Rum Raisin Hot Cross Buns

Rum Raisin Hot Cross Buns

Though most commonly served during the Lenten season, particularly on Good Friday, this sweet yeast roll with its signature cross topping is perfect all year long. For a more spirited take on the traditional hot cross bun, we subbed in a punchy spiced Rum Glaze for the Golden Syrup. The aged rum and sweet almond marzipan center make this edition extra decadent. We added rosewater to our homemade Marzipan recipe, but if you would prefer your buns without rosewater, see the Marzipan recipe for an alternative version. Get our Classic Hot Cross Buns, Chocolate Cherry Hot Cross Buns, and Orange Currant Hot Cross Buns recipe in our March/April issue

Rum Raisin Hot Cross Buns
Makes 12 jumbo individuals
  • 1⅔ cups (213 grams) raisins
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) aged rum, warmed
  • 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
  • Hot Cross Buns Dough (recipe follows)
  • 6 tablespoons (96 grams) Marzipan (recipe follows)
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) rum extract
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (40 grams) whole milk, divided
  • Rum Glaze (recipe follows)
  • 1½ cups (180 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  1. In a large bowl, combine raisins, warm rum, and granulated sugar. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand for at least 40 minutes. Strain, discarding excess liquid.
  2. Prepare Hot Cross Buns Dough as directed through step 2. Stir in raisins, and continue as directed.
  3. Line 2 (6-cup) jumbo muffin pans with parchment paper. Lightly punch down dough, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine marzipan and rum extract, kneading until smooth. Roll marzipan into 12 (1½-teaspoon) balls. Divide dough into 12 pieces. Place one ball of marzipan in center of each piece of dough, pinching to seal seam. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, and place in prepared muffin cups. Cover and let stand in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, about 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and
  7. tablespoon (15 grams) milk. Brush buns with egg mixture.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Brush warm rolls with Rum Glaze.
  9. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (25 grams) milk, 2 teaspoons (10 grams) at a time, until a thick paste forms. Using a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton #10 piping tip, pipe paste over top of cooled buns to form a cross.

Hot Cross Buns Dough
Makes 12 buns, 12 jumbo individuals
  • 1¼ cups (300 grams) warm whole milk (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • 2 (0.25-ounce) packages (14 grams) active dry yeast
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 5⅔ cups (709 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅓ cup (76 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine warm milk, yeast, and ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 5⅓ cups (667 grams) flour, remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
  3. With mixer on low speed, add half of flour mixture to yeast mixture, beating just until combined. Beat in melted butter and eggs. Gradually add remaining flour mixture, beating until a soft dough forms.
  4. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes, adding remaining ⅓ cup (42 grams) flour as needed. (Dough should not be sticky.)
  5. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
How to Pipe Like a Pro: You want your flour paste to be stiff enough to be able to pipe in a clean line, but still manageable. If the mixture is too hard to pipe, try adding a bit more water. When piping, try to keep your movements fluid to evenly pipe the lines.

Makes about 1 cup
  • 1½ cups (216 grams) almond flour
  • 1½ cups (183 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) almond extract
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine almond flour and confectioners’ sugar; pulse until combined. Add egg white, rosewater, and almond extract. Process until mixture holds together. If mixture is too dry, add a bit of water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Store Marzipan wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 month.
If you would prefer this recipe without rosewater, use 3 teaspoons (12 grams) almond extract (instead of 2 teaspoons) and substitute 1 teaspoon (4 grams) rum extract for the 2 teaspoons (10 grams) rosewater. If you make this variation, do not use the ½ teaspoon (2 grams) rum extract in the master Rum Raisin Hot Cross Buns recipe.

Rum Glaze
Makes ⅓ cup
  • ⅓ cup Golden Syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) spiced rum
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat Golden Syrup over medium-high heat until warmed. Remove from heat, and stir in rum. Return to heat, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Let cool to room temperature.
Pro Tip: Glazes can be made a week in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Brushing the Rum Glaze on the hot cross buns while still warm will help the glaze adhere and allow a small amount to be absorbed into the bread, further sweetening your rolls.

