Homemade Apple Butter

Homemade Apple Butter
Homemade apple butter in the slow cooker could not be easier! Mix up apples, sugar, and spices and cook overnight, puree and enjoy!
READ: Homemade Apple Butter

Homemade Apple Butter

Homemade apple butter in the slow cooker could not be easier! Mix up apples, sugar, and spices and cook overnight, puree and enjoy!

READ: Homemade Apple Butter

Hot Cross Buns

This hot cross buns recipe is filled with warm spices and bright citrus. Make it a part of your cherished Easter traditions!

The post Hot Cross Buns appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

This hot cross buns recipe is filled with warm spices and bright citrus. Make it a part of your cherished Easter traditions!

Three hot cross buns on a serving plate, one sliced in half.

Much more than just a nursery rhyme, hot cross buns are an important part of spring holiday celebrations around the world. Easter just isn’t Easter for many folks without these treats.

I made a version of hot cross buns many, many years ago and while they were good, they fell short of great. I began testing and re-testing recipes again this year again (much to the delight of my raisin-loving husband and kids!) and finally came upon the holy grail of flavor and texture. Loaded with orange zest, spices, and lots of raisins, these bake up super soft and with the best texture.

Hot cross buns on a baking sheet.

What is the significance of hot cross buns?

Everything about the pastries symbolizes something significant:

  • A warm mix of spices signals the melting away of winter’s chill, as well as the embalming of Christ at his burial.
  • Bright citrus reminds you of the past winter’s provisions and the light that exists even in the darkest times.
  • The proofing yeast represents life returning and the Resurrection.
  • And of course, the cross on top represents the Crucifixion.

Beyond just the components of the bread, there are so many superstitions and beliefs about them! Some believe a bun hung in the kitchen will prevent fires and ensure bread bakes perfectly.

They’re believed to protect seafarers against shipwrecks and to be medicine for the ill. Many also believe that if you bake them on Good Friday, they’ll never go moldy.

No matter what you believe about them though, one thing is for sure: they’re super delicious!

White plate piled high with hot cross buns.

What are the ingredients?

I love how fluffy and moist the crumb is, how deliciously spicy and oozing of a fresh orange scent. These very much remind me of the Greek Celebration Bread that I made in the past and it’s likely that the two may be related if we trace the family tree back a few centuries!

A rundown of the key ingredients:

  • Dry Ingredients: Bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt
  • Fats: Milk, butter, and egg
  • Fruits: Orange zest and raisins
  • Flavors: Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
  • Cross paste: Flour + water
  • Glaze: Apricot jam

Step by step photos of mixing dough for hot cross buns

Step by step photos of mixing raisins and spices into dough.

How to make hot cross buns

A lot of people get really intimidated when it comes to the idea of making yeast bread, but you shouldn’t be scared! Just follow the steps outlined in the recipe, and I promise you can do it. A quick summary:

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients, then make a well in the center.
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients, add to the well in the center of the bowl.
  3. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
  4. Rise until doubled in size (it takes about an hour).
  5. Add the raisins, orange zest, and spices to the dough, knead it into the dough with your hands, then cover and allow to rise again.
  6. Divide the dough into 15 balls, shape into rolls, place on a baking sheet and allow to rise again.
  7. Make the cross paste and pipe onto the risen rolls.
  8. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Brush the rolls with warm apricot jam.

Yes, there are 3 (three!) rise times; honestly, I feel like this is what sets this recipe apart and makes utterly fantastic, melt-in-your-mouth rolls. I tried testing different variations with only two rise times and this version was far and away superior!

Hot cross buns being piped with crosses.

Recipe tips and notes

For making the best hot cross buns!

  • Bread Flour: The higher protein content creates a chewier texture and helps the rolls hold up to all of the raisins and zest. You can substitute all-purpose flour if that’s all you have, but the texture will be a bit different.
  • Yeast: Instant yeast makes this a breeze to make, however you can use an equal amount of active dry yeast if necessary. It will need to be activated: warm the milk, sprinkle the yeast over and let sit for 10 minutes. Then mix with the rest of the wet ingredients and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Please note rise times may be a bit longer.
  • Raisins: You can substitute currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or just about any other dried fruit you’d like!
  • Spices: I’ve included my preferred mix of spices, but feel free to play around with your favorites.
  • Cross Paste: Baking the cross into the tops of the buns is the most traditional method, but you can also pipe a cross on after baking with a simple sugar glaze – mix together powdered sugar and a little bit of milk (thick enough for a piping consistency) and pipe onto cooled buns.
  • Make-Ahead Instructions: You can shape the buns, place on the baking sheet, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to bake them. Once risen, pipe with the cross paste and proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Freezing Instructions: These freeze beautifully! Allow to cool completely, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or pop in the microwave.

