Spiced Hot Crossed Buns

It's Easter and that means two things,
Chocolate and Hot Crossed Buns.
Of course, the magic bunny brings the chocolate, so all I have to worry about is the buns.

Do you remember when Hot Crossed Buns were full of flavour?

A quick warning, these buns are not something you can just 'whip up' in a hurry. Prep time is approximately 3 hours but don't panic, 2 1/2 of those are spent allowing the dough to rise, so the labour itself should take less than 30 minutes all together.

Spiced Hot Crossed Buns

1 ¼ cups milk
1 Tbls (12g) dried yeast
¼ cup muscovado or brown sugar
4 ½ cups plain flour
3 tsp ground mixed spice
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground/grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla essence
100g cooking margarine or butter, softened
2 cups mixed, dried fruit

¼ cup plain flour
¼ cup water

1 ½ Tbls caster sugar
1 ½ Tbls hot water

•Heat milk, in a jug or high sided bowl, to body temperature (Should feel neutral to the touch). Stir in Sugar to dissolve then gently mix in yeast.
Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes.

•In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, spices and salt. When yeast mixture is ready, add to flour mix with eggs and vanilla essence and work into a shaggy dough (I use dough hooks but you can work it by hand if you prefer).

•Work in margarine or butter, about 1 Tablespoon at a time, until completely incorporated. Continue kneading for about 10 minutes, dough should now be smooth and elastic. Press dough into a ball, cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

•Knead in the mixed fruit and allow dough to rise for another hour.

•Divide dough into 16 equal prices and roll each one into a ball. Place on a lined baking tray so each ball is almost touching the next. Cover with a clean teatowel for about 20-30 minutes.
*Buns will be perfectly proofed when they spring back slowly from a light press with your finger. If it springs back quickly, leave them a little longer.

•Preheat oven to 190°C and mix flour and water to a paste, for the crosses.
Pipe mixture onto buns, horizontally and vertically to make crosses.
•Bake for 20 minutes. While still warm, brush tops with glaze mix.

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