Chef John Folse's Sinfully Simple Hot Cross Buns

Prep Time: 3 Hours
Yields: 18 Buns

There are many recipes out there for hot cross buns, traditionally served in England around Easter. The buns bear a cross, which represents the cross of Christ, but the breads may actually hark back to pagan rituals honoring goddesses. This recipe offers a quick and tasty version that's so simple, you may want to break it out at other times of the year.


1 package frozen white dinner rolls, thawed, but still cold
½ cup sugar
½ tsp mace
? tsp powdered ginger
? tsp cinnamon
½ cup raisins or dried currants
½ cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350º F.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, mace, ginger and cinnamon. Taking one roll at a time, carefully make indention in center with your thumb. Sprinkle a small portion of the sugar mixture and a few raisins and pecans in center. Pinch dough together and form into a ball, continuing until all dough is rolled.  Place each bun ½ inch apart on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Let rise, uncovered, 30 minutes or until doubled in size. With a sharp knife, cut a cross no more than ½-inch deep in each bun. Bake 15-20 minutes or until buns are brown. Remove from oven and cool before icing. NOTE: For shinier hot cross buns, brush with egg wash after rolls rise and before baking.

Ingredients for lemon icing:

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1½ tbsps milk


In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour icing in a pastry bag fitted with small plain tip. Pipe a cross over top of each bun, following imprint of incision. Let stand 20 minutes or until set before serving.