Hot cross bun with bite taken out and others in the background.

Want more Easter bread ideas? Try my Italian Easter Bread and Tsoureki (Greek Easter bread).

If you make these hot cross buns and love them, please take a moment to stop back and leave a review below; they help out fellow readers so much! Thank you! xo

Print

Hot Cross Buns

This hot cross buns recipe is filled with warm spices and bright citrus. Make it a part of your cherished Easter traditions!
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rising time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 15 buns
Calories 188kcal
Author Michelle

Ingredients

  • cups bread flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup milk room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 egg room temperature, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 1 orange zested
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch nutmeg

For the Cross

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 to 8 tablespoons water

For the Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Make a well in the center.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, butter, egg, and vanilla extract, then add to the center of the bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir everything together. The dough will be sticky, but should come together. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if needed.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  • Place into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • With the dough still in the bowl, add the raisins, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. With your hands, knead everything into the dough, making sure it is well distributed. Cover the bowl and allow to rise again until doubled in size, another 1 hour.
  • Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 15 even pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place at least 1 ½ inches apart on a half sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the rolls are puffed, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Make the Cross Paste: In a small bowl, stir together the flour and 5 tablespoons of water. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time; use only enough to make a very thick paste. Spoon the paste into a piping bag or resealable plastic bag and snip off the end. Pipe the paste down and across each row to make a cross on top of each roll.
  • Bake until golden brown and the internal temperature registers 195 degrees F, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Prepare the Glaze: Heat the jam in a small saucepan over low heat or, alternatively, in the microwave in 30-second bursts until melted. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to remove chunks, then brush over warm hot cross buns.
  • Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Video

Notes

  • Bread Flour: The higher protein content creates a chewier texture and helps the rolls hold up to all of the raisins and zest. You can substitute all-purpose flour if that's all you have, but the texture will be a bit different.
  • Yeast: Instant yeast makes this a breeze to make, however you can use an equal amount of active dry yeast if necessary. It will need to be activated: warm the milk, sprinkle the yeast over and let sit for 10 minutes. Then mix with the rest of the wet ingredients and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Please note rise times may be a bit longer.
  • Raisins: You can substitute currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or just about any other dried fruit you'd like!
  • Spices: I've included my preferred mix of spices, but feel free to play around with your favorites.
  • Cross Paste: Baking the cross into the tops of the buns is the most traditional method, but you can also pipe a cross on after baking with a simple sugar glaze - mix together powdered sugar and a little bit of milk (thick enough for a piping consistency) and pipe onto cooled buns.
  • Make-Ahead Instructions: You can shape the buns, place on the baking sheet, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to bake them. Once risen, pipe with the cross paste and proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Freezing Instructions: These freeze beautifully! Allow to cool completely, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or pop in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 165mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 155IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.6mg

(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food)

Originally published in 2011, this hot cross buns recipe has been updated to include a better technique, new photos, a helpful video tutorial, and more in-depth recipe tips.

[photos by Dee of One Sarcastic Baker]

The post Hot Cross Buns appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

You Need This Pumpkin Bread in Your Life!

This easy, one-bowl pumpkin bread is crazy moist, loaded with spices, chocolate chips, and pecans, and freezes beautifully.

The post You Need This Pumpkin Bread in Your Life! appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

No, seriously! This easy, one-bowl pumpkin bread is incredibly moist, loaded with spices, chocolate chips, and pecans, and freezes beautifully. It is a perfect bread to put out for company, serve on Thanksgiving, or bake up in small loaf pans for holiday gifts. If you’ve been looking for the pumpkin bread to end all pumpkin breads, look no further, this is THE BEST.

A loaf of pumpkin bread sliced with two glasses of milk.

A couple of years ago I asked readers to send me their favorite tried and true recipes, and I received a TON of pumpkin recipes. I made a few before Dominic was born (including this pumpkin yummy dessert that was a big hit), but I shelved the rest until fall rolled around again.

