Friday, 14 April 2017

Hot Cross Bunnies: a Cutesy Twist on a Traditional Favourite (Wheat Free)

What do you get if you pour a kettleful of water down a rabbit hole? Hot cross bunnies!

I know I shouldn't be so flippant on the day of our Lord's death, but it's a joke I always heard growing up. What better way to interpret it than in edible form?

Traditionally, hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday, as they are marked with Jesus' cross, and spiced in memory of his embalming. However, they are available throughout the entirety of Lent in most Irish and UK supermarkets. Easter in my household is indeed a religious celebration, and not just a social custom, as it has become for most Irish and British people. As such, I like to honour the traditional Christian practices at this time of year.

My mother for years has been deprived of hot cross buns and, seeing as in the past six months I've properly learnt how to make yeast risen dough, I thought I'd break her fast, pardon the Lenten pun.

I made a batch of sweet bread dough according to this recipe, only added in about 3 ounces (85 grammes) of dried mixed fruit with candied peel, 2 teaspoons mixed spice, and 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. If you don't like dried fruit however (like my companion: he hates dried fruit), you can use the same amount of chocolate chips, or nuts.

I divided the dough into 12 pieces, and roll into balls. I arrange on one or two flat trays, depending on size, about two or three inches (5 to 8 centimetres) apart so that they wouldn't touch each other as they rose and baked, and slightly flattened so they didn't rise into giant balls, but domed as they rose instead. I then proofed until the buns doubled in size. Make sure to roll the dough balls better than I did, however, mine went a little mental and lost their shape because I didn't tighten the surfaces of the dough balls.

Once they doubled, I used scissors the cut the ears out of the bunnies, and pulled them away from the bodies slightly. I then brushed the bunnies with some eggwash. Then, I mixed about 2 ounces (55 grammes) of white spelt flour with enough water, a teaspoon at a time, until it became think and pipe-able, like royal icing. I piped on the crosses on the bunnies' backs using a small baking paper piping cone. Putting the crosses on after eggwashing means the bunnies become golden, but the crosses stay white.

I baked on the centre shelf of an oven preheated to 180°C (350°F, Gas Mk.4) for 15 to 20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. If the bunnies' ears begin to burn, cover the bunnies with tin foil, but mine were okay. I removed them from the oven and, while they were still warm, I brushed them with golden syrup. You could use apricot jam, or honey, or even just some icing sugar mixed to a syrup with hot water.

They're delicious straight from the oven, but I recommend letting them cool down a little so they're easier to cut open and lather with butter.

These however, don't keep very well. Like with all my other recipes made with sweet bread dough, eat on the day they're made, and toast the next day; on day three, they're only good for bird food.

THIS TIME IN 2016: Buttermilk Scones (Wheat Free)
There was no blog this time in 2014

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