Hot cross buns remain a popular Easter-time favourite. But most of the store-bought varieties are usually packed with unhealthy additives like high-fructose corn syrup. Now, how about making delicious hot cross buns with peanut butter and mixed raisins at home, instead of using some classic dyed citrus pieces? An for even more delicious buns we strongly advise using famous Pic’s peanut butter, 100% natural and made in New Zealand ! (Get your jar online here)

Ingredients

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground spice
3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
4 cups of wheat flour (all purpose)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup of low-fat milk
1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
1 cup of mixed raisins (large size)
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
4 eggs (large size)
1/2 cup of Pic’s smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon of salt
Baker’s yeast
1 Ziploc bag

Recipe

The total preparation time for this recipe is about 3 hours 20 minutes and it will produce 16 fresh and tasty hot cross buns. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Heat the milk: Pour the cup of milk into a tiny saucepan and heat it up till it reaches a temperature of about 37°C (100°F). You may use a candy thermometer to confirm the temperature. If you don’t have one, put some milk on your wrist (the inner side) and make sure it does not fell too hot. Very hot milk will destroy the yeast.

2. Add sugar and yeast: Empty the milk into a bowl and add a tablespoon of sugar till it dissolves completely. Gradually sprinkle the yeast on the milk with a teaspoon so it does not form lumps. After a few minutes, the yeast should become foamy. If it doesn’t produce foam, you have to repeat the process with fresh yeast.

3. Mix the dry ingredients with peanut butter: Add the nutmeg, ginger, spices, cinnamon, flour and remaining sugar to a mixer bowl that has a dough hook. Then use a measuring cup to mix the melted butter and peanut butter thoroughly. Add this mixture to the other dry ingredients and mix them with the mixer at medium speed till thy form small crumbs.

4. Create the dough: Beat the three eggs in a bowl and add the vanilla. Create a hole in the flour mixture and put the raisins, egg-vanilla mixture, and the proofed milk-yeast mixture. Mix them together at low speed to form the dough. Then knead the dough until it is elastic and springy. Sprinkle some flour on your kneading board and knead the dough with your hands to form a large ball. Coat it with a little vegetable oil. Place the dough in a bowl and cover it tightly with a plastic wrap until it has doubled in size. This could take about 90 minutes.

5. Cut the dough and let it rise again: Use parchment paper to cover 2 baking sheets. Remove the large dough from the bowl and divide it into two. Create two new dough balls by turning it on a floured surface. Knead them and cut each one into eight wedges of the same size. Then turn each one into a ball and place them on baking sheets. Cover them and allow them to rise for an hour.

6. Bake the buns: While the dough is rising for the second time, beat the last egg and mix it with one tablespoon of milk to create an egg wash. Then preheat the oven till it gets to 400F. Brush the buns dough with the egg wash. Next, place the buns dough in the middle of the oven and bake them in two or three batches each for about 10 minutes till they have a golden brown colour. Let them cool on a wire rack.

7. As you wait for the buns to cool, mix two tablespoons of milk with one teaspoon of vanilla and confectioners’ sugar to create thick icing. If it is too thick, you can add some milk to it. Use a spoon to put the icing in a Ziploc bag and then cut the corner to create a pipe for the icing to flow out. Use it to draw a cross on each of the buns and then serve them instantly.

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