Hot Cross Buns For Easter

How to make hot cross buns

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Sweet Brioche dough chock full of golden raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamon, rolled into 12 rolls. Melted apricot jam is brushed on the baked rolls then icing piped crosses are added after baking and cooling.




3 cups all purpose flour + 1 cup more if needed

5 teaspoons active dry yeast or 2 packets

1/2 cup sugar

11/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cardamon

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons lemon or orange zest

1 cup whole milk, heat to 105-110 F

2 eggs + 1 yolk-room temperature

11/2 teaspoons vanilla

2/3 cup unsalted butter cut into 1/2” cubes. room temperature

For the Buns after rolling out dough

11/4 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup orange juice or water

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Egg Wash

1 egg plus leftover egg white-no water in this wash- but strain the egg mixture

4 tablespoons apricot jam, melted

Icing Cross

11/2 cups confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest-optional

1 teaspoon lemon or vanilla extract


Sort golden raisins and remove dark or green looking raisins, use only the golden or orange colored raisins in these rolls. Measure out 1-1/4 cups.  In small microwave safe bowl add golden raisins with 1/3 cup juice or water.  Microwave 25 seconds then cover with paper towel and let sit for 60 minutes to plump up the fruit. Drain fruit and pat dry with paper towel. Add vanilla. stir to coat, sit aside. Fruit will be added after the dough has risen and ready to shape into rolls

Making Brioche Sweet Dough

  1. Place 2-1/2 cups flour and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix about 10 seconds to blend. Add sugar, spices, salt, zest, mix to blend.
  2. Warm whole milk in saucepan or microwave to 105-110 degrees. Do not boil. Add vanilla and milk to dry ingredients in mixing bowl, mix.  Add room temperature eggs to dough, mix on low speed 4 minutes.  Add additional 2 tablespoons of flour if dough is not coming together.  Dough should be sticky. Continue to mix on low speed for 30 minutes.
  3. Dough should stick to sides of the bowl.  Add butter a few pieces at at time, before adding additional butter. Continue to mix 10 minutes.  Remove dough from bowl.
  4. Coat large mixing bowl with softened butter. Put dough in the bowl, turn to coat dough with butter. Cover with plastic wrap or tea towel, allow to rise at room temperature until double in size, about 60-90 minutes. 

Shaping the Rolls

Turn out dough on floured surface adding additional flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pat down dough into a rectangular shape. Add reserved soaked raisins over dough, knead to distribute evenly. Dough will be sticky. Pat dough into rectangle again.

Stretch right side of dough out and fold over one third of the dough, repeat with other side, like folding a letter. Repeat the process but work from top to bottom. Turn dough over, repeat the letter folding process one more time, after last fold, cover dough with tea towel and let rest 45 minutes.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, spray again. Divide risen dough into 12 equal portions, roll pieces of dough in a circular motion to get a tight roll.  Remove any exposed raisins from roll to prevent burning. Transfer to baking sheet spacing rolls 2″ apart. Cover with plastic wrap let rise 45 minutes or until doubled. 

Preheat over to 375F. Remove plastic wrap, brush tops with beaten egg wash.

Bake rolls at 375F until golden brown about 25 minutes. 

While rolls are warm, glaze with melted apricot jam.

Make Icing: Mix all ingredients a small bowl, icing should be thick but pipe-able. Fill disposable piping bag fitted with #5 round tip or place in ziplock bag, clip one end and pipe crosses over the tops of cooled dinner rolls.

Serve warm.



Recipe is long but delicious.  Plan ahead when making these rolls.

Recipe can be doubled- Might as well if you are going to this much effort. 🙂

Rolls can be baked ahead and frozen without the icing and apricot glaze. Glaze and frost after warming in oven and just before serving.

Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery