I cannot believe it has been 17 years since that horrible day in New York City. It feels like it just happened. I just want to use my little corner of the internet to reach out and send prayers and love to the families directly impacted by that morbid incident. It did not even feel like real life happening, watching the coverage on the TV.
I still remember where I was. I was in sixth grade. JEB Stuart middle school, here in Jacksonville FL. I was actually late to my home-room class that day. I walked in late expecting to have my teacher pick on me or bring attention to it. Instead, I walked in and everyone was separated in their own cliques, talking in hushed voices and looking at the TV in the upper corner of the room every so often. Our teacher was in the back of the classroom at her desk talking with two other teachers and she seemed really stressed out. I figured we were just going to have a chill day, so I slid into my desk and put my stuff down and kept to myself like I usually did.
I could hear the TV so I glanced up at it and saw a news station was on, showing coverage of these buildings with smoke and flames billowing out. I actually thought it was a movie or something and didn’t pay much attention to it. It took a few minutes for me to actually realize it was real-time and it was happening in our country. I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. As a sixth grader, you still don’t really know what to do with all that emotion and confusion. I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel about it. I didn’t know if I was supposed to talk about it or not. It was such a foggy day after that point. I remember coming home and my mom just giving us all hugs and comforting us. Everyone was shook.
I don’t mean to have such a ‘down’ post for today but I haven’t talked about that day in so long. I felt like I needed to speak that today. Take today to hug on everyone you care about. You never know what moment will be your last on this earth. Enjoy every bit of it and suck up all the love and affection you can from those you love. 💕
Moving on to this recipe for my cookbook. Today is actually the National Day in recognition of Hot Cross Buns. If you don’t know much about them, they are a spiced bread roll with either raisins or currants in them and they are ‘decorated’ or adorned with a cross on the top. This is kind of a sweet recipe to post for today, if you are spiritual at all. There are superstitions surrounding this bun, ranging from the bun having medicinal qualities – you feed a bun to someone who is sick and they recover quickly – to protecting your kitchen from fire or any bread recipes not turning out right. I hope you make this recipe and I hope it brings you all good things for the next year. Be sure to replace the bun each year. 🍀
How to make Hot Cross Buns:
Note: adapted from the recipe at Foodness Gracious. Follow him here: https://foodnessgracious.com/traditional-hot-cross-buns/
I started off by adding all the first 10 ingredients from the ingredients list into my stand mixer bowl. Mr. Paul Hollywood would be dumbfounded if he saw me using just plain old all-purpose flour for this bread recipe. I stirred it together to get the raisins mixed in real good with the flour. Next time I make this recipe, I will be leaving the raisins out of this step and putting them in after the kneading is done as I ended up mashing some of them up real good in the kneading process. Sorry raisins!
I used more butter than the original recipe I adapted from and used less milk. The reason for this is that I am using almond milk which has less fat in it than dairy milk. I wanted to use more fat from the butter as a liquid here. So add your butter and milk to a saucepan and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is just warm enough to where you can put your finger in and leave for several seconds without it burning.
Add the vanilla extract to your beaten eggs. Pour your butter mixture into your mixing bowl, then add the eggs. Mix with a dough hook for about 10 minutes. You’re going to want to watch for the mixture to get stretchy and pull away from the sides of the bowl. It will start to form a ball on the dough hook.
Grab a separate bowl and grease it up with some olive oil. Set aside.
Flour a counter-top liberally, then dump your dough out onto it. Work the dough for several minutes until it forms a soft ball, with silky skin. This will take several minutes depending on how wet your dough is, which is a result of the climate where you live. You may need to add more flour if the mixture is too wet. Place the ball of dough in your oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave to rise and double in size for about an hour and a half.
Butter a dish for the buns. I used a 9X13 glass casserole dish and it worked wonderfully.
When you come back to your dough, it should be double the size, at least, that it was before. Turn back out onto your floured surface and punch the air out of it. Fold it a few times until you get the silky consistency again. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll them into balls.
