The Post Box: Crafts, Recipes and Other Fun

Every now and then a gift will be arriving in  this Post box for you to find, a gift from me to you to help you celebrate the journey you are on and have a bit of creative fun along the way. If you don’t want to miss out on any either subscribe to ‘The Long Walk’ or check in here often. 

A Gift For Good Friday:

Lock-Down Hot Crossed Buns

Fill your home with the comforting smell of home baked goodness with traditional Hot Crossed Buns. I’m sharing with you our family recipe which comes with a twist of Jamaican-Australian spice. Enjoy! 

This recipe can be download as a PDF right here:   Hot Crossed Buns

 

What You Need…

The Dry Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup of plain white flour
  • 1/3 cup of sugar OR 1/3 Cup of honey* 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 teaspoons of Yeast

*(If using honey instead of sugar you may need to add flour to compensate as it will make the dough stickier. Also, add the honey to the liquid ingredients, not the dry ingredients)

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The Liquid Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup milk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup of soft butter (leave on the bench half an hour prior to starting)

The Spice Bit:

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground pimento (AKA All Spice)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • Lime peel, chopped finely (optional for extra zest)

Don’t have these spices? Just reach for the ‘Mixed Spice’ for baking.

The Fruity Bit:

  • 1 cup of dried currants, raisins, sultanas or other dried fruit of your choice.

If you don’t have dried fruit get creative; gummy bears? Chocolate bits? marshmallows? Or you could go minimalist and leave the fruity bit out altogether (my daughters favourite). 

The Cross Bit:

  • Plain flour 
  • Water 

Some people use sugar icing and vanilla but I personally think this is gaudy and sacrilegious. 

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The Shiny Bit:

  • 2 tbsp of golden syrup 

This bit is not essential, it just adds that bit of extra shiny sweetness drizzling over the buns after they’re baked. But let’s face it, we can all use a little extra shiny sweetness right now so go for it!

The important Bit:

  • Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds Soundtrack (available on youtube).

 

What you Do…
  • Wash your hands with soap for as long as it takes to say the Lords Prayer, or recite one of Shakespeares sonnets. 
  • Grease and flour a baking pan.
  • In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, yeast and spices).  

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  • In another bowl take out your lock-down frustration by beating together the liquid ingredients (milk, egg, butter and vanilla).
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture. Stir it in until it forms a nice dough and your spoon can stand upright in it. Add flour as needed if it is too sticky. 

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  • Flour your bench or chopping board and place the dough on it. 

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  • Press Play on the soundtrack to ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley
  • Pound, press, fold and knead the dough in time to ‘Three Little Birds’ (three minutes).

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  • Now do this one more time (playing the song over again) but this time kneading in the raisins (and/or other sweets) along with some dance moves and off-key singing. Please note that wooden spoons make excellent air guitars or karaoke microphones.
  • If possible film yourself doing this and share it on social media, because when on lockdown, sharing is caring.  #TheLongWalk  #LockDownHotCrossedBuns
  • Once the music finishes for the second time and your awesome dance moves are all expended, cover your dough with a clean cloth, place it in a room temperature location and then practice some social distancing from it for one hour.

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  • Then, while you wait, go and write an affirming email or text to that elderly relative who could use some encouragement right now.
  • After the hour is past, uncover the dough and using all the pent up energy and frustration you have from being cooped up inside on lock-down, punch the dough right in the middle. Feels good eh?!
  • Reshape the dough into a mound again and then leave it for another thirty minutes. This is just long enough to pick up the phone and call a friend and listen to them deeply about how they’re coping with this lock-down and pandemic.
  • Divide the dough into 12 or 16 balls and place them on a greased baking pan. Now once again, practice social distancing from your dough and leave it under a cover in a room temperature place for 40 minutes. Just long enough for that pilates session.

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  • Mix together the plain flour with a little water until it forms a paste (more ‘gloopy’ than ‘runny’). Place this inside an icing piper, or a plastic bag with a tiny corner cut off. 
  • Now the fun bit (and we like to make this a whole family affair as far as possible) take it in turns to squirt misshapen crosses on top of each ball of bun dough. My kids even started doing Celtic crosses as well! Smiley faces are also allowed, especially right now. 
  • While this is happening preheat your oven to 180’C/ 350’F. 

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  • Place the crossed buns (they’re not ‘hot’ yet) in oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden on top but not black on the bottom. 
  • Put the kettle on. Put your feet up with a cup of tea and enjoy the aroma of fresh baking as it wafts through your home, filling every corner with spicy Easter goodness.
  • But don’t burn the hot crossed buns!
  • When they are done, heat the golden syrup and drizzle it over the top of each one.

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  • Make more tea, spread some butter on the warm freshly baked buns and enjoy them with whomever else you are on lock-down with. It is ‘a truth universally acknowledged’ that Hot Crossed Buns always taste better when shared!*
  • If you can’t share them with others in person, share them online and share the recipe with friends so they can enjoy some too!

*What Jane Austen would have said had she tasted this delicious recipe!

Enjoy!   Happy Easter from me and my family to you and yours!

PS: If you have a bread-maker you can skip steps 5-9 and just pile everything in the bread-maker, press the dough setting and watch Downton Abbey re-runs again until it’s time to add the raisins. It’s okay. We won’t judge. 

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