Hot cross buns are one of my favorite things to make at Easter. Traditionally, you make and eat them on Good Friday. Hot cross buns are rich in history, and there is a lot of folklore surrounding them. It is said that if you share one with a friend, it will ensure friendship throughout the year. Some say that you need to kiss the bun before eating it. There are those who even believe that hot cross buns can protect against shipwrecks.
Most hot cross buns are made with currants or raisins and candied citrus. This version features lots of lemon and the sweet spiciness of crystallized ginger. Crystallized ginger can be found in the baking aisle or in the Asian section of your supermarket.
Start by mixing together milk, sugar, yeast, lemon zest and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer.
Let it sit for 5 minutes. It will start to foam.
Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.
Using the dough hook, knead until elastic, about 5 minutes. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
Let it rise in a warm place. I like to keep mine on top of my dryer. It is always running at my house, so it is always warm! After 1-1/2 hours, this is what it will look like.
Turn the dough out and cut into 12 pieces.
Roll the pieces into balls, and put in a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Make the glaze while the buns are baking. When the buns come out of the oven, brush them with all of the glaze. Let cool completely.
Make the icing, and pipe a cross onto the top of each bun.