I love the warm spicy smell of them, warm from the oven, split and spread with lashings of butter and washed down with a cup of tea. Or toasted for breakfast the next day. They are simple to make, the only time consuming part being the dough rising. I just put sultanas in mine because I am not a fan of mixed peel, but you can add any dried fruit or mixture of fruits that you like.
I just throw everything into my Kitchenaid and let the dough hook do the hard work. When they dough looks smooth and elastic, leave the dough in the bowl (covered in clingfilm) in a warm place for an hour or so until it has doubled in size. After this first rising, punch the dough down and divide into 8-10 pieces, shape into balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover the buns with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place again for 30-40 mins to rise for a second time (Or you can at this stage leave them overnight in a fridge on the baking tray, take them out the next morning and leave in a warm place for 30-40 mins)
Before baking, the only 'fiddly bit' is doing the crosses. Mash about a tablespoon of soft butter or margarine into 2 tablespoons of plain flour with a fork and mix to a soft pipe-able dough with cold water. Put this dough into the corner of a plastic sandwich bag, snip the corner of the bag with a scissors and use it like a piping bag to make a cross on each bun. You can of course use a proper piping bag and plain writing nozzle for this but that would make more washing up!
Bake the buns at 180C for 20-25 mins until nicely browned. While they are still warm out of the oven, brush them with the milk and sugar glaze. Then put on the kettle and enjoy!
Hot Cross Bun Recipe:
210ml warm milk (30 secs in the microwave)
450g Strong White Flour
1 sachet easy-blend yeast
50g soft butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 handfuls sultanas (or any other dried fruit)
Place all of the above into a food mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on a low speed for 7-10 minutes until the dough looks smooth and elastic. Follow directions as above.
Put about 200ml of milk in a saucepan and add 2 heaped tablespoons of sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, but dont let the milk boil. Brush over the hot buns as soon as they come out of the oven.