What could be better than the delicious smell of sticky, spicy hot cross buns coming from your oven this Easter weekend? I know the kids are off school and the family are coming to stay so the last thing you have time for is baking, but hear me out; this hot cross bun recipe is really simple, and cooking with your kids is a rewarding way of keeping them entertained while producing something delicious to feed the family with too.
This recipe comes from Jamie’s Ministry of Food Programme, which works across the UK to teach people the skills they need to be able to cook nutritious, delicious and seasonal meals for themselves and their families – hopefully by the end of this blog you will feel empowered to give this recipe a try at home with your kids. And trust us, once you’ve tried this homemade Easter treat, you’ll never go back to shop-bought again!
The first step of this recipe is to heat up some milk so it’s lukewarm and then stir in the yeast. The kids love it at the Ministry of Food centres when we tell them that the yeast is alive! Getting the temperature right here is key; too hot and the yeast will die, but too cold and they won’t activate – so you might need to lend a helping hand at this stage to ensure the temperature is just right.
Get the young ones to weigh out the flour and mix in all those fragrant spices and the sugar. Make sure you get the kids to smell each one before they add it. Ask them what they think it smells like – cinnamon and mixed spice, more often than not, evoke memories of crumbles and Christmas. One by one you can then add in the melted butter, eggs and yeasty milk mixture, then give it all a good stir until it comes together.
Next comes the fun part. Some of us grown ups might groan at the thought of kneading dough for 10 minutes and reach for our electric mixers, but kids love it. Make sure their hands are clean and get them involved, show them how to stretch, bash and fold the dough, then leave them to it.
Once it’s soft and springy leave it to rise for about an hour, until it has doubled in size. It’s amazing to see the fascination on a child’s face when they see how much the dough has risen. They then get to punch out all the air and add in the dried fruits. Jamie likes to mix it up with dried apricots or sour cherries, but get your kids to pick their favourites so they really feel like it’s their recipe.
Once the fruit is kneaded through you can shape your buns. Now, with the kids involved they might not all be uniform but that doesn’t really matter, so long as they are similar sizes. Leave them to rise for another 30 minutes while you make the paste that will form the all-important cross across the top of your buns. Again if you let the kids do this part they might look more like ‘hot squiggle buns’ but you can lend a helping (steady-ish) hand.
Now all that is left to do is to get them into the oven and enjoy the delicious cinnamon smell drifting through your kitchen. Once cooked, glaze them with a little honey and, if you can keep little (or larger) fingers away from them for long enough, let them cool before enjoying them spread with a little butter. They won’t last long!
To find out more about Jamie’s Ministry of Food visit www.jamiesministryoffood.com