Do you ever have one of those ideas that just starts off as a seed of thought. And as it grows you become increasingly excited, filled with anticipation and subsequently, high expectations. But then EVERYTHING goes wrong?! This is, indeed, one of those stories with an Easter egg hunt of profound revelations I gained while baking hot cross buns! (And I’m sharing two bread roll recipes too, of course!)
A Story On Hot Cross Buns
Lori and I were brainstorming post ideas for the year when suddenly I felt my self saying “I want to make hot cross buns for Easter. I’ll do a story.” Wait, what?!
I’d never had a hot cross bun, let alone actually seen one in person! But perhaps that was the excitement of it all to me. Little did I know how much this tiny mustard seed of an idea would hold. That it would, indeed, become an “Easter Egg” hunt, about far more than just hot cross buns.
Legend Of The Donkey’s Cross
Traditionally when one thinks of Easter, bread rolls are not a forefront thought. But as the idea was developing I realized just how perfect it actually is. 🥚I recalled Bronner’s legend of the donkey’s cross and how perfectly it ties in with the cross on hot cross buns.🥚
Boom! That’s my story – or so I thought…
Lori and I turned to Bronner’s cookbooks to see if we could find a recipe, but alas, there were none for hot cross buns. We did, however, find a delicious recipe for “Aunt Beatty’s Rolls” in our 2nd edition cookbook.
The idea of transforming an everyday bread roll into an Easter treat was my second surprise as I took in how symbolic it is of🥚the transformation we have because of Christ’s love for us!🥚
I love to cook and bake. But, without a doubt, I am but a novice. I will be the first to confess that I am not the most confident nor am I the fairy godmother of the kitchen that this dough would need. As a result, I turned to chef Dietrich Bronner (and grandson of store originator Wally Bronner) to work his magic in transforming Aunt Beatty’s rolls into hot cross buns.
The idea of a sweet roll filled with fruit provides yet another parallel to our Christian life.🥚 It is a picture of the sweetness we receive with the gift of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us. 🥚And also of the fruit of the spirit we are to bare. Which, of, Christ says “you will know them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:16
It was in explaining my idea to Dietrich, that yet another revelation befell me. Whenever I think of making bread and kneading dough, I am reminded of T.D. Jakes’ analogy that 🥚it is the crushing of the dough that causes it to rise. 🥚The parallel of this of course is the crushing our Savior lovingly withstood for our sake so that we too could rise through Him. Could there be a better picture for an Easter story?!
Bronner’s Flavorful Favorites: Aunt Beatty’s Dinner Rolls
Aunt Beatty’s Rolls
- 1 pkg Yeast
- ¾ cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 tsp Butter
- 1 Egg
- 7 cups Flour
- Dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water. (About 110°F)
- Mix in sugar, salt, butter and egg.
- Add 4 cups of flour. Then gradually mix in the rest.
- Knead dough.
- Place in 2 ungreased pans and allow to rise until doubled in size.
- Punch down to remove air bubbles, then shape into balls, spacing a little apart.
- Put a warm, wet dishtowel over the rolls and allow to rise once more until doubled in size.
- Bake at 400°F for 12-13 minutes.
To begin, I simply made a half batch of dough. But interesting to note, I simultaneously baked half of my rolls on a parchment lined, metal baking sheet and the other half on a parchment lined ceramic baking dish. Here were the results:
Hot Cross Buns Recipe Left Me Feeling Like A Hot Mess
I was quite overwhelmed at the thought of transforming Aunt Beatty’s rolls into hot cross buns. Dietrich made it seem simple enough. With recipe in hand, I was ready for my baking day sans one ingredient, and here’s where the fun begins!
Apparently mixed peel is a seasonal item (at least here in Michigan). But it’s a pretty integral ingredient in traditional hot cross buns. I ran to 4 stores the morning I planned to bake, frantically searching for mixed peel, and struck out every time. (So be sure to plan ahead and order online if necessary if you want to give these sweet rolls a try for Easter!)
