Baking on Friday: Orange Hot Cross Buns

I've spent a lot of time this week in preparation for today's baking project.  I had to make the candied orange peels earlier in the week, and that took a full day.  It wasn't difficult, and it didn't require a lot of effort on my part.  There was, however, a lot of inactive preparation time while the peels boiled, and then dried.

After my walk with my friend, Sue, this morning, I came home and got right to work.  I like yeast baking projects because they usually have two rises, and while I'm waiting on those, I can sew or do other projects around the house.  The mixing part of this recipe was quick and easy.  I didn't have any whole milk, and so I made a substitute using 2% milk and some whipping cream.  I warmed that up, then added the yeast, then got to measuring and mixing the rest of the ingredients.  Also, I melted some butter and let it sit to cool.  Once everything was all mixed together, I added the candied orange peels and currants and mixed those in by hand, as the recipe instructed.  Then I put the whole dough ball back into the mixing bowl, covered it up, and set it next to the fireplace, where I let all my baking projects do their rise.  (It's the warmest place in the house on a rainy day.) 

After that, I went back to the kitchen to clean up and I nearly died when I saw the melted butter sitting where I'd left it.  I'd forgotten to add it!  Shoot!  I worried that I'd ruined the whole thing because I'd already added more flour than I was supposed to, and I'd already kneaded it as long as I should have.  Still, not to be discouraged, I put the dough hook back on the mixer, added the butter and a little more flour and kneaded it for about a minute until I was satisfied that it was well incorporated.  Then I covered it again and set it back by the fireplace for its first rise.  Nothing seemed amiss.

I followed the rest of the recipe as it's written, and I'm happy to say that they turned out wonderful.  I think Mike will be happy to have these for breakfast this weekend.  The candied orange peel sort of caramelized and there's a nice toffee-like chewiness to these.  They don't have a lot of sugar, and so they are just pleasantly sweet without being overly so.  They have the texture of a cinnamon roll.  The glaze is made from a combination of confectioner's sugar, orange juice, and lemon juice, and it really gives a nice little added brightness that makes these particularly yummy.  I'll definitely made this one again sometime.

I wanted to say that there is a misprint in the recipe.  It says to form the dough into rounds and then put them into two 8 x 8 baking dishes.  However, if you look at the picture that accompanies the recipe, it clearly shows all 16 rounds in one 8 x 8 baking dish.  After reading the reviews, I decided to do what one reviewer suggested, and I baked all 16 rounds in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  That worked out fine.

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