Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe
This old-fashioned strawberry rhubarb pie recipe features a tender, flaky crust and a filling that highlights the delicious combination of sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb with a touch of citrus. Included are tons of ti…

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

This old-fashioned strawberry rhubarb pie recipe features a tender, flaky crust and a filling that highlights the delicious combination of sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb with a touch of citrus. Included are tons of tips to ensure the filling thickens beautifully, as well as make-ahead and freezing instructions for preparing different components ahead of time.

READ: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

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.

Orange Cookies with Sweet Orange Glaze

These soft, buttery orange cookies are flavored with orange zest and orange juice, and iced with a sweet orange glaze. Their old-fashioned flavor will remind you of your grandma’s kitchen!

The post Orange Cookies with Sweet Orange Glaze appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

These soft, buttery orange cookies are made from scratch, flavored with orange zest and orange juice and iced with a sweet orange glaze. Their old-fashioned flavor will remind you of your grandma’s kitchen!

A stack of orange cookies with a glass of milk in the background.

Many years ago, after making a batch of Italian Easter bread, my husband asked if I had a recipe for orange cookies. Specifically, the soft, chewy kind with a glaze on top. I couldn’t remember my grandma making anything like that (even though it sounded incredibly Italian!) so I did some searching around and found tons of amazing-looking recipes to try. This was definitely the best of the bunch.

These cookies are so light and refreshing compared to some other heavier favorites like chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin. They’re a soft, buttery cookie, much like a puffy sugar cookie. The difference? They are thoroughly infused with fresh orange zest and juice to amp up their flavor. In addition, a sweet orange glaze using more zest and juice is slathered on top.

Rubbing orange zest into sugar.

Get Maximum Orange Flavor!

Back when I started doing a lot of baking on my own, one of the first books that I really dug into was Dorie Greenspan’s Bake: From My Home to Yours. In one of the orange or lemon-flavored recipes in the book, she shared a technique for ensuring that the citrus flavor was really infused throughout the recipe, and I have used that same technique every single time I make a recipe using orange zest, lemon zest, or lime zest.

The secret?

Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar that’s called for in the recipe. It takes a few minutes, but eventually, all of the zest (including its oils!) will be absorbed by the sugar and it will have the consistency of wet sand. Now, when the butter and sugar get creamed together, all of that wonderful orange essence will be infused throughout the entire batter. It makes for a flavor that is far more potent and cookies that are more aromatic than compared to just mixing the zest in with the other ingredients.

Make-Ahead Notes

If you’d like to prepare these cookies in advance or get a head start on holiday baking (these would be perfect for Easter or Christmas!), here are some tips:

  • Refrigerate Dough: You can refrigerate the dough, covered, for up to 2 days before scooping and baking. Allow it to sit at room temperature for approximately 20 minutes to make scooping easier.
  • Freeze Dough: Scoop the cookies and place on the baking sheets, then place in the freezer until the balls of dough are completely frozen. Transfer to a freezer-safe zip-top bag and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen, adding a couple of minutes to the bake time.
  • Freeze Baked Cookies: Fully baked, cooled, and iced cookies (be sure the icing has had a chance to fully set) can be frozen by placing the cookies on a baking sheet, placing the sheet in the freezer until the cookies are completely frozen. Transfer the cookies to an airtight container, separating layers with parchment or wax paper, and freeze for up to 3 months.

A cookie sheet with balls of orange cookie dough.

I absolutely love the burst of flavor that these cookies have; they’ll definitely brighten up your day!

Whether you’re searching for something a little bit different for your Easter or Christmas baking, maybe you want something a little unique for a wedding cookie table, or just LOVE citrus, these orange cookies will wow you time and again.

An overhead photo of orange cookies on a plate with a cut of milk.

More Orange-Infused Recipes:

Orange Cookies with Sweet Orange Glaze

These soft, buttery orange cookies are flavored with orange zest and orange juice, and iced with a sweet orange glaze. Their old-fashioned flavor will remind you of your grandma's kitchen!

For the Cookies:

  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 egg

For the Sweet Orange Glaze:

  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • Fresh orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats; set aside.

  2. Make the Cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the the sugar and orange zest, rubbing them together with your fingers until the zest is completely incorporated into the sugar.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and the orange zest-infused sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and orange and mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. If the dough seems a little on the soft side, refrigerate it for up to 30 minutes.

  5. Using a medium cookie scoop (or 2 tablespoonfuls), scoop out the dough and roll them into balls, placing them 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges, but still pale in the middle. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

  6. Make the Sweet Orange Glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, orange zest, and enough orange juice to achieve the desired consistency (less juice for a thicker glaze, more for a thinner one). Spread glaze over top of the cooled cookies, and allow to set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Store at room temperature in an airtight container (divide layers with wax paper so the cookies don't stick together).

  • You can substitute the orange zest and juice with lemon, lime, or even grapefruit for different flavored cookies.
  • If you’re like me and love the orange and chocolate flavor combination, feel free to add some chocolate chips to the cookie dough. I would recommend 1 cup of mini chocolate chips.
  • Make-Ahead (Refrigerate Dough): You can refrigerate the dough, covered, for up to 2 days before scooping and baking. Allow it to sit at room temperature for approximately 20 minutes to make scooping easier.
  • Make-Ahead (Freeze Dough): Scoop the cookies and place on the baking sheets, then place in the freezer until the balls of dough are completely frozen. Transfer to a freezer-safe zip-top bag and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen, adding a couple of minutes to the bake time.
  • Make-Ahead (Freeze Baked Cookies): Fully baked, cooled, and iced cookies (be sure the icing has had a chance to fully set) can be frozen by placing the cookies on a baking sheet, placing the sheet in the freezer until the cookies are completely frozen. Transfer the cookies to an airtight container, separating layers with parchment or wax paper, and freeze for up to 3 months.

 

(Recipe adapted from Stephanie’s Kitchen)

Originally published in 2012, this orange cookie recipe has been updated to include new photos and more in-depth recipe tips.

[photos by Dee of One Sarcastic Baker]

The post Orange Cookies with Sweet Orange Glaze appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

Riz au lait (French rice pudding)

Recently I was contacted by a film production company that was proposing to include me in a series. They were interested in what I do and mentioned they wanted to come over and film me in my office, along with all the people I work with. I hated to disappoint them, but I had to tell them that it’s just was me sitting in front…

Recently I was contacted by a film production company that was proposing to include me in a series. They were interested in what I do and mentioned they wanted to come over and film me in my office, along with all the people I work with. I hated to disappoint them, but I had to tell them that it’s just was me sitting in front of my computer, or hanging around my kitchen, wielding my camera while trying to balancing a spoon on the edge of a saucepan so it doesn’t fall in, or coaxing a quickly-melting scoop of ice cream into something that’ll look presentable when I publish the recipe for you.

Continue Reading Riz au lait (French rice pudding)...