Behind The Scenes | Baking Day Disaster Diary
Little did I know that this was just a foreshadowing of how the day would go…
It felt like everything that could go wrong was. Consequently, a good chunk of my morning was spent wondering if it would be a “fruitful” workday or a wasted day off! I was beyond frustrated and felt myself shutting down, wanting to just nap it all off, but I couldn’t. It was in those moments when I realized just what I was supposed to be writing about for this Easter post, rising inside of me like yeast …
I wanted to capture a more beautifully polished video on “how to make hot cross buns,” as I had achieved when I baked Swedish Lusselbullar at Christmastime. And despite my best efforts, sabotaged by a barrage of mishaps, it was evident that was not going to happen. I stood – figuratively speaking – staring at the mirror looking for perfection with nothing but failure reflecting back at me. (Can I be honest? It felt like more of a slap!)
And in that moment it hit me. 🥚That in and of myself, it was not enough, it never could be … that’s why Jesus went to the cross! 🥚
Accepting the sacrifice of Jesus’ love restores us to right relationship with our Heavenly Father.
And in this beautiful revelation, I embraced the mess of my day. Disappointment turned to amusement as things continued not to go my way.
But despite the fact that I was unable to curate a beautiful “how to make hot cross buns” video, Dietrich did make a delicious recipe, which I hope you will enjoy nonetheless!
Hot Cross Buns Easter Recipe
- 1 1/8 tsp Yeast
- 6 tbsp Sugar
- ½ tsp Salt
- 4½ tbsp Butter
- 1 Egg yolk only
- 7/8 cup Mixed Peel
- 5/8 cup Crystallized Ginger finely chopped
- 1 scant cup Raisins soaked overnight in chai tea with juice from ½ of a lemon
- 2½ tsp Cinnamon
- 1½ tsp Ground Ginger
- ½ tsp All Spice
- 3½ cups Flour + 2 tbsp
- Zest From An Orange And Lemon
Flour Paste For Cross
- ½ cup Flour
- 5 tbsp Water
- ½ tsp Lemon Extract optional
Prepare Ahead Of Time
- Soak 1 scant cup of raisins in boiling water with a chai teabag and juice from half a lemon for a few hours or over night.
- Dissolve 1 1/8 tsp yeast with 6 tbsp sugar in 1 cup warm water until yeast is bubbly.
- Mix in ½ tsp salt, 4½ tbsp butter and 1 egg yolk.
In A Separate Bowl
- Combine the peel, candied ginger and zest.
- Drain the raisins and add those and in the mix with 2 tbsp flour.
- Combine fruit and yeasted mixture.
- Add 2½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp all spice and 2 cups flour, gradually mixing the (remaining 1½ cups ) flour in.
- Knead the dough 5-7 minutes. (Just until dough stretches without cracking.)
- Place in an oiled bowl and leave in a warm place to proof until doubled in size. Approximately 1½ hours.
- Once doubled, punch the dough down to remove air bubbles and divide into 12 equal pieces.
- Roll dough against the counter and the palm of your hand with pinched ends beneath to form a smooth roll.
- Place rolls on baking tray lined with parchment paper. Put warm, wet dishtowel over rolls. Let rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hr.
To Bake-In The Cross
- Mix ½ cup flour with 5 tbsp water to make a flour paste. (Incorporate lemon extract for flavor if using.) Add more flour or water as needed; mixture should be pipeable, but not too runny.
- Pipe cross shape over rolls after second rise, before placing in oven.
- Preheat oven to 400°F, Bake approximately 20 minutes.
How to Make The Cross In Hot Cross Buns
Regardless if you go all out with the fruit-filled sweet roll or choose the more humble dinner roll, either recipe can be enjoyed as a hot cross bun in one of two ways:
- The most simple version is to simply make an icing from confectioners sugar with 2-3 tbsp liquid. (Some options include orange juice, milk or water.) Then simply pipe a cross on your baked roll once it has cooled.
- Alternatively, you can create a flour paste such as the one found in our recipe above, and pipe a cross on before baking.
Gratitude For Grace
Thank you, Jesus, for grace. For the divine mercy that compelled you to choose the crushing of the cross so mankind can be made whole in You. Thank you for a love such as this world has never known, or can ever know, apart from you. You are my everything. Amen.
 “Crushing: God Turns Pressure Into Power with Bishop T.D. Jakes & Pastor Steven Furtick” YouTube – https://youtu.be/CzP23Zti-YI