Friday, February 22, 2013

Cardamom Hot Cross Buns

Easter always reminds me of Hot Cross Buns because my Mom always made them at that time. We usually were required to give up sweets for lent, so we got to have hot, fresh Hot Cross Buns for Easter morning, followed by church, and then followed by an Imperial Banana Split at Friendly's Ice Cream (NE US) as rewards.

 I've tried some store-bought buns every once in a while since but they were horrible. I mean close to inedible in my opinion. So I was thinking about making some but I wanted to make sure they were close to what I enjoyed so much as a child. And all of a sudden, it hit me, the ones I had as a kid had Cardamom in them.

Cardamom is one of the world's most ancient spices and grows wild in India. It is expensive, second only to Saffron. Therefore when I went to look for Cardamom, I found a small bottle of it was $17.00!!! Nope, I'm not paying that much for a spice. (I read where Cardamom also helps cure flatulence, so if that's an issue for you, there ya go, lol)

So I went to another market that sells spices in bulk, and sure enough, they had ground Cardamom at bargain basement prices. It wasn't the elite black Cardamom, but neither was the bottle at the first store. Now having made and tasted it, it was excellent. So I suggest you go that route. (Cost me like $1.69 for about an ounce of spice, and you only use one teaspoon in this recipe, a little Cardamom goes a long way)

Now, you can make this recipe without Cardamom, just substitute cinnamon, but I think once you try Cardamom, you'll be hooked. It's a unique taste, smell, and is very pungent. And obviously, memorable, since I haven't had it in umm, ^* years and remember it still.

I went to my reliable standby for recipes, King Arthur Flour, and adapted one to yield the recipe below.

Also, if you don't have Lyle's syrup, either omit it, or use corn syrup.

Ingredients and Method:

1/4 cup water or apple juice
1 cup raisins or dried currants (I prefer currants)
1 1/4 cups milk, heated in microwave slightly
3 large eggs, 1 separated
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 packages quick rising yeast
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups King Arthur Flour

Brush mixture prior to baking:

1 large egg white, reserved from above
1 tablespoon milk

1/3 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup (for brushing after baking)


1 cup or so confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick icing (add a bit more sugar if it's not thick enough)

Mix the water or apple juice with the currants or raisins and microwave on high about 30 seconds. Let steep for 10 minutes.

Add eggs to mixing bowl, add sugar and mix well. Melt butter in milk by microwaving in 30 second intervals. Don't overheat. If milk is too hot to the touch, let it cool slightly before adding to bowl. Add yeast. (Excess heat will kill the yeast) Add milk butter mixture to eggs and sugar and mix.

Add spices and baking powder and mix well. Add fruit and water/juice.

Add 4 cups flour and salt and beat with dough hook until ball forms away from the sides of the pan. Add flour in additional 1/2 cup increments as necessary.

Scrape dough out onto floured board, sprinkle with flour and knead for 3 minutes.

Grease a bowl, add dough, turn dough over cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled.

Remove from bowl to floured board and punch down. Knead just once or twice and shape into circle or rectangle about 2 inches thick. Cut into squares about 2 x 2 inches (3 ounces) and with floured hands tuck corners under and shape into a ball.

Add rounded buns to 9 x 13 greased pan. Place close to each other but not touching. Cover and let rise in a warm place for another hour.
Beat water and egg white together and brush tops of buns. Bake at 350 for 20 -25 minutes until browned. Microwave golden syrup (20 seconds) and brush onto top of buns and let cool completely.
Make thick frosting and pipe onto buns marking a cross across the top of each one. (baggies make a great piping tool. Just snip off on bottom corner)



Catherine said...

Hi, I just came across your blog on a search for pumpkin black bean soup, and I will visit again! I like the photos and your good description of the process. Keep it up!

The Merlin Menu said...

Thank you for the kind words. Do come by often. And the pumpkin black bean soup is one of my personal favorites.

from my motorhome to yours said...

just found your blog, man these buns look great!! nice pic's

Jenn B said...

I just got my hot little hands on one of your HCB. The cardamom is very suttle, but a nice addition.

Anonymous said...


I just wanted to let you know that I tried your recipe and first of all the directions are just a tad unclear where it comes to how you add the flour and it makes no mention of where exactly the yeast should be added.(I added it into the egg and sugar mixture).

The being said, the recipe is fantastic and the buns came out great. I skipped brushing them with the egg wash because after brushing the first one, it fell almost flat!
They browned and baked nicely nonetheless.

Thanks for the recipe.

CharlesR said...


I love the idea of putting cardamon in your hot cross buns.
I just love this spice!

I also like that you use your raisin water, great boost of flavour.

Will make these for Easter.

Have a Joyful Day :~D

CharlesR said...


One extra thing that I do, is to score the buns lightly

with a knife in the shape of the cross.

This way when they are baked the cross is right in the


That way, those that don't like the icing, can still

have the cross.


umzug said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
umzug said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.