At least this week I’m on top of things, unlike last week.

Easter is just days away, and I’ve been saving this recipe for Hot Cross Buns since last year.  Hot cross buns are a sweet, yeast bread traditionally made and eaten on Good Friday.  They are slightly spiced and often feature raisins or currants.  They are decorated with a “cross” on the top, formerly made out of pastry, but now more often made with icing.  Cooking Light’s version incorporates whole-grain flour, decreases the butter and uses fresh citrus zest instead of candied citrus peels.

For more history about hot cross buns, check out Wikipedia or Catholic Cuisine.

Try these recipes:

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns: Breadmaker version

Cooking Light’s Hot Cross Buns

I’ve been saving this recipe for a year, and am looking forward to making it next week.  I really enjoy using Cooking Light as a source for healthy recipes; not only to do provide nutritional information, but they often explain why ingredients are substituted and give tips on how to make a recipe healthier.  This recipe was a ‘makeover’ recipe–Cooking Light’s staffers were able to slash 100 calories, 3.4 grams of saturated fat and 116 mg of sodium per bun!

1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1/4 cup warm orange juice (120° to 130°) $
19 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 1/4 cups), divided
4.5 ounces whole-grain pastry flour (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon grated orange rind $
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg
1 package quick-rise yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm fat-free milk (120° to 130°) $
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg white

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1. To prepare rolls, combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Drain fruit in a colander over a bowl, reserving fruit and juice.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon 18.5 ounces (about 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour and pastry flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, salt, and next 5 ingredients (through yeast) in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached; mix until combined. Combine reserved orange juice, fat-free milk, honey, butter, and 2 eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. With mixer on, slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed 7 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Add reserved fruit. Knead 2 minutes or until smooth and elastic; add enough of remaining 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm, dry place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide into 24 equal portions; roll each portion into a ball. Place rolls in muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.

3. Preheat oven to 350°.

4. Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg white; stir with a whisk. Gently brush rolls with egg white mixture. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden, rotating pans once during baking. Remove from pans; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.

5. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until warm. Spoon glaze into a zip-top plastic bag. Seal bag; snip a tiny hole in 1 corner of bag. Pipe a cross on top of each warm roll.

Nutrition Information: 24 rolls

Calories: 179, Fat: 2.8g, Protein: 4.5g, Carbohydrates: 34.8g, Sugars: 10g, Dietary Fiber: 1.6g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 111mg


Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician.  She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related.  An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy.  Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive!  You can find her at