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EASTER HOT CROSS BUNS WITH CREAM
CHEESE FROSTING
 
5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup currants, raisins or Craisins
1/3 cup candied orange peel or citron (optional)
2-3 drops orange oil or almond extract (optional)
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tbsp. water

Combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, heat milk and butter to very warm (120-130F).

Stir the liquid into the flour.

Beat on medium speed of mixer for 1 minute. Add eggs. Beat for 1 more minute.

Stir in currants, orange peel and enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding additional flour as needed. Place in a buttered bowl, turning to butter top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in size (about 1 hour or however long it takes!).

When dough is fully double, punch down dough; turn our onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half, then divide each half into 9 pieces.

Form each piece into a smooth round ball. Place balls of dough into two buttered 8-inch square baking pans.

Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Brush lightly with egg yolk mixture.

Bake rolls in preheated 375F oven, 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pans. Cool on wire rack.

Drizzle frosting across the top of each bun in the shape of a cross.

Makes 18 buns.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

3 oz (small pkg) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. milk

Beat cream cheese and sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. Add up to 1 teaspoon of milk or just enough so that the frosting is a good consistency for drizzling. If frosting is too thick to pour, add a few drops more milk; if frosting is too thin, add a few tablespoons more of confectioners sugar.

Note: If you can't find the small cream cheese package, divide an 8 oz. pkg in half and use about 3/4 of one of the halves.

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