Easy Hot Cross Buns
1/2 cup Triple Sec or orange juice
1/2 cup golden raisins………………………………......1 TB butter, melted & slightly cooled
1/2 cup milk (any kind ~ I like unsweetened vanilla almond or cashew milk), room temp.
3 TB granulated white sugar............................buttery non-stick spray (or extra butter)
1/2 tsp salt……………………………………………..........1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 envelope (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (about temperature of a baby's bath water)
3 cups all-purpose white flour…………………….....1 egg (lightly beaten)
Vanilla Icing: Can use a tube of vanilla decorator icing or make your own
1/2 cup powdered sugar…………………………….......1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-3 tsp. milk (any kind you want)
WHISK all together in small bowl until smooth & stiff
Orange Glaze: (optional)
1/4 cup orange marmalade or apricot jam (warmed about 25 seconds in microwave)
Use sugar-free orange marmalade or apricot jam for the Orange Glaze ** Use canned sugar-free vanilla frosting for the Vanilla Icing (I use the tip of a butter knife to draw the X).
Heat the Triple Sec/orange juice in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Take it out and put the raisins into the warm liquid. Push them down so they’re covered and let them soak, so they soften up. Set aside.
Put the butter, milk, sugar, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of your electric mixer. ** In a small bowl, stir the yeast & warm water until yeast has dissolved; then pour into mixer bowl. Gradually add the flour. Mix with paddle until combined then switch to dough hook and knead until soft and elastic (about 5 minutes at medium high speed). Knead in drained raisins with dough hook (about 30-45 seconds).
Put dough into a sprayed/greased bowl (turning over so top is greased too). Cover dough and allow it to rise for about one hour. It may not double in size, but it will puff up. (If your kitchen is cool, the top of your refrigerator or the counter next to the refrigerator is usually warm, or in the laundry room with the dryer turned on is warm. Or, run your dishwasher and put the covered bowl on top of the counter where it will be warm.)
Generously spray a 9x13” pan with buttery non-stick spray (it may look like you don't have enough dough to fill a 9x13" pan, but trust me! the rolls will rise to MORE than enough). Now punch dough down and knead by hand for about 1-2 minutes. Shape dough into rolls and put into pan (I did 3 rows of 5 rolls ~ doesn't have to be perfect ~ just try to get the tops as smooth as possible). Cover with dish towel and let rise again for about half an hour. PREHEAT oven to 375.
With sharp knife cut shallow cross into tops of buns (that's optional ** see note below) and brush with beaten egg. Pop into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Take out when tops are lightly golden brown. Brush hot buns with Orange Glaze. Let them cool before piping on vanilla cross.
When the buns have cooled mix up the powdered sugar and milk until the right consistency (not too runny or thick) and pipe (or pour) into cross indentation.
Whisk together all ingredients until smooth & thick (only add enough milk to bring it to a thick consistency). Pipe crosses into cross indentation. A Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off works well for this if you do not have a piping bag.
TIP: As with all sweet rolls, muffins & donuts, leftover Hot Cross Buns will taste fresh baked if you reheat them in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
NOTE: My husband is diabetic, so I wanted to do some with sugar-free glaze(s). I cut an X into the tops of the ones with sugar-free glaze, so that I knew which ones were sugar-free.