I’m thinking about buying Maeve a pony. After all, she’s 4 months old now. I cannot imagine a better way to celebrate this milestone and, of course, Easter. Can someone with pony knowledge point me in the direction of a person who can customize a tiny saddle? Pink leather, possibly?
Are you gasping for breath already?
I’m not serious, of course. I just wanted to get your attention and to give you a bit of a laugh. Did it work? I hope it did because I can’t deliver the good news for which we all hoped. We didn’t win the video contest.
Maeve was briefly upset, but, like most of her moods, the sentiment was fleeting.
She is much better now and so am I. I consider the whole thing a success, really. I heard from many readers who were previously watching from the sidelines. I heard from longtime readers who rallied around us with heartwarming loyalty. And, to my delight, many of you discovered this humble blog for the first time as a result of the contest.
I want to thank you all. You mean a great deal to me. It’s because of you we keep on plugging away at this. It’s because of you that I rise to the challenge of cooking when I’m covered in drool and can barely function.
I made you a sweet holiday breakfast as a way of saying thanks.
It was sort of a big deal for me. I don’t cook a lot in the mornings these days, but I long to do so. I miss breakfast. I really do. A good breakfast is glorious, inspiring, and possibly life-changing. I know that sounds dramatic, but I’m willing to bet most historically wondrous feats of skill and intellect were not performed on a granola bar washed down with a weak cup of coffee. A hearty breakfast does, in fact, make the weak great. That being said, I am quite sorry to report my morning meals of late do not deserve this lofty title. They are fillers, food eaten rapidly with blurry eyes and tired jaws. It might be a bowl of cereal or a piece of toast smeared with peanut butter I scraped out of a nearly empty jar. There is nothing memorable about these meals. They are desperate moments borne of long nights of breastfeeding.
Most people think I am managing well. I don’t, after all, seem so tired during the day. We get out of the house daily. We go to the park, the pool, and walk endlessly. And, on the good days, I write in those quiet moments stolen during nap time. The mornings, however, are difficult. I can’t lie. My little girl is an early riser. And while I used to consider myself as such, I find this is no longer true. I am groggy. I am gray. It is not a state conducive to culinary endeavors of any complexity.
I am telling all of you about this because I want to change. I want to be a morning person again. So, I thank you again for giving me the motivation to celebrate the early hours of the day with hot cross buns.
Here are your sweet buns. You deserve them. Whether or not it’s Easter morning, hot cross buns are a lovely treat on any day of the week. You can certainly forgo the glaze cross on top. To make life even easier than that, you can also prepare the dough the night before. Just leave it in the refrigerator until you are ready for the first rise. These buns aren’t heavy or dry like scones. They’re light, spongey, and absolutely irresistible when piping hot and smeared with a decent chunk of butter.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. Eat your sweet breakfast, dear people. Greatness awaits you.
Hot Cross Buns
1 cup warm whole milk (105°–115°F.)
two 1/4-ounce packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup smooth apricot jam
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon nonfat milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.
Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cut butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Lightly beat 1 whole egg with egg yolk. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, and raisins. Stir mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and with floured hands knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Butter 2 large baking sheets.
On a floured surface with floured hands knead dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
While buns are rising, place apricot jam in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until heated through.
Bake buns in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly. Brush wam jam over the tops of the buns.
Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and nonfat milk in a small bowl. Spoon over the buns in the shape of a cross.
Serve buns warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Gourmet.