Hot Cross Buns with Citrus-Infused Vodka

There are three important things that you need to know about me: 

1. I love to bake. Duh. 
2. I love to read. English major, right here.
3. I love animals, especially dogs. Especially Jack Russells.  

I'm clearly biased with the Jack Russell thing.

This post is related to items one and two; I started a book club with some of my Virginia girl friends.  (By the way, two of them are bloggers too, Lindsay and Stephanie.  Check them out!)  A few months ago, we read The Husband's Secret by Australian author Liane Moriarty.  If you're interested, it's a nice beach read that's entertaining and soap opera-y.  

In the book, the characters make hot cross buns for Easter.  My family doesn't have a ton of traditions, so we often don't do things like that.  Nevertheless, I was stung with mild jealousy; why had I never made (nor eaten) hot cross buns?  Is this only an Australian thing, or do American families do this too?

I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who's made or eaten them.  I have seen them at the grocery store from time to time, probably around Easter.

So, I made it my mission to make hot cross buns.  If I had to classify them, I would say that HCBs are like the cinnamon roll's springy sister; cinnamon rolls scream fall/winter to me, while HCBs are bright and zesty with fruit.  Whatever you choose, you can't really go wrong with either one.

For this recipe, I used lemon-infused vodka, but you could really use any type of citrus.  You will not be disappointed with the flavor.

Ingredients:
1/2 c. almond milk, or other type of non-dairy milk
1 1/2 T. lemon-infused vodka (learn more about infusing your own liquors!)
1 T. orange juice (or apple juice)
1/4 c. organic cane sugar
1 T. flaxseed, ground
2 T. coconut oil, softened
zest from one orange
zest from one lemon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. cinnamon (you should know that I like cinnamon!)
2 c. bread flour
1/2 T. yeast
1/3 c. dried cranberries or dried currants

simple syrup, for the glaze
1/2 c. vegan powdered sugar, for the icing
1/4 tsp. almond extract, for the icing
1-2 tsp. almond milk, for the icing

Directions: 
Load your bread machine as directed by the manufacturer. (For mine, I’m supposed to load it with the liquid ingredients first, then dry, followed by the flour and yeast last. I listed the ingredients in the order that I would put them in.)

Once it’s loaded, plug it in and set it to the “dough” setting. Sit back and relax!

Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 8x8 pan with coconut oil or parchment paper.

Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface. Once the bread machine is through its cycle, take the dough out and pat it down so the dough is covered in flour. Divide the dough into six evenly-sized (or not so evenly, per my example) balls.  Cover them and allow them to rise for 20-30 minutes.

With a sharp knife, cut a cross shape into each ball.  Brush the simple syrup over the bun dough.  (I made my own by boiling equal parts water and sugar.)

Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes, inserting a toothpick to ensure that they are done.

Once they are done, brush the buns with simple syrup once again.  Spoon (or pipe) the icing onto the buns in the shape of a cross.

Now, look at these beauties!  Look how talented you are!

Enjoy the fun flavor of these sweet rolls :-)

Cheers,
-Aileen

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This post is affiliated with Vegan Mofo.  Check out #VeganMoFo on social media for ideas and recipes during the month of September.