Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday in England, but we always had them throughout Lent in New York. John and I thought of them about the same time. We didn’t find any in the supermarket, so I earmarked a bit of the refrigerator dough for them. Instead of kneading candied fruit into the dough, I sprinkled some on top and rolled it up. The next morning the rolls sat on the counter for half an hour before being baked. I stirred together a little milk and confectioner’s sugar for the cross markings. They tasted very good to us, probably because we haven’t had any in four years.

032418 Hot Cross Buns.JPG

When our children were little, I baked hot cross buns to share with the neighbors. We went to four houses, singing the traditional song as we delivered them. I looked for the music and evidently threw away the book. Internet to the rescue!

The words are:

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters, give them to your sons.

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot cross buns!

 

38 thoughts on “Hot Cross Buns

      1. Wow! You really had choices! There is one commercial bakery that sells to the whole northeast, and they have only one kind. Perhaps there are good ones in independent bakeries. Here in the southern part of the US, no one knows about hot cross buns.

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  1. I remember singing that song in kindergarten. I like European-style hot cross buns which are more yeasty than the American cake-like ones. We’re fortunate because we have a German bakery near enough to us that we can get the “real” thing there. Best part of Easter Sunday, if you ask me!

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      1. I went to a Presbyterian kindergarten and we sang this song, although I don’t think it was part of Easter in particular. I think our teachers just liked the tune.

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      2. Could you hear the song on my post? I’m wondering if that is the same tune you knew. There are several different ones. The music I couldn’t find had different words at the end. They were, “If you have no daughters, if you have no daughters, if you have no daughters, pray give them to your sons. But if you have none of these little elves, then you must eat them all yourselves.”

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      3. I listened to the song on your post. It’s the exact tune and words that I learned growing up. I don’t know anything about elves in regard to hot cross buns. You’re on your own figuring that one out, darling! 😮

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  2. In our house we like them only with raisins or plain — no candied fruit. That’s hard to find around here. I was sorry I couldn’t hear the singing. Probably something on my side.

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  3. Hello Anne.
    I’ve never seen icing on a Hot Cross Bun before, so this was a new one on me.

    Here, in the UK, the cross on a Hot Cross Bun is made using a paste of flour and water.
    If you’d like to have a go at making Tradition British Hot Cross Buns I share a link to the BBC Website, where they have a list of ingredients and the full ‘Method’ for making them.
    https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2066661/hot-cross-buns

    Once cooked and cooled, these are normally split in half (cut in half with a knife) and buttered. But …. you can also toast them and butter them.
    They’re YUMMY, Anne. 🙂
    Sending squidges ~ Cobs. xxx

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    1. I found of photo of hot cross buns I made a few years ago, and they looked more like the ones in the link you sent. It’s interesting that the cross is made of flour and water and baked. The ones in the US always have crosses made of icing. Have you had any this year?

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      1. We have indeed Anne. They’re very much a favourite in our house. Although they’re available ready made, following the traditional recipe, from bakers, and bakery sections in supermarkets – there’s something extra wonderful about making them from scratch at home, following that recipe I gave you the link to. (I do have my own ‘tweaked’ recipe, but tapping that out would take me all day! LOL)

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hot Cross Buns made with icing before, until I saw the ones you’d made in this post. I was a totally new thing to me, and I even showed Mr.Cobs and asked him if he’d seen iced Hot Crossed Buns anywhere, and he hasn’t either. So you must be right – only made like that in the USA.

        Like the saying goes … ‘you learn something new every day’! 😀

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      2. Afraid I don’t have the answer to that one Anne, but I’ve never seen them on sale here.
        However … I’ve done a bit (not a great big, just a couple of pages or so) of an internet search to see if there were any places in the UK which advertised Iced Hot Cross Buns for sale on their websites.

        I found out that Lidl are currently selling a new product which was …. (wait for this) …. Hot Cross Bun flavoured Ice Cream! Ha! New out this year I believe. Ha!

        But … I came up with no companies/stores which had Iced Hot Cross Buns for sale. Another BUT ….. I did find someone in the UK (baker or chef or simply someone who bakes) who had made some Iced HC Buns and I share the link with you so that you can read it too….

        https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/recipes/hot-cross-buns

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      3. Thank you for that link. Hot Cross Bun flavoured Ice Cream!!!!! Well, the world is full of oddities. We saw French toast flavoured English Muffins in the supermarket. I will make more buns this week, but mine will definitely have sweet, sticky icing crossing them.

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  4. Anne – I listened to that song and somewhere in my childhood, I’ve heard it before. Since so many food or customs in Canada resemble that of jolly old England, when we moved to the States in 1966, I remember the following Easter my mother bemoaning that “Americans did not know how to make a good hot cross bun – this is simply a yeast roll with a cross on top and it tastes like the cinnamon ran through it and a few raisins if you’re lucky.” My mother didn’t bake bread or do baking with yeast, so she never made her own. My grandmother who lived in Canada would buy a couple of packages at Easter time and put them in her freezer to eat whenever we visited there. The English/Canadian hot cross buns were more flavorful in that I remember them as a darker dough, with not just cinnamon, but maybe nutmeg as well, and heavily studded with candied fruit, a shiny top with the icing sugar. They smelled heavenly while being heated/toasted in the oven. I’ve not had one in years either and can’t say if they even have them at the grocery store where I go, and we have no bakeries around us. You brought up a memory for sure. They were always an Easter Sunday treat, but I think we had them through the Lenten season when they were available.

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      1. Yup I did – I’m not a fan of candied fruit either, and I would prefer just raisins or currants but a spicier dough than is found here. We discussed Christmas stollen, before and a little candied fruit is good, not too much as it is overwhelming. I remember this little song from somewhere in my youth, most likely from Canada and how we would sing along in school for traditional holidays.

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  5. My third graders play this song on their recorders – kind of like a flute. The music (noise) they make is joyful (nerve grinding). We bought some hot cross buns yesterday from a near by Australian bakery. The newspaper write up said they were the only authentic ones in our metro area and were delicious to boot. So we ventured out and bought some. I have to agree, they tasted good with our coffee this morning!

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    1. When I was looking for the music, I saw there were lots of entries for recorders. I needed a piano version. An Australian bakery!! That wouldn’t be on every corner! Glad you enjoyed the buns.

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  6. Anne,
    Your post brought back memories. I have learnt the nursery rhyme in kindergarten in the 1970s. I remember wondering what they were- I guessed they were some delicious form of buns( I loved buns growing up, especially freshly made, bakery ones- the smaller bakeries made the better ones, i remember). For a while hot cross buns remained a memory. We didn’t have it during Lent or if someone did, I missed it.
    A decade ago, when I visited UK, I saw hot cross buns in September. And of course my childhood memories came back. The buns looked like in Cob’s picture- darker, with a cross ( not made of icing)- of course, I bought one, for old memories’ sake. But it was bitter, Anne- I was so disappointed. Was it made of sour dough? There was a bite to the bun. i have never had one since. I am glad you made your own- so you could tweak the recipe as you wished.
    Our nursery rhyme tune was just like the one you posted.
    Susie

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    1. I’m glad you knew the song. Since I lost the book where I had the music, I had to find it on line. I printed it, took it to the piano, and recorded it with my tablet. Most people would have found a recording, but I didn’t have speakers hooked up to the computer.

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