Place the balls into the casserole dish and cover loosely with the plastic wrap again. They will need to be left alone for another hour or two, until they have doubled again in size and are all touching and snuggling in the pan. Preheat your oven to 385° F
When the balls of dough are just about ready to go in the oven, go ahead and put all your ingredients in a bowl for the cross mixture. Mix it up until the flour and sugar and water and salt are one. Put it into a piping bag or a plastic bag of sorts and snip off the end.
You want to have the long side of the pan facing you so that you can see 4 buns horizontally in rows of 3. Start on the top row and pipe the flour mixture in a straight line down the middle of the first row of buns, making sure you are drawing (drawing??) the line horizontally. Do the same thing for the next 2 rows. Then turn the pan 90 degrees so the short side is facing you and the pan is ‘vertical’, if that makes sense. You will have 3 buns horizontal now in rows of 4. Follow the same pattern by starting on the top row and pipe the mixture in a straight line down the middle of the buns so that you can see a cross on each bun.
Pop the buns in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
When there was about 10 minutes left on the buns, I made the syrupy glaze mixture by combining the sugar and water in a sauce pan and stirring them together over high heat until they came to a boil. I let it boil for about 3 minutes until some of the water evaporated and the syrup got a little thick. Take it off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Use a food safe brush to apply the syrup liberally all over the tops of the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. I think next time I do these I will use a jam or something similar to cook down with water for the glaze. I felt this glaze was a bit boring and I wanted something more exciting. Still turned out beautiful and delicious though.
My husband is a fan of the oatmeal raisin cookies and I don’t make them for him very often. He went pretty crazy over these buns. He tried them warm with softened butter on top. He tried them on their own with no toppings. He used some leftover cream cheese buttercream I had in the fridge right in the middle of the bun. He tried many things and he could not find a way to NOT eat these. He actually made the statement that I need to make them all the time. So there you have it. They’re delicious and they’ll get you the praise you’ve been dying to get and they’ll also keep your family from being ill. Give it a try and let me know if you and/or your family felt the same way. Enjoy!
5 cups All-Purpose (AP) flour
1 ½ tbsp yeast
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp salt
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup golden raisins
6 tbsp butter
1 cup almond milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the cross:
¾ cup flour
1 ½ tbsp sugar
½ cup water
Pinch of salt
For the Glaze:
½ cup water
3 tbsp Sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
- Begin by adding the flour, yeast, sugar, spices, salt, and raisins to a mixing bowl. Mix together slightly to combine.
- Add your butter and milk to a saucepan and warm them through until you can put your finger in the mixture and it’s warm but doesn’t burn you – 5 minutes or less.
- Pour the butter/milk mixture into the mixing bowl and add the eggs as well. Mix with a dough hook in your mixing bowl for about 10 minutes, or until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and begins to form a ball. Grease a large bowl with olive oil and set aside
- Flour a clean countertop liberally and dump the dough on to the countertop. Work the dough on the counter by kneading it until it all comes together with a soft, smooth skin
- When it feels silky, put it in the oiled bowl and wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Leave for 1 ½ hours to proof until doubled in size. Butter your desired dish for the buns (I used a 9X13 glass casserole dish)
- Once doubled, turn out onto a floured surface again and punch the air out of the dough. Turn it a couple of times until it feels silky again and then portion the dough out into 12 equal portions. Roll the portions into balls and place in the buttered dish. Cover loosely with the plastic wrap and leave for another 2 hours or so. Preheat your oven to 385° F
- When the dough is ready to go in the oven, prepare the mixture for the cross by combining in a small bowl and whisking together until the flour and sugar is all dissolved into the water. Put in a Ziploc bag or piping bag and snip the end off. Pipe the mixture first horizontally across the buns and then turn the pan and pipe again until you have crosses on each bun.
- Place on the middle oven rack and bake for 25 minutes.
- When there is about 10 minutes left on your buns, prepare the glaze. Add the water and sugar to a sauce pan and whisk on high heat until it comes to a boil. Allow to boil for about 3 minutes. Take off the heat and add the vanilla extract.
- Apply the glaze liberally with a food safe brush on the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then dig in.