Slightly Sacrilegious Hot Cross Buns

An Easter favourite with a touch of orange liqueur. Maybe a bit more than a touch.

It’s been a while. I could give you the lowdown on exactly why I’ve been absent, but apparently a picture is worth a thousand words.

Slightly Sacrilegious Hot Cross Buns

Or at least that’s what her grandparents say when they demand new photos. That’s my Eileen. She’s about three months old now and you barely have to look at her sideways to get a smile out of her.

In this mother’s opinion, the sweetest thing ever. Even sweeter than these buns.

Slightly Sacrilegious Hot Cross Buns

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you can probably more easily forgive my lack of attention to a food blog. For the first few months I wanted nothing to do with food and after that nothing lasted long enough for me to get a decent photo of it. Then I had Eileen (10 days late, by the way) and it turns out babies keep you busy.

Another thing about being pregnant is that most moms-to-be swear off alcohol for the duration. It’s less than ideal. I’m nursing now so I still can’t go crazy, but I’ve been known to have a glass of wine here and there.

Slightly Sacrilegious Hot Cross Buns

So I just couldn’t resist boozing up this Easter classic a bit. Orange liqueur is a perfect match for spicy, fruity hot cross buns. And not being one to waste anything, I encourage, nay, implore you to save the liqueur in which you soak your fruit and use it in the icing for the – ahem – crosses.

Slightly Sacrilegious Hot Cross Buns

So this recipe may be slightly sacrilegious. But the end result will totally redeem you. I think.

Or maybe you shouldn’t take spiritual guidance from a food blog. Up to you.

It’s a bit late to make these on Good Friday like you’re supposed to, but since we’ve already taken a bit of a detour from tradition, I’d say you’re okay to work on them some other time this weekend.

Slightly Sacrilegious Hot Cross Buns

Slightly Sacrilegious Hot Cross Buns (Based on this Canadian Living recipe)

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 cup milk, warmed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins (feel free to use whatever dried fruit you like/can scrounge up in your pantry)
Orange liqueur such as Cointreau

Glaze: 2 tablespoons each water and granulated sugar

Icing: 1/2 cup icing sugar and 5-6 teaspoons orange liqueur, leftover from the soaking.

Start by putting your dried fruit in a bowl and pour over enough liqueur to cover the fruit.

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon sugar in the warm water and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit until frothy. If it doesn’t foam up your yeast is probably no good. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the remaining sugar, flour and spices. Make a well in the centre.

Whisk together the milk, butter, egg and egg yolk. Pour into the well along with the yeast mixture.

Knead with your stand mixer until the dough pulls away from the bowl, 4 or 5 minutes. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Punch dough down and turn it onto a floured surface. Knead the fruit in with your hands. Roll the dough into a 12-inch log and cut into 9 to 12 pieces, depending on how big you like your buns (ha). Shape each piece into a ball an turn the dough over on itself until you have a smooth top. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes, until the tops are golden.

Meanwhile, stir the sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Brush the glaze generously over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Let cool completely.

Place the icing sugar in a small bowl and add the leftover liqueur by the teaspoon until it’s smooth enough to pipe.

Pipe a cross onto each bun.

Lick your fingers.

If you have even more leftover liqueur, you can try it in this.