This will be a quickie – it’s Easter weekend and of course, I’m in work. On nights to be precise. However, as this recipe has been on my radar for two years and I like to try and challenge the procrastination gene which courses through every cell in my body every now again. Just to keep me on my toes ;). Not too often mind – the pre-emptive day-dreaming stage is not to underestimated in the creative process ;). So, this one is for all of you who didn’t have time to make the bestest Hot Cross Buns this year like me (get my favourite recipe here) but need a fix of sugar and spice and all things nice to dunk in your tea. I give you – Hot Cross Biscuits.
Yup that’s right – it’s biscuit dough! With plenty of orange and lemon zest, muscovado sugar and sultanas not to mention cinnamon, mixed spice and ground ginger. So if yeast intimidates you, you’re new to baking or simple are too impatient to make those delicious soft sweet buns then please – beat some butter and flour together with the afore mentioned ingredients then roll out between two pieces of cling. Lightly flouring them eliminates any chance of them sticking as you roll, cut and transfer. And FYI, this dough re-rolls admirably. I did it four times with no perceptible change in texture.
Part bake, brush with some melted jam (I used marmalade rather than apricot jam) then finish baking. This glaze gives that shiny finish to the biscuits only normally seen on egg washed baked buns and is a wee stroke of genius. I just love Miranda’s recipes (finalist from the first series of the Great British Bake Off and author of the book Biscuit, from which these biccies of course come). Her brownie meringue cake is the most splendid birthday cake I’ve ever made!
Once cool a matter of minutes on a rack, pipe an orange juice thick glacé icing cross and you’re done.
Fill your favourite cookie jar and inhale. Float away on a cinnamon cloud. Ahhh. The world once more makes sense! It’s great fun to eat something which looks, smells and is even shaped very much like an instantly recognisable bun but crumbles in the mouth like a biscuit. The inclusion of some wholemeal flour gives the very desirable sandy texture and taste of a digestive biscuit. Never a bad thing in my book. Plus a bonus – bics keep longer than buns so you don’t *have* to gorge yourself on hot cross buns morning, noon and not, reinventing bread and butter puddings or French toast style puds and breakfasts with the leftovers. You want a hot cross biccie three days after you made them? They will still be just as good kept in a biscuit jar. Although, I’m doubtful they’ll make beyond Easter Monday morning, when I finish my current set of nights. Hungry Hubs will be reminded to get the kettle on before I get home I can tell you ;).
It is also rude to not have a landslide of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs in Casa Cranny during the peri-Easter period – these will meet their maker in the form of mint chocolate cupcakes, methinks. Do come find me on Facebook to see what I make with these later this week. Well that’s the plan – but let’s not forget the importance of creative daydreaming. It may take me a wee while longer than advertised.
- 125 g unsalted butter softened
- 50 g caster sugar
- 25 g soft light brown sugar
- 2 tsp finely grated orange zest
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1 egg yolk
- 100 g plain white flour
- 50 g plain wholemeal flour
- 25 g cornflour
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground mixed spice
- 40 g currants
- 40 g sultanas
- 20 g mixed peel
- 3 tsp apricot jam
- 50 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Cream the butter, sugars and zests together then mix in the egg yolk
Sift together the flours, cornflour and spices and mix into the butter mixture adding the dried fruit and peel (if there is any bran in the sieve from the wholemeal flour, add that now)
Bring together to form a dough with your hands then roll out between two sheets of cling film or reusable baking parchment to about 5mm thick.
Cut out with a 7-8cm diameter cookie cutter and place on a lined baking tray well spaced, baking for approx 10 minutes.
Mix the apricot jam with 1 tbsp just boiled water and at 10 minutes, brush the biscuits with the jam and return to the oven for 5 more minutes only.
Cool on a rack.
Mix the icing sugar and orange juice together to form a thick icing, place in a piping bag with a thin nozzle or a strong food bag with the corner cut off and pipe crosses on the cold biscuits, leaving until set before eating.
Once the biscuits are completely cold, mix together the icing sugar and orange juice. Spoon into a piping bag or freezer bag, snip off the corner to give a hole about 2mmwide, and pipe a cross on top of each biscuit. Leave to set.
Adapted from Miranda Gore Browne's book, Biscuit
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