Hot Cross Bun Cinnamon Rolls! The perfect combination of delicious cinnamon rolls with all the spices and dried fruit that you love about hot cross buns! A must have for Easter brunch.
Ok, how is it almost Easter already? Wasn’t it just Christmas?? Anyway, I’m pretty excited about Easter this year. Like Christmas, it’s one of those holidays that suddenly becomes more magical when you have a kid. Even though said kid is not allowed to eat chocolate this Easter. C’mon, she’s my first baby…I’m allowed to be strict!
Unfortunately for her, she’s also not allowed these Hot Cross Bun Cinnamon Rolls. Bad luck Sadie, because these babies are for sure the best bread related recipe to come out of my kitchen, definitely this year, maybe even ever. I love my regular cinnamon rolls – which, by the way I have just updated the baking time to LESS…less is more as I have learnt this time around. Normally I would go for 20-25 minutes baking time for my rolls, covering them in tinfoil after 12 minutes or so to stop them from going too brown. No more!! 15 minutes baking time. The end. As soon as those tops start looking a little bit golden brown, whip them out of the oven and they will be the soft pillowy, spicy sugary rolls of your dreams (just mine?)
Cinnamon rolls (or hot cross bun rolls) are a perfect introduction to breadmaking as they don’t need to rise too much. And to be fair, there is a bit more of a margin for error than there is with a loaf of bread. If you are unsure about baking with yeast, don’t be! Let me walk you through it.
1. Proofing the yeast. I use active dry yeast or instant dry yeast packages – either will work. Mix it in with warm water (40-45°C or 104-113°F if you have a thermometer, or reasonably warm tap water – more than lukewarm but less than hot) and sugar and let it sit and bubble for 10 minutes. You will know at this stage if the yeast is ok to use or not. If you have old yeast, the mixture won’t do much. Throw out the yeast and start again. If the yeast is good, the mixture will foam up. Perfect!
2. Kneading. Mix in the rest of the dough ingredients and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and springs back when pressed lightly. I like using the dough hook and the lowest speed on my cake mixer but kneading it by hand is a very satisfying method! Just make sure your work surface and hands are lightly floured to stop it sticking.
3. The first rise. Place the kneaded dough in a large bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place to rise until almost doubled in size. This will take around 1 hour but could be more or less depending on the temperature where you are. I put it outside or on a sunny windowsill if the weather is warm, or in the hot water cupboard if it’s cooler. You can also heat your oven to the lowest temperature, turn it off and let the dough rise in there.
4. Rolling it out. Once the dough has risen, roll it into a 45cm x 25cm rectangle, spread it with softened butter and sprinkle with all the goodies – dried fruit followed by the sugar and spices. I used cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg for maximum flavour. Roll it up tightly, slice into 12 evenly sized pieces and place them in a greased baking dish. And if you are one of those non traditionalists who doesn’t like fruit in their hot cross buns (who even are you?) you can leave it out and just use the sugar and spices. They’ll still be pretty delicious.
5. The second rise. Put the rolls back in the warm place for another 40-50 minutes until the rolls have almost doubled in size again. Now they’re ready to bake!
6. Bake them! Bake for 15 minutes – as soon as they start getting the slightest bit brown on the tops, take them out. They will be perfect! If you leave them too long they will still be good, just not quite as soft and fluffy, which is how you want them.
Optional, but highly recommended step – the glaze! I never used to glaze my cinnamon rolls…rookie mistake. The glaze takes them from delicious to amazing! I made my favourite maple syrup glaze but this time I added the zest of an orange which goes really well with the hot cross bun flavours. Mix up the glaze when you have taken the rolls out of the oven to give them time to cool a little bit and then pour it over. Or pour over right before serving if you’re not eating them immediately.
These rolls can also be frozen which works really well for Easter. Make them ahead of time (unglazed) and freeze in a large snaplock bag, thaw them in the fridge overnight and then warm them up in the oven in the morning and glaze.
Hot Cross Bun Cinnamon Rolls are the most delicious puzzle for your taste buds. Is is a hot cross bun? Is it a cinnamon roll? Either way, they’re perfect and they NEED to be on your Easter Brunch menu!
Hot Cross Bun Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 tsp (8g) instant dry yeast (1 package of Edmond's instant dry yeast)
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 1/4 cup warm water (40-45°C/104-113°F - see note 1)
- 2 1/2 cups (350g) high grade/bread flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup warm milk (warm to the touch)
- 25 grams butter (melted)
- 1 egg
- 25 grams butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/4 cup mixed peel
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp nutmeg
Orange Maple Glaze
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 1/2 TBSP milk
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- Zest of 1 orange (about 2 tsp)
- In a large bowl (the bowl for your stand mixer if using) add the yeast, sugar and warm water and whisk gently to combine. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until the mixture is foamy.
- Add the remaining dough ingredients and knead using a stand mixer with the dough hook on low speed, or by hand for about 10 minutes, or until the dough forms a soft ball that springs back when lightly pressed. You should be able to handle the dough without it being too sticky, so add slightly more flour if you need.
- Transfer into a large clean bowl and cover in gladwrap or a clean tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for 40-50 minutes or until almost doubled in size (see note 2)
- Tip the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll out into a rectangle that is 45cm x 25cm (approx).
- Combine the dried fruit in a small bowl. Combine the sugar and spices in another small bowl. Spread the softened butter all over the dough and sprinkle the dried fruit evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the sugar and spice mixture evenly over top of the dried fruit.
- With the longest edge close to you, tightly roll the dough up into a roll, pinching the end slightly to seal the roll. Using a sharp knife, slice into 12 pieces and place in a well greased baking dish leaving about 1cm gap between each roll.
- Cover the baking dish in gladwrap or the same tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise again for 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and bake for 15 minutes or until the rolls are just starting to go brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before glazing and eating.
Orange Maple Glaze
- Mix all ingredients together and pour over the rolls immediately before serving.
- If you are not eating the rolls immediately, skip the glaze step, cover the rolls and store at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready to use them. Heat through in the oven when you are ready to eat and then glaze them. You can also freeze the rolls the day of baking in a large snaplock bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then heat in the oven (180°C/350°F for around 10 minutes or until warmed all the way through) before glazing and serving.