Thursday, 28 March 2013

Caramel-Studded Hot Cross Buns

I watched a pair of King Parrots grazing in the trees of my front garden. They were having a lovely time picking and choosing things to eat. They particularly like the "nuts" on a certain conifer I have growing very close to our front door. Actually, I don't know if they were eating them, or just picking them for fun. They're like my kids that way. Every time my boys pass this plant, they grab a handful of the nuts and play "Who can throw the nut the furthest?" or that other game, "Let's throw nuts at each other, until one of us is either crying or cranky." - yeah, I love that game!

On with the show...

My kids are like the King Parrots when it comes to their Hot Cross Buns too. (I know King Parrots don't eat hot cross buns, but they are choosy about what they like to eat which is the point I'm trying to make... K?) My boys like the "bun" part, but WILL NOT countenance dried fruit under any circumstances. Enter Caramel Bits - yay Mr Nestle  - you just saved Easter. If I made buns with dried fruit in them, it would be up to Clint and I to eat them all, which would leave no room for chocolate eggs and that, my friends, would be a tragedy.

Whatever you're eating, I hope you have a lovely Easter break.

Caramel-Studded Hot Cross Buns
adapted from Genevieve Taylor's A Good Egg via Matching Food & Wine
Makes 12

For the Buns:
150ml warm water (use half cold water and half boiling water)
1 sachet dried yeast
40g caster sugar
500g strong bread flour
1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspon salt
50g butter, melted
1 egg
75ml warm milk
olive oil for greasing
75g Caramel Bits
Finely grated zest of an orange

For the Crosses:
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons cold water

For the Glaze:
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons boiling water

Make the Buns:
Line a 20cm x 30cm and 6cm deep baking pan with baking paper. Set aside

Pour the water into a jug. Sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the caster sugar over the top then whisk it in. Set aside for 10 minutes. The water and sugar will activate the yeast and the mixture will be frothy.

In another jug, whisk the melted butter, warm milk and egg together.

Sift the flour, spice, salt  and the rest of the caster sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Pour in the yeast mixture and the egg mixture and mix on low speed for about 7 minutes until a soft, elastic dough is formed.
Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling film. Place in a warm spot and leave to rise until it has doubled in size. This can take up to two hours or more depending on the temperature of your room.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and flatten slightly with your hands. Sprinkle over the caramel bits and the zest of the orange and knead the dough just to incorporate the caramel bits and zest, about a minute.

Cut the dough into 12 even portions and roll each portion into a ball and place into the prepared pan. Make sure the tin is deep enough so that the buns won't stick to the cling film when they have risen. Cover with a double layer of clingfilm and leave to rise again for about 30 -40 minutes or until the buns have risen by about half.

Preheat the oven 220 degrees C.

Make the Crosses: 
Mix the flour and cold water into a smooth past. Spoon into a piping bag, or plastic zip-lock bag, snipping of a very small corner and pipe crosses onto each bun.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Make the Glaze:
Dissolve the caster sugar in the boiling water. Brush the hot buns with the the glaze as soon as they are out of the oven and piping hot. 

Cool buns on a wire rack, then scoff with cups of hot tea.


  1. These look great! My husband would love me to pieces if I made these for him-especially with that caramel!

  2. Your photography is getting better and better. I love the photos of the parrots, great capture. Oh, and I like your cross that is!

  3. Your explanations are just too cool!!! Comparing your kids to those beautiful birds, I love it :) I could read what you're writing all day long!!! & gosh, those cross buns will be in my head all day. I don't really have much time to make these but I will find it!!! My faimily would love that :)

  4. I've been thinking about making hot cross buns this week and you've now just convinced me. They look fantastic! So wish I could get my hands on those chocolate caramel bits..

  5. Leave it to you to make the most gorgeous hot cross buns EVER. And with caramel. Too much.

  6. I've never made hot cross buns because i dislike dried fruit immensely. I don't know if I can find those caramel bits here, but something along those lines would be fabulous. Yummy!

  7. Thanks for this recipe! I have been thinking about making these for years (we don't have them here) but never got around to it. Maybe this year I will give it a go:)

  8. Hey Dawn. What is it with boys and caramel? The men in my house are the same :)

  9. Hehe Patty. There has been an awful lot of references to my buns since I posted these, I'm starting to become self conscious LOL!

    I'm so glad you like the photos - I'm loving working with the camera.

  10. Hey Gabrielle. You're so sweet.

    Those parrots are so cheeky and cute, just like my boys.

    You definitely need to make time to make these buns Gabrielle - you're so good with yeast.

  11. Hey Pink Patisserie - Like most yeast baking, these take a little time but they are really easy to make. Milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips would work equally as well.

  12. Oh thanks so much Little Kitchie. The caramel takes them to a whole new level - sort of "pimp my baked goods".

  13. You're welcome Sara. If you like the traditional Hot Cross Bun with dried fruit, then just leave out the Caramel Bits and replace with the same about of raisins/sultanas/currants/dried citrus peel. Enjoy!

  14. Thanks Michele. I hear you about the dried fruit. You could use milk or dark chocolate chips instead of the Caramel Bits, I'm sure they'd be just as delicious.

  15. Those parrots are beautiful! How awesome to see them in your yard! The hot cross buns are equally as beautiful! Love the idea of caramel in them!

  16. Thanks so much Laura. We are very lucky to have these parrots in our garden. They are very entertaining.

    These are the best hot cross buns I've made so far - and I've made a few over the years.

  17. I love the addition of the caramel bits! (I can see myself adding some chocolate chips as well ...) Such a lovely (and funny) post!

  18. Thanks Mari. A few extra choc-chips is always welcome where I come from.

  19. Do they still have caramel chips where you are? I saw them in Coles once and bought two bags but then they were reduced to clear and they've disappeared :(

  20. @why-in-the-heck Yup, Caramel Bits still going strong here. Though you've put the fear of no-Caramel-Bits into me now and I might just have to do a mercy dash to Coles to stockpile some.

  21. These look great! I love hot cross buns.

    Here is another simple hot cross buns you might like.

    Thanks for sharing

  22. Replies
    1. Thanks Liz. I've just made some Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns. You can never have to many versions of hot cross buns in my humble opinion.