Hot Cross Buns
4 to 4 1/2 cups all~purpose flour
1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup diced candied orange peel (optional)
1 beaten egg white
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing
[1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk or orange juice
Combine ingredients; stir in milk or juice 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches drizzling consistency.]
In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups flour, yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In a pan heat and stir milk, butter, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt till warm (120* ~ 130*) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to dry mixture. Add eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high 3 minutes. Stir in currants and orange peel (if desired), and as much remaining flour as you can.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover; let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 1/2 hours).
Punch dough down. Turn onto floured surface. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 20 portions. Shape portions into smooth balls. Place balls 1 1/2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise till nearly double (45 to 60 minutes).
Using a sharp knife, make a crisscross slash across top of each bun. In small bowl combine beaten egg white and 1 tablespoon water. Brush mixture of egg white and water over rolls. Bake in a 375* oven 12 to 15 minutes or till golden brown. Cool slightly. Drizzle Powdered Sugar Icing into slashes atop each bun. Serve warm.
Traditionally in England and other Christian countries, these buns were eaten on Good Friday, because of the symbolism of the cross. The cute little nursery rhyme was originally a street cry in London in the 1700's at Easter and Christmas times.
"Good Friday come this month, the old woman runs
With one or two a penny hot cross buns." ~ Poor Robin's Almanack for 1733 (info from wikipedia. Check out their link for more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_cross_bun)