Lemon Lime Raisin Hot Cross Buns

A belated Happy New Year to you all! I hope you’ve all had a great start and are excited to see what 2013 has in store for us.

Mmmmm hot cross buns. Even the name sounds ooey-gooey delicious. Dig in!
Mmmmm hot cross buns. Even the name sounds ooey-gooey delicious. Dig in!

If you don’t know about Freecycle yet, or don’t have it (or some equivalent), you should seriously consider starting up a chapter in your ‘hood. It’s such a great way to ensure that the stuff you no longer want for gets picked up by someone who desperately wants it. I recently picked up about 15 Food & Drink magazines from 1995 (ish) to present, and I’m beyond thrilled. For those of you who don’t know, Food & Drink is published by the Ontario liquor board 4 times a year. It’s handed out for free in all LCBOs, but they’re always snapped up so fast that I tend to miss them more than not. You’d never guess it’s a freebie, because the food photography is mouth-watering and the recipes are thoughtful and well-researched. Obviously most feature some sort of liquor, but there are lots of recipes that are just meant to be paired with wine. This recipe was inspired by the Spring 2009 issue, and it’s AMAZING! Just be prepared – though it’s an easy recipe, it feels like it takes FOREVER. You’ll understand it’s worth the time though when you take your first bite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flax, almond, rice or soy milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar cane
  • 1 tbsp dry instant yeast
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced (just have 2 small bowls on-hand and mix ’em together: one for the zest and one for the juice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups unbleached flour (I haven’t tried the gluten-free version yet, but I assume a mix of sorghum, white rice and coconut flour would be ok. Let me know if you try it!)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (see above)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 ground cloves
  • About 1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or currants

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  • 2 tbsp water

For the icing:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  • 1 tsp coconut milk

Grab your upright mixer or a large bowl and spoon. Stir the milk, sugar, yeast, lemon/lime zest and vanilla together and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and raisins and stir. Knead the dough until it’s elastic, but still a little sticky. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it in a warm place for 1.5 hours. Go do something fun for the next hour and a half, as long as you don’t stir up a draft – you dough needs a warm, snuggly place to rise.

After 1.5 hours, turn out your dough onto a floured surface (keep your plastic wrap!) and cut it into 8-12 pieces (depending on how huge you want your buns). Roll each piece into a ball and place in a lightly oiled baking dish. Cover the dish with the plastic wrap (no need to use another sheet if you saved it from the previous step) and let it rise in that same warm spot for another 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake your buns for 40-45 minutes, or until they’re nice and golden brown. Now get to work making your glaze: stir the sugar, lemon/lime juice and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once the buns come out of the oven, poke the tops with a skewer then brush the glaze over them repeatedly, allowing the glaze to soak in before the bun gets anther swipe. Leave them in the pan to cool.

Now whip up your icing by stirring the icing sugar, lemon/lime juice and coconut milk together, and spoon or pipe over the buns (once they’re cool). These buns are best eaten the day of, but apparently they can also be frozen. Happy eating!

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