @ WolfItDown
    April 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I knew opening this post wasn’t a good idea – now I’m silly for hot cross buns! And not the ones with the not-really-icing crosses (I totally see that, and have often pondered upon the meaning of them…just…why?! Icing is the easiest thing to make!).

    I simply adore your take on these little things, and…Oooft I’m just so sad I’m already stuffed with dinner, because these look divine! I can only imagine the feeling of tearing off the little bits of baked dough, packed full of raisins and cinnamon, mmm ^ ^

  6. Erica B.
    April 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    These look fantastic Julie! We’re having the cousins over for easter brunch, these are definitely going on the menu.

  7. Joanne
    April 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Great post Julie–love your word “carbiness”. Reminds me of “crabbiness”–what I feel when I can’t have a Thermomix!

  8. Amy
    April 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Ok, nobody bite my head off for asking…but I’m hosting Easter for my husband’s side of the family (I’m Jewish)… I’d love to do something special and surprise my mother in law with hot cross bums (never had them, but they look amazing!)… I don’t think I will be able to fit this in, so is there any short cut I can use like one of the tube doughs?

  9. Fiona
    April 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I knew you wouldn’t let me down.

    Look what I’m making tomorrow!

  10. Medeja
    April 17, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Interesting way of making hot cross buns! I have never tries making them, but yours look so cute and tempting!

  11. Sarah
    April 17, 2014 at 10:23 am

    These look great! Do you have any suggestions on how to make them part way the night before and just finish them in the morning? I’d love to have them warm from the oven at breakfast on the weekend but don’t want to get up that early. Could the second rise happen overnight in the fridge?

  12. Julie
    April 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Lorraine – I actually used the potato flakes because I happened to have some, but I’d just leave them out.. add a bit more flour if you find the dough sticky.

    Amy – I don’t see why not! it would certainly streamline the process! Just sprinkle the raisins in between the balls of dough as you layer them.

    Sarah – exactly! put them in the fridge overnight for the second rise – it’ll slow things down, so you’ll only have to pull them out and sit them on the counter to warm up a bit while you preheat the oven, then bake.

  13. Maureen Wielinga
    April 20, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I made these on Easter morning and we agree with you Julie, they are great in their made over version. Thanks for sharing, oh, Happy Easter too!

  14. Heather
    April 21, 2014 at 7:06 am

    I just read this and thought “oh crap! I forgot to serve the buns at dinner last night!” Oh well, no one seemed to notice! Lol!

  15. Noemie
    April 21, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    ADDICTIVE!

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  17. Dawna
    April 4, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    I’ve never made bread … or anything with yeast! These sounded ‘relatively’ easy, so I thought I’d try them. I’m already in trouble … the recipe calls for 3Tbsp of sugar, but says to sprinkle only a “pinch’ of the sugar with the yeast and milk/water. What do I do with the rest of the sugar? It may seem obvious to those who have done this before … but not me 🙁 Help!! I realize there is more sugar in the cinnamon mix and the glaze, etc. but there are separate amounts for that.

  18. gail
    April 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I’m going to play with this recipe…it has lots of potential. My idea is to make them a la Monkey bread method roll the pieces in cinnamon sugar and bake them in a bread pan so left overs can be toasted the next day for breakfast. Of course there may not actually be any leftovers!

    • Julie
      April 13, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      What a great idea!

  19. Lori F
    April 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Ditto Dawna’s comment above. Julie – your instructions are UNCLEAR on the sugar. Good recipe writing demands that you identify which amount of sugar you want us to use in which part of the recipe. I’m an experienced baker and have assumed that I am to sprinkle a small amount of the 3T of sugar called for in the dough part of the recipe into the lukewarm milk and water with the yeast to proof, them I’ve added the remainder of the 3T to the dough mix with flour, salt, egg, etc. Dough is rising now – not a big deal but the your directions need an edit IMO.

    • Julie
      April 24, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Lori – will give it an edit.

      • Lori F
        April 25, 2017 at 12:56 pm

        Julie – The buns turned out just fine! In fact, they were delicious and ridiculously easy. It was all we could do not to eat the entire dozen… I love your blog .

      • Julie
        April 25, 2017 at 6:43 pm

        So glad to hear it!

  20. Alicia
    March 30, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    It’s Good Friday so I made these for this afternoon. They were a hit! My kids all agreed this is a recipe that needs to be copied out for my recipe box. Thanks, Julie!

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