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Hot Cross Buns (Bread Machine)

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Wondering where I have been? I’m a priest. It was Easter. Don’t ask. But hey, I’m back from vacation so my little brain is slightly less fried than it was a couple of weeks ago. I think we can all be thankful for that!

It isn’t that my family has been starving or that I have not been cooking. It is merely that it has not been documented. But I did get a snapshot of this recipe before I trotted off to church with them on Good Friday. Hot Cross Buns are a fine Anglican tradition on Good Friday, and I’m all about tradition (feel free to laugh). While I may have made Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday these are in no way traditional. I don’t care for raisins, I added a few more spices, and who wants plain old icing when you can have cream cheese instead? If you want a little more traditional or you’re dying to hear more about Hot Cross Buns, feel free to Google them.

Now that it isn’t Lent or Holy Week, I’d just make these and spread the icing on top. But I’m lazy. And I love tons of cream cheese frosting. Whatcha gonna do?

Hot Cross Buns

Buns:

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons yeast for bread machines
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water

Icing

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Break 2 eggs into 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough water to measure 1 1/3 cups. Place egg mixture and remaining bun ingredients (except fruit, 1 egg and cold water) in bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough/Manual cycle. Do not use delay cycle. You will probably need to add another tablespoon or two of water after a few minutes of mixing.

Add fruit at the Raisin/Nut signal or 5 to 10 minutes before last kneading cycle ends. Remove dough from pan. Cover and let rest 10 minutes on lightly floured surface.

Grease cookie sheet (if not nonstick). Divide dough in half. Divide each half into 8 equal pieces. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Snip a cross shape in top of each ball, using scissors. Cover and let rise in warm place about 40 minutes or until double.

Heat oven to 375°F. Beat egg and cold water slightly; brush over tops of buns. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool.

Mix icing ingredients and place in Ziplock bag. Cut tip from bag and pipe crosses on each bun.

Carrot Cupcakes

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I’ve had a pretty mean craving for carrot cupcakes lately. What’s not to love? Dessert that counts as a vegetable! While scrounging in my fridge I came across a bag of baby carrots that I didn’t know existed. Clearly, this was a sign from the divine creator that I was meant to have carrot cupcakes! And kids, when God speaks, I listen. Usually.

This is a very versatile carrot cake recipe and you could do this as a 9×13, a layer cake, a bundt cake or just about anything else. I happen to like cupcakes so here we are. Having said that you’ll need to vary your baking time a bit if you want one of the other cakes. I love this cream cheese frosting recipe but if you go with a layer cake you’ll have to use a different recipe. This frosting is pretty loose, making it perfect for cupcakes or a 9×13 but not great for a layer cake. Another thing, don’t get lazy and use bagged carrot shreds, shred them yourself with a box grater or a food processor (second only to the Kitchen Aid Mixer, greatest invention EVER).

This recipe comes from my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook which is the first place I go hunting for recipes. They are always spot-on and they have lots of little tips and tricks.

Carrot Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound carrots, shredded (if you use baby carrots you won’t have to peel them)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pans (recipe makes about 24). Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside. Mix granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. While mixing, add oil in steady stream. Mix until light in color and emulsified, about 20 seconds. Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pans and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cakes on wire racks before frosting (at least an hour).

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

In food processor, process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.