Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Heart-Shaped Hot Cross Buns

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

I was thinking about this well known Bible verse as Good Friday approaches and wondered what meaningful bake I can do to remind the kids about God's love displayed through Jesus' death on the cross for our sins. Shops are stocking up on chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies as Easter approaches, and I thought it would be good to teach my kids from young that Easter is not about eggs and bunnies, but rather a time to be reminded of God's love and salvation for a fallen mankind.

I decided on a simple bake as I just baked a cake for a friend's mini party yesterday (will blog about it soon) and didn't want to stress myself... a simple twist to the humble hot cross buns. I made them heart-shaped to represent God's love :). I also added red colored dried cranberries to symbolize Jesus' blood poured out for us.

As I still have some whipping cream left over from my early grey salted caramel macaron bake, I decided to make the buns using Hokkaido milk bread as the bread base. The recipe is adapted from Guai Shu Shu (for the Hokkaido milk bread base) and the April 2014 edition of the magazine GoodFood by BBC (for hot cross buns). You may find the quantity of some ingredients a little strange. That's because I was trying to finish the cream :P.

Ingredients (makes 10 small buns):
Bread dough
176g bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
24g plain flour
1.5 tbs caster sugar
1 tsp dry yeast
1/5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice
40g dried cranberries (soaked in juice, drained and patted dry with paper towels)
18g egg, beaten
94g milk
75g whipping cream

Paste for making the crosses
25g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp caster sugar
2-2.5 tbs water

1. Combine all the dry ingredients (except for the cranberries) for the bread dough in a large bowl, adding in the salt only after everything else has been mixed thoroughly. Add in the wet ingredients (egg, milk and cream) and mix with a wooden spoon until a rough dough is formed.
2. Pour the dough onto lightly floured work surface or use a non-stick mat and hand knead the dough until it passes the windowpane test. About 15-20 minutes. Add flour a bit at a time if the dough is too sticky. You may use a breadmaker or standmixer to help you with the kneading. I personally prefer hand kneading as I can have a better feel of when the dough is ready.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with cling wrap. Let it proof until doubled in size. Mine took about 45 minutes.
4. Punch down the dough and knead in the cranberries. Divide the dough into 45-46g balls and shape them into heart shapes or use a silicone heart-shaped mould if you happen to have. If you don't have a mould, place the shaped buns onto a baking tray lined with baking sheet and cover loosely with cling wrap for the second proof, about 45 minutes-1 hour or doubled in size.
5. Towards the end of the second proof, preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Prepare the paste for piping the crosses on the buns. Mix the ingredients together to form a thick paste and place it in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. I used Wilton #5 tip. Egg wash the buns with the leftover egg (18g of egg in the dough means there's definitely leftover egg) and pipe crosses on the buns.
6. Bake for 15 minutes and cool the buns on a cooling rack.

Here's a peek at the inside of a bun:

These buns are not as sweet as traditional hot cross buns so it would be good to eat them with jam if you have a sweet tooth. You may also choose to add apricot jam glaze instead of egg washing the buns if you don't intend to toast them again before eating. I gave away some freshly baked buns to my younger kid's busmate and little brother because the timing for picking the kids up was just right for enjoying fresh buns. Our little friends enjoyed the buns without any jam and they loved it!

My hubby and kids enjoyed the buns very much too :). Happy Easter to all!

With love,
Phay Shing

No comments:

Post a Comment