Hot Cross Buns (British)
- Heat milk in a small saucepan to 110 degrees F (43 degrees C); pour milk into a bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour and yeast into milk; cover with plastic wrap and let stand until bubbly, about 15 minutes.
- Place 1 2/3 cups flour, 1/3 cup white sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment; turn mixer on for a few seconds on low speed to combine. Place butter into flour mixture; mix on low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Place yeast mixture and egg into flour mixture; mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Stop mixer and allow to rest for 10 minutes; mix on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. At slowest speed, mix currants and citron into dough until evenly distributed, about 1 minute.
- Butter the inside of a large bowl; place dough in bowl, turn to butter dough on all sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough into a rough square, and cut into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round bun; place on prepared baking sheet. Press a cross into each bun with the back of a knife; cover buns with a damp cloth and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Bake buns in the preheated oven until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Bring 2 tablespoons white sugar with 1 tablespoon water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove buns from oven; lift parchment and transfer buns to a wire rack. Brush immediately with sugar glaze; allow buns to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
- Stir confectioners’ sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons water together in a small bowl; heat icing mixture in microwave until smooth and warm to the touch, about 10 seconds. Place icing in a sandwich bag, snip off one corner of the bag, and pipe in a cross over fully cooled buns; allow icing to dry for 30 minutes.
Cook’s Note:For advance preparation, bake buns, but do not apply glaze or icing. Freeze. When ready to serve, defrost at room temperature (about 20 minutes), place on baking sheet and reheat in oven preheated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 5 minutes. Apply glaze and icing.
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