April 20, 2011

Honey Almond Apricot HOT CROSS BUNS

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

If you have, or have ever had a child in elementary school, the mention of "Hot Cross Buns" will likely conjure memories of the old folk tune piped off-key from a plastic recorder.  For many, Hot Cross Buns are also a traditional part of the Easter holiday.  These sweet buns, studded with raisins or currants are typically served on Good Friday and get their name from the symbolic cross baked into the top.

This year, I decided to try my own twist on the traditional hot cross bun and came up with the Honey Almond Apricot Hot Cross Bun.  This delicious little sweet bun has pieces of dried apricot in place of the raisins.  The rich broiche-like dough has just a touch of almond flavor which nicely complements the tart apricots and the honey-glazed cream cheese cross.  As the name insists, they are to be eaten hot, but can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week and reheated in the microwave for a treat on demand!

Honey Almond Apricot Hot Cross Buns
adapted from John Barricelli's classic Hot Cross Bun recipe
Makes 18


For the buns
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Zest of 1 small orange (I used a Clementine)
2 teaspoons almond extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/3 cups dried apricots (pulsed in a food processor till finely chopped)

For the cream cheese cross filling
4 oz. softened cream cheese (not whipped)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk

For the honey glaze
3 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons water

Step 1:  Generously butter a large bowl and set aside.  Heat milk in a microwave safe  bowl, or on a stovetop till it reaches 110 degrees on a kitchen thermometer.  Pour heated milk into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.  On low speed, add sugar, yeast, salt, melted butter, almond extract, zest and eggs.  Add flour and mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms.  Continue mixing, scraping down sides as necessary, until smooth (about 4 minutes).

Step 2:  Add apricots.  Knead with the dough hook, on low speed to incorporate.  Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead briefly. Shape into a smooth ball.  Place dough in the buttered bowl and turn to coat with butter on all sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour and 20 minutes).

Step 3:  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Turn dough onto work surface.  Knead briefly and roll dough into a log.  Cut log into 18 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a tightly formed ball.  Place dough balls, evenly spaced in rows of 3 on the prepared baking sheet.  Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until buns are touching and doubled in size (1 1/2 - 2 hours).

Step 4:  Preheat oven to 375 with rack positioned in the upper third of oven.  Place pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes. 

Step 5:  While buns are baking, prepare the honey glaze by heating the water and honey until honey has completely dissolved.  Remove pans from oven and lightly brush each bun with the honey glaze.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 6:  While buns are baking, prepare cream cheese cross filling by combining the softened cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.  Place filling in a pastry bag or plastic sandwich bag and snip a small piece from one corner.  Pipe crosses over the surface of each bun.  Bake for a final 5 minutes.

Enjoy warm.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Reheat in microwave before serving.


  1. I can smell how good these "Hot Cross Buns" made your house smell. Yum!

  2. Your hot cross buns sound like the tastiest ones ever.

  3. Hi Jenn,
    The color and Shine of the buns makes me hungry! The hot cross buns rhyme is one of CJ's favorite!

  4. These look amazing Jenn. The glaze is a nice change from the frosting you usually see on these.

  5. Thanks for the reminder that I need to whip up some hot cross buns very soon. Your recipe looks incredible!

  6. I remember the song because it was the first thing I learned while playing piano and viola, but I never actually knew what they were when I was younger. Still have never had one! They good yummy!

  7. These just look wonderful!

    Thanks for posting our Egg Mailing post on your FB page! I really appreciate it!!!

  8. These look awesome, I'll have to try them! Thank you for stopping by my blog and my FB page. I'm your newest FB fan! :-)

  9. They look delicious Jenn! Mmm...I can imagine how good they smell. The honey glaze and the cream cheese filling, Oh my!

  10. These look delicious...I wish I had the nerve to cook them...I've never had good luck with bread and the rising process...Thank you for sharing!!

  11. Dried apricots are one of my favorite additions to anything, these hot cross buns look delicious!

  12. i know it took forever for me to comment on this..but i want you to know that i made these for easter and they were a HUGE hit! thank you for making me look like a star :) and thank you for linking this wonderful recipe up to tuesday night supper club!

  13. They look fantastic. I meant to make some this year, but didn't. I think I'll try these soon so that I have some idea of how they come together by next year!

  14. Dried apricots...yum. I can't get that nursery rhyme out of my head now!

    Thanks for linking up to Creative Juice. Hope to see you back again this week!


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