We didn't quite get to everything on our Easter activity list - since the girls had already made empty tomb cookies and since they had a particularly bad attitude on the afternoon we were going to do them, we didn't make the cookies this year. However, we had fun dying Easter eggs and we made Hot Cross Buns. The hot cross buns turned out fantastic - it reminded me why baking from a raised yeast dough is so amazing. They were white flour goodness! We ate a few, gave some to friends, and unfortunately, the saran wrap got left open and the next morning, they were hard and yucky. I had ambitions of making bread pudding out of the rolls but let's be honest - I would probably be the one here to eat most of it and I'm trying to get back to my normal shape, not eat loads of bread soaked in cream and eggs.
Hot Cross Buns (made 2 dozen)
1.5 cups boiling water
1/4 cup chilled butter, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup evaporated milk
1 T (2 half ounce packages) active dry yeast
2 large eggs, beaten
5-7 cups bread flour
1 T butter, melted
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
Put chopped butter into a large bowl and pour boiling water over it, stirring until butter is dissolved. Stir in sugar and salt. Stir in 1 cup of evaporated milk and let mixture cool until lukewarm (about 95 degrees F). Keep the rest of the evaporated milk in the can - you can use this to make the icing at the end.
Stir yeast into lukewarm liquid. Mix in eggs and 4 cups of flour. Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. I think I added about an extra cup and a half. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn it over so that the top is lightly greased. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and knead for 3 minutes. Shape the dough into buns. Set the buns on greased or lined baking sheets (I used Silpat - you can use parchment paper). Cut a cross into the top of each bun. I used kitchen shears and made a cut lengthwise and crosswise. Cover and let them rise for about 30 minutes or until they've doubled in bulk. Bake at 425 degrees for 7-12 minutes. Remove buns from the oven and brush with melted butter. Set on a rack to cool.
Mix confectioner's sugar with enough evaporated milk to make a thick icing (or you can use regular milk). Ice the cross that you cut into each bun. Let stand until icing thickens on buns. Best eaten the same day.
On Easter, we had a great day with family at church and at my parents' house. My girls wore fancy Easter dresses, had an egg hunt with cousins and really enjoyed the day as well. Hope you have good Easter memories from 2013 as well!