cherry and apricot hot cross buns

I can see the ground again! Hallelujah.

Finally, the snow and ice has melted and the grass is slowly turning green.

This means that spring is coming! Nice weather is on the way! I can stop wearing socks for a while – which would be really nice considering that, at 32 weeks pregnant, it’s a bit of a struggle to get them on before running out of breath.

cherry apricot hot cross buns

And with spring on its way, that means one thing: Easter.

Is Easter a big deal for you, too? My family has always celebrated Easter together, not only as part of our faith, but also as a time to soak in the changing seasons and start enjoying time together outside.

As kids, we always had egg hunts before church and treats, but I never remember having or making hot cross buns. In fact, for years I didn’t even know what they were! Turns out, hot cross buns are spiced, sweet rolls – usually with currants or raisins – and marked with a cross on top that are typically eaten on Good Friday.

cherry apricot hot cross buns

As usual when starting to work on a new recipe, I looked up tons and tons of classic, traditional recipes and then figured out how I wanted mine to turn out. Lucky for me, Bob’s Red Mill had recently sent me some of their all purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour, so I did a mix of those in these buns PLUS traded in the traditional currants for diced, dried apricots and chewy dried cherries.

For an extra kick of flavor, I soaked the dried fruits in orange juice before adding them to the dough and used orange juice in the frosting. That little bit of citrus made such a difference! When spring finally hits, having that little punch of citrus – in these or any dish – automatically makes it feel lighter and brighter and perfect for this time of year.

cherry apricot hot cross buns

Cherry and Apricot Hot Cross Buns

A fun twist on a traditional Good Friday treat, these hot cross buns are punched up with sweet orange juice and perfectly chewy dried cherries and apricots instead of the normal currants.

Ingredients:

Rolls:

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 eggs, 1 separated
  • 7 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3 cups Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour

Icing:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1-2 tsp milk, as needed

Directions:

  1. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.

  2. Mix the orange juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave about 30 seconds - 1 minute, just until the fruit and liquid are very warm. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

  3. When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients (minus one egg white from the separate egg) except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, until the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and orange juice mixture.

  4. Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy and rise, but it may not completely double - that's okay!

  5. Divide the dough into tennis ball-sized pieces (a heaping 1/3 cup scoop makes about the right portion). Shape them into balls and place them seam side down in the prepared pan.

  6. Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  7. Beat the reserved egg white with a splash of milk and brush over the tops of the buns.

  8. Bake the buns until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

  9. Once the buns are completely cool, mix the icing together and top each bun with icing in the shape of a cross.

Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill¬†for sponsoring this post – and thank you guys for supporting brands that support us! For more delicious recipes and a coupon for $1.00 off any product, please visit¬†BobsRedMill.com!