Easter falls a few weeks later this year than it did last, which means that we have a bit longer to stock up on all the Easter chocolate and baked goodies in the shops. Hot cross buns are an Easter treat that I enjoy perhaps even more than chocolate, and as the kids love them too we get through packets of them over the Easter period. The first time I made my own hot cross buns was at school, during one of the many dreaded cookery lessons. I wasn't at all bad a cooking but that teacher put the fear of god in us if we didn't scrub those pans until they were like new, so I'm surprised that I didn't get put off for life. Whilst I do enjoy making bread, it's definitely only for those days when you have a bit of time on your hands, so I'm always searching for short cuts and ways to make the process easier.
A few years ago I discovered Focaccia making, which involves barely any effort at all to produce an amazing tasting loaf. I then adapted the recipe a little and came up with a Cinnamon Apple Focaccia, which was equally as good as its garlic & rosemary predecessor. This got me wondering if I could perhaps use the same basic recipe to make hot cross buns. I replaced the olive oil in the focaccia recipe with melted butter, and with the addition of dried mixed fruit and mixed spice, this delicious hot cross bun loaf was born.
I cannot stress enough how easy this was to make. Of course you need the use of a stand mixer to do the mixing for you, but apart from that there's no interaction with the dough at all - no kneading, no shaping, and definitely no touching.