The next year, I pulled this recipe out of the archives and made what turned out to be the most fantastic pumpkin bread I’ve ever had. A great big thank you to Shirline for this wonderful recipe; when she emailed me the recipe, she said she begins making it in the fall and continues to churn out loaves all through Christmas. Her family refers to it as “Grama’s Pumpkin Bread”, and she makes loaves both for her family to enjoy and in smaller batches to give away as gifts. After making dozens of pumpkin breads myself, I have to agree with Shirline – this is the best of the best!

A bowl with pumpkin puree, sugar, and spices.

Why This Is the Very Best Pumpkin Bread

  • Substantial Loaves – You will be amazed at how much batter this recipe makes… you will want to use a large mixing bowl!
  • Super Easy Prep – Joseph helped to mix this together before he was 2 years old! Canned pumpkin and tons of spices gets mixed together first, then vegetable oil to keep the bread nice and moist, eggs, sugar, flour, and the all-important add-ins.
  • Chocolate Chips and Pecans – While you COULD make the bread without them, Shirline exclaims that it just isn’t pumpkin bread without the chocolate chips and pecans, and I agree 100%. They add a wonderful punch of sweetness and crunch to the super moist, spiced bread, and it’s great balance.

Pumpkin bread batter mixed together in a large bowl.

Tips for Pumpkin Bread Success

Be Sure to Cook All the Way Through

When I tell you that these loaves are substantial, I kid you not. They are HEAVY… but also supremely moist and dense in the most wonderful way. They remind me of the Russian pound cake that my mom, aunt, and grandma all used to make for the holidays. As such, be sure that the loaves are baked the whole way through so they do not sink in the middle when they cool. Depending on the size of your loaf pans, you may need to bake them closer to 1 hour 30 minutes; if the bread is browning too much, tent with foil.

Make Smaller Loaves for Gifting

If you want to bake smaller loaves of pumpkin bread to place out on cookie trays or to gift for the holidays and am wondering how long they’ll need to bake, a 3×5-inch loaf pan will take approximately 30 minutes to bake, for reference.

Substitute Your Favorite Ingredients

Feel free to mix and match add-ins to match your preferences:

  • Cinnamon chips, butterscotch chips, or white chocolate chips in place of some or all of the chocolate chips.
  • Raisins or dried cranberries in place of the chocolate chips.
  • Chopped walnuts or another nut of your choice in place of the pecans.

Eat Now or Freeze For Later

You can eat this warm or at room temperature, but like most pound cakes or quick bread, wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and letting it sit overnight makes it even better! As a result, this is perfect to keep around for a week or so and goes wonderfully with breakfast coffee or an afternoon cup of tea, or for dessert any time of day. It freezes really well (up to 3 months wrapped well in the freezer), so it would be great to bake up a few loaves (or even mini loaves) to keep in the freezer for last-minute guests or to get a head start on Thanksgiving baking or holiday gifts!

Two loaf pans filled with pumpkin bread batter.

This has officially become my go-to pumpkin bread recipe – it’s easy, full of flavor, and super moist; you can’t ask for much more than that from a pumpkin bread!

Thank you so much for this recipe, Shirline! ♥

An overhead photo of a baked loaf of pumpkin bread.

More Fall-Friendly Bread

If you pine for cooler weather and warmly spiced baked goods, you’ll love these breads, too:

A loaf of pumpkin bread from the side, sliced.

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips & Pecans

This easy, one-bowl pumpkin bread is crazy moist, loaded with spices, chocolate chips, and pecans, and freezes beautifully.

  • 28 ounce canned pumpkin
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 3½ cups light brown sugar
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups pecans, chopped

Equipment

  • <a href="http://rstyle.me/n/ctb6brcaugx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Loaf pans</a>
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9×5-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Add the oil, eggs, and sugar and whisk until it is thoroughly combined and there are no streaks of egg or clumps of brown sugar. Add the flour, chocolate chips and pecans, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold and stir it together until completely combined.
  3. Divide the batter between the loaf pans and bake until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out with just moist crumbs attached, anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Allow the loaves to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely. The loaves can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 2 months (if you freeze them, add a layer of foil or place in a ziploc freezer bag).

Nutritional values are based on one serving

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

The post You Need This Pumpkin Bread in Your Life! appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.