Hot Cross Buns- A Catholic Tradition

For my birthday last year I was gifted a copy of Thomas Keller’s cookbook Bouchon Bakery.  Oh how I love all things baking!  As the months went by I read the mouthwatering recipes with an awestruck wonder.  But would I ever be brave enough to attempt to make any of these concoctions?  As if fate was giving me that ever-appreciated push, I came across his recipe for hot cross buns about two weeks before Easter and decided the time was now.  So I tied on my apron, pulled my hair back, and plunged into the world of French baking.

First, I gathered my ingredients.


Instead of regular vanilla, this recipe called for vanilla paste.  I couldn’t find it in my local grocer so I had to order it from Amazon.  It smells like I hope heaven smells.  And I had to omit the cardamom from the icing.  I never use the spice and I couldn’t justify spending $10 on a bottle.

This cookbook is so European.  The ingredients are measured in grams.  I was very glad to have this food scale.  Now I know about 3 eggs equal 186 grams.


The dough had to mix for 30 minutes.  I had to move my stand mixer to Caleb’s office because the noise was bothering the kids.


Adding the vanilla paste to the raisins.


Kneading the dough.  You knead, wait, knead, wait, knead, wait, etc.  Takes awhile.


After you’ve let the dough rise its time to cut up the dough and shape them into balls.  I should have taken more care to cut them more evenly and shaped them a little smoother.  They didn’t look as pretty as the pictures in my book.


The next step is called proofing!  You put a cardboard box over the pan of dough and let it rise again.


Ready to go in the oven!


And 17 to 22 minutes later, they were done!


Last step was the icing.  I made the mistake of not warming the milk before I added it to the powdered sugar.  The result was cold icing that was as hard as a rock.  Piping it onto the rolls was almost impossible.  Won’t make that mistake again!


The finished product.  I give myself a B-.  Caleb made the observation that the basic dough recipe would make fine cinnamon rolls.  Next time I have a relatively free weekend I’ll give that a try.


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