Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten at Easter, and what could be nicer than a homemade hot cross bun, filled with fruit and fresh from the oven. These buns are flavoured with apple and cinnamon for extra taste and they are so easy to make. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to make hot cross buns and get the entire family involved in making your own hot cross buns at home!
Homemade hot cross buns with apple and cinnamon
Have you ever bought a packet of hot cross buns from the supermarket and got them home to find they contain hardly any fruit? It’s happened to me more times than I care to think about!
A hot cross bun has to be full of fruit. If it’s not, then you might as well call it a hot cross breadroll!
After being disappointed many a time by the lack of fruit in my hot cross buns, I decided to make my own. In this post I’m going to show you how to make hot cross buns which are filled with fruit, and in addition are flavoured with apple and cinnamon for the best hot cross buns ever.
There are so many ways to eat them. You can eat them plain, you can eat them buttered, or you can eat them my personal favourite way, which is toasted and with the butter melting all over them.
Now that the youngsters are home from school, why not all get together in the kitchen, follow my easy instructions for making hot cross buns, and you’ll be eating your own homemade hot cross buns in no time.
And while you are at it, why not try making homemade chelsea buns too.
How to make hot cross buns
There is a printable recipe card at the end of this post that you can print for reference if you make this recipe.
The first step is to gather together all your ingredients.
For the buns
Flour – 600g in total, made up of 300g plain flour and 300g strong white flour. You could use the full 600g of plain flour or strong white, but the texture will be different. It will still taste good though.
Sugar – 60g. If you prefer a sweeter hot cross bun you can up this to 75g but I can’t guarantee the results if you use more than this.
Butter – 100g – obviously butter gives a better flavour, but if you only have margarine you can substitute. Don’t substitute with spreads though – it has to be a brick margarine labelled ‘for baking’.
Milk – you will only need 1/2 cup – the apple sauce will provide additional liquid.
Egg – use a large egg – if you use a medium or small egg you will have to add a small amount of additional milk to compensate.
Apple puree – you will need 1/2 cup. If you don’t have apple puree you can make your own by peeling and coring one apple. Chop the apple into cubes and place in a saucepan with just enough water to cover it. Bring to the boil and allow to cook until soft. Mash with a fork and allow to cook.
Sultanas – about 150g or 1 cup. If you want even more fruit you can up this to about 200g. If you enjoy mixed peel in your cinnamon buns you can substitute 50g sultanas for 50g mixed peel.
Instant yeast – this comes in packets of 7g and you will need 1 packet mixed in with the flour.
Ground cinnamon – 2 level teaspoons, but you can add up to 1 teaspoon extra if you enjoy the flavour.
For the crosses and glaze
For the crosses – you will need 2 tablespoons flour mixed with 5 tablespoons water to make a thin paste. This is piped onto the buns before they are baked. If you prefer, you could make a mixture of 2 tablespoons icing sugar with 2 tablespoons water and pipe this on after the buns have been baked.
For the glaze – you will need about 2 tablespoons of marmalde or apricot jam, melted.
I like to use lime marmalade for the glaze, as it has a lovely fruity taste and is not too sweet. You could use orange marmalade if you prefer. Alternatively, apricot jam will provide a much sweeter taste.
Mix the dough
- Sift both flours into a mixing bowl an add the sugar, yeast and cinnamon. Mix to combine.
- Place the butter and milk in a microwave safe container and heat until the milk is lukewarm. The butter doesn’t need to be completely melted. It will get kneaded into the flour as you mix. It should just be be nice and soft.
- Add the warmed milk and butter to the flour along with the egg and apple puree. Mix with a spatula to combine everything together.
- Tip out onto a work surface and knead for at least 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. The longer you knead, the better the texture of the buns will be.
- If you have an electric mixer you can knead it with the dough hook until the mixture is smooth and elastic.
Add the sultanas
- When the dough is smooth, flatten it with your hands into a large rectangle and spread the sultanas on top.
- Roll into a sausage shape, then fold in the ends and knead lightly to distribute the sultanas evenly throughout the dough.
- Place the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover with a clean towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about a hour. The dough should double in size.
- Tip – if your kitchen is cold, turn the oven on for a couple of minutes to let it just get warm inside, then turn the oven off and place the covered bowl in the oven with the door open.
Assemble and bake
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down then divide it into 12 equal pieces. If you want slightly smaller buns, divide into 16 pieces.
- Form into balls, flatten slighly and then place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Leave about 1cm between each bun as they will expand further when you prove them, and also during the baking.
- If you don’t have baking parchment, you can just lightly grease the tray with a few drops of cooking oil or margarine.
- Cover the buns and leave for half-an-hour or so to prove and allow them to rise again.
- Make a thin paste with the 2 tablespoons flour and 5 tablespoons water and spoon it into a piping bag with a small nozzle. If you don’t have a piping bag you could just spoon it into the corner of a plastic freezer bag and sip off the corner.
- Pipe crosses across the buns.
- Place the tray in a pre-heated oven (190C / 375) for 20 minutes until the buns are golden.
- Remove from the oven and prepare the glaze.
- Warm the marmalade or jam in the microwave and then use a pastry brush to cover the buns with the glaze.
- If you prefer, you can use a mixture of icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) and cold water to make the crosses. Do this once the buns have cooled.
- Serve either plain or toasted, spread with butter.
Convert grams to cups
To help you convert your recipes, I have created a handy Cookery Conversion Calculator which will convert ingredients between grams, ounces, tablespoons, cups and millilitres. I hope you will find it useful.
If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read about how to do this in this post on baking at high altitudes.
Recipe – Hot Cross Buns with apple and cinnamon
Hot Cross Buns with apple and cinnamon
- Mixing bowl
- Hand mixer with dough hook or
- Stand mixer
- Baking tray
- Baking parchment
- 300 g plain flour 2½ cups /600ml
- 300 g strong white flour 2½ cups /600ml
- 60 g sugar ⅓ cup / 70ml
- 7 g instant yeast granules
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup milk
- 100 g butter ½ cup / 100 ml
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup apple puree
- 150 g sultanas 1 cup (or more if you like plenty of sultanas in your buns)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 5 tablespoons water more or less
- 3 tablespoons lime marmalade
- Mix both flours, the sugar, yeast and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter and milk together in the micowave or in a saucepan on the stove until the butter has softened and the milk is warm. Do not boil – it should just be lukewarm
- Add the milk and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and the apple puree and mix to combine.
- Tip out onto a work surface and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.
- Flatten the dough into a rectangle and spread the sultanas on top.
- Roll into a sausage shape and then knead gently until the sultanas are well-distibuted.
- Return to the mixing bowl, cover with a clean towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size.
- Knock down the dough, then divide into 12 equal pieces.
- Form each piece into a ball, flatten slightly and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the buns about 1cm apart, they will come together as they prove, and during baking.
- Cover and leave to prove for another hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C /375°F.
Make the crosses
- Mix 2 tablespoons flour with about 4 tablespoons water (use a few drops more water if necessary) to get a thick paste.
- Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a small nozzle. I you don't have a piping bag, use a plastic sandwich bag with one corner snipped off.
- Pipe crosses onto the buns.
- Place the baking tray in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove from the oven.
- Heat the marmalade in the microwave or a small saucepan until runny.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the marmalade over the top of the buns while they are still hot.
- Serve plain or split the buns and spread with butter. Alternatively you could toast the split buns (on one side only) under a hot grill before spreading with the butter.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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