Bake Club: Not Hot Cross Buns

The act of making is typically done to please someone else. At least in my case. I have created all kinds of things to gain that praise from someone. When I bake I make things that my family likes. Not this time. Today I made something that only I like. Last week I realized I have not been treating myself – that ended today.

My daughter claims dried fruit is an abomination. Raisins are like chewing old people. I disagree. But because I love her, I tend to leave out raisins, dried cherries, candied ginger and other dried fruit to please her. My grandma put raisins in everything. I remember my dad complaining about it in everything but butter tarts. I always loved them except that time she put it in her stew… grandma – I love you but that was weird. But the raisin sauce on ham was good!

Today I made Not Hot Cross Buns because every spring the bakeries make them and they look so delicious with their currents and raisins. The hubs bough ‘hot cross bun bagels’ last week. The flavour was nice but the fruit was green and red. That candied peel fruit that is dyed is tasteless and holds way too much artificial colour. I prefer no food dye. I am not sure why – but it turns me off. Anything that alters normal body chemistry and turns things colours can’t be good for you over the long haul.

I soaked 2/3 cup of raisins – the good kind that taste like they came from a red box. You know what I mean. Then I zested one orange and juiced it. I soaked the raisins in the orange juice for about 30 minutes. Rum is good for this as well. While that was happening I weighed out my 440g of flour, 50 grams of dark brown sugar and 50 g of white granulated sugar into the bowl of my stand mixer. I added 2 1/4 tsp or one package of instant yeast, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of allspice and 1/4 of a grated nutmeg. I whisked that together and started on my wet ingredients.

Into a small bowl or two cup glass measure, I added 1/2 cup of 2% milk, 1/3 cup of butter and popped that into the microwave for about a minute swirling it together until the butter melted. I added 1 Tbsp. of vanilla and the orange zest from before. Whisked 1 egg and add it to the mix.

In your stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (or by hand – but it will take a while) on low speed, slowly drizzle the wet ingredients. Before it combines into a ball, drain the raisins and add them to the dough. Beat on medium speed until it comes together. There will likely be raisins or what ever dried fruit you used on the bottom of the bowl.

Sprinkle about 2 Tbsp. of flour onto a clean surface and dump the dough and remaining dried fruit out. Start to knead the dough until it feels soft. At the beginning it will be gritty – you will know the second it becomes soft and smooth. It will take about 5-7 minutes but maybe longer. It took me 10 minutes today. Form into a ball.

Light oil a bowl, and place your dough into the bowl. rotate it so it also is covered in oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let this double in size in a warm spot. Keep an eye on it it should be about an hour but it really depends on your kitchen.

Divide up the dough into 14 pieces and form into balls. I put them into a parchment lined pan because I like soft sides. Give them a little room because they will expand. If you don’t want soft pull-a-parts – put them on a baking tray with lots of room around them so they won’t touch while rising. Let rise for another 2 hours.

This is where I stop because a flour paste cross is tasteless and I don’t like the sticky glaze – but if you do – here are the rest of the instructions. This is why I call them Not Hot Cross Buns. My daughter said – just call it raisin buns…. sheesh mom!

The cross! Mix about a 1/3 cup of flour and 1/4 of water until it forms a paste. You are going to pipe this – so adjust the consistency as necessary. I filled a ziplock bag and snipped the end off. Pipe a long stream from top to bottom allowing it to hug the bun. Turn your tray and repeat the process intersecting the first line.

Preheat your oven to 375F. Make an egg wash of egg and cream or milk – about a tbsp, and brush over your buns. Bake in the overn for about 20 – 25 minutes.

Make an apricot glaze – I used Peach jam because that is what my mom made me and it is what I had on hand. 1 tbsp. of jam, 3 tbsp. of vanilla and 1 tbsp. of water. heat together and strain through a fine sieve. Brush over the warm buns. Eat them warm, eat them room temperature or eat them cold.

This is how they should look:

Easter Hot Cross Buns Recipe | Le Cordon Bleu

Tell me how yours turned out!

Stay healthy friends!

Sunday is for Pancakes

You know that feeling when you are doing a regular, not out of the ordinary chore and you are suddenly transported by memory to another place in time? Is it just me this happens to? I highly doubt that, liars…

Today is Pancake Day! Yes I know its lent but I didn’t give up eggs and dairy, just wine and turtles. Turtles have been a challenge but the wine part is going… well lets just it’s going. Easter Sunday I am going to buy a lovely bottle of red to enjoy with my meal…enough said. Anyway, it’s Pancake Day! We have a large electic griddle like my GrandmaE had. It was either the golden brown of the flapjacks or the smell that brought me back to when I was little.

My GrandmaE is about to turn 90. Her surprise birthday party is coming up, shhhhhhhhhhhh don’t tell her. Her mom lived with her when I was little. To distinguish them I called her Big Grandma and Little Gram. Well, Big Grandma has shrunk to the size of a kittle and I could easily carry her around in my pocket. Now she is know as tiny Great Grandma to my kids. They are fortunate enough to have known their great grandparents. Alas, they only have 2 great grandmas now.

When I was small, my brother and I would sleep over at Big Grandma’s house. We would sleep on the sofa or bunk with our aunt and uncle. We would get up Sunday morning and dress for church. After church, grandpa would drive us downtown for Sunday Treat. Now these were the Grandparents who would take us to Dairy Queen in our Jammies with my parents in tow on Friday nights. THE only day my dad took off from University Studying. Sunday mornings were all about The Chateau Lacombe. It was a fancy hotel restaurant that overlooked the river valley. It was not a family restaurant. Kids needed to be “Good as Gold” and have their best manners. For my brother, this was a huge challenge because he had extreme wiggles. My Grandma always said “busy”. Brother is a busy boy. A very kind way of saying mischief needed to be managed. 

As an adult, I look back and think it was an odd place to take us, but I understand Grandpa took us there for Grandma. She loved that place. they were regulars and would show us off to the staff. We always sat by the window and had THIS ViewThis is what kept the brother occupied. He would look for coyotes and eagles, of course he would see all kinds of wild life with his own eagle eyes. Grandpa would order pancakes and juice for us. I secretly wanted French Toast or waffles but never said anything. Best behaviour meant not contradicting my grandfather.

Today I love pancakes. Somedays more than others. Rarely I wish for french toast and waffles, mostly because I don’t want the mess it creates. Maple syrup is my favorite topping. The REAL stuff…not that synthetic cheap stuff that is too sweet. I like the stuff from Quebec that is boiled down maple sap during sugaring season. That and a cup of coffee. The perfect way to start my Sunday…in my Jammies.

Happy Birthday Grandma!

HAPPY

Happy Easter all! I was inspired to write this post because of a new blogging friend. You can read her inspirational happy post here. In my quest to be happy, she makes a lot of great points, but this one in particular really struck me:

I looked for ways to celebrate and lighten up life.

I try to do that, but lately things really seem to bog me down. This weekend, paying homage to spring and re-birth, I decided to really and truly put my day to day struggles on the shelf for later and just focus on HAPPY.

My cousin was in town for the weekend to visit with Mrs. Stadler. She had sent a email earlier in the week saying she would be here and it would be great if we could catch up. First of all, I was touched that she wanted to get together! The women of my family were planning a girls only dinner. That would include 4 generations of awesome. That was taken care of. I thought it would be great to go shopping. Here in Alberta, there is no sales tax, so things are cheaper for my cousin, who enjoys shopping as much as the next gal! The shopping expedition was cousins only. My daughter and her cousin came, as well as my sister and cousin. We had a great time trying on designer shoes and sunglasses, buying clothes and just laughing. HAPPY was a huge part of yesterday. I miss Happy, but was thrilled to feel that way again!

In our quest for HAPPY, we stumbled upon the most unusual roses. HAPPY definitely described them.

HAPPY took a melancholy  turn. My offspring are now teens who sleep in. This was the first Easter where whispering didn’t happen in my ear to wake me up. There was no “Mooooommmmmmy, the Easter Bunny came..” Just soft snores from closed bedroom doors. Waiting for them as they stumbled down for breakfast was chocolate and jelly beans sitting at their spot on the counter. Included in that bundle was some lovely Bunnies from Belgium, a gift from their Grandparents who just returned from Europe…again.

I am HAPPY for my parents, being able to travel with such regularity. But deep down, that envious jealous monster rears her ugly head. I wanted to go too! My father teases me about how often I travel to Disney destinations. He says stuff like “there are other places in the world to see, you know” …Oh Really? Isn’t that a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black? How many times in the 7 months did YOU go to Belgium? Ask me how many times I have been to Disneyland in the past 7 months.  He has been twice as many times as me…just saying.

This time last year, I had no idea what the rest of my year would look like. I had no plans, no real goals, and no real direction in my life. A year later, I went to Europe, started University, decided on a career goal, training for a half marathon, changed my eating habits, engaged in social activities that I would typically say no to,  and met some incredibly amazing people along the way. Looking back, I can see I have made a real difference in my life and I know I have made a difference in other people’s lives too. I often get emails and lovely private notes about being the inspiration to certain things. That makes me HAPPY too.

I am looking forward to HAPPY being part of my daily life. I am excited to see all the new things this year will bring.

So HAPPY Easter to my 53 awesome subscribers and the 200+ people who read my blog every day. You have become my cheering section and make moving forward much easier and way more enjoyable. Let me share some Belgium Chocolate Bunnies with you. I’m not eating them either, but we can look together and be HAPPY.

xxx