Friday, April 10, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

Man, it has been TOO LONG since I've blogged about food and the fun I have in the kitchen! Not to say the cooking has stopped, no indeed. Sometimes I think I spend half my life in this kitchen...somedays it feels like I never leave it. But in a way, that's okay. My kitchen's big and sunny with lots of big windows that overlook the yard, the gardens, and out to the mountains. If there was a room I'd pick to HAVE to be in, it'd be the kitchen.

And so it's with lots of happiness that I bring you: Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday. I was under the mistaken impression that these were traditionally for Easter Sunday. Wrong. Going back to pre-Anglican England, these were almost exclusively for Good Friday - with the cross on top to remind us of the crucifixion of Jesus. Well, why not I asked myself. I consulted a couple of recipe books, then searched online...then did what I always do - take the best parts of several recipes and conjure up my own.

I also learned a really neat new trick. I used to raise bread in my bathroom - don't laugh! There's a wonderful heater in there and the rest of the house is relatively cool - in winter that is. So it's hard to make sure my doughs are staying nice and toasty warm. I read online where a great place to raise dough is actually in the oven with just the light on. The heat from the incandescent bulb provides a nice warm environment, and the closed oven is free from drafts and from curious little fingers. Particularly curious little fingers that have ahem....been in the bathroom and it's environs.

So anyway, I did the first rise in my bread machine - just didn't feel like getting the big mixer with the dough hook out today! I know, I know, I SHOULD be kneading it by hand...but why? Mixer does it so well! Anyway, used the bread machine since it was still on the countertop from last night's pizza crust. Did the first rise in there. Left it in an additional hour. Then shaped the dough into balls, then stuck it in my "oven with the light on" for several hours. Cut some crosses in the top and baked, then glazed with sugary icing and there you have it! Yum. Almost too indulgent for Good Friday, but not really...they're not really all that sweet, and these turned out really light and fluffy. The raisins got a little shredded by my bread machine....darn, didn't think of THAT....but it turned out fine since they got all dispersed throughout the dough rather than just a raisin here, raisin there.

But now, who's going to eat all these buns?

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