04 April 2012

Hot Cross Buns

I looked after my niece today, she's 8 years old and full of beans, so finding things to keep her occupied was essential.

She came for the day so Hannah could help her tie-dye some tights, shoes and shoe laces. This is something she's been waiting for since the Christmas holidays. So first stop Spotlight to pick up the dyes, then home to do the rinsing, tying and dyeing of said tights, shoes and shoe laces.

They look really good, definitely bring back memories of summer 1972, purple tie-dyed t-shirts and embroidered jeans were all the rage. It seems fashion really does just go round and round and round - does that mean we need to watch out for shoulder pads and pencil skirts in the next few years?

Once the tie-dying was finished and cleaned up, we wandered around the garden. Boogsie inspected all the plants, and wanted to know why the marigolds were in between the different veggies while I pulled weeds. She watered the lettuce and we picked some strawberries and chased off some cabbage moths (they seem to be in plague proportions at the moment) and then she wanted to know what we were going to do next.

So, in the interests of filling in time and giving my family an Easter treat we made hot cross buns. 
It wouldn’t Easter without hot cross buns, but have you seen the price of them! Yowie, they certainly are a treat.

I used the bread maker to make the dough, but it can be made just as easily by hand. Well, maybe not quite as easily, you still have the kneading to do, but it keeps the kids busy for 10 minutes or so.

Here's my recipe - it's been tweaked over the years from the recipe I made when I first learned to make bread, about - no, just too many years ago to worry about. It works, it's easy and the buns taste great.

Hot Cross Buns

2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
4 cups plain or bread flour
2 cups mixed fruit (or sultanas - your choice)
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp grapeseed oil (this gives a very light, sweet dough)
1 cup warm water

Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the 1/4 cup warm water and let it sit until it becomes frothy, about 10 minutes.

Add the flour, mixed fruit, mixed spice, oil and water to the bowl of your bread maker. Add the yeast mixture. Set to the dough setting.

To make the rolls, gently divide the dough into 12 pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball. Place on an oiled baking sheet, with each roll just touching the next. Cut a cross into the top of each bun. Sit in a warm spot to allow the rolls to rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.  Bake in a 175 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes until they sound hollow when tapped. Glaze while hot.

To make the glaze:
Combine half a cup of white sugar and half a cup of water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Turn heat up and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Brush the top and sides of each bun when they are cooked.

You'd think a dozen hot cross buns would've worn her out, it sure did me. But no, 8 year olds have a lot of stamina so we also made 2 dozen little gingerbread men, just because we like gingerbread men and two cakes, one chocolate and one coconut.

By then I was well and truly stonkered, so it was a quick kitchen clean up and reading time. Hannah found some Pony Club books so we all settled down to relax and read for a while. By which time her mum arrived to take her home.

I'd forgotten how excited little girls get when they have things to show their mummy. She was so excited she kept tripping over words and jumping up and sitting down. Until it was time to go and she was tired. Her little eyes were big and her little face was flushed and she had had a very big day, and was glad to go home.

And I was glad to put my feet up for a few minutes with a longed for cuppa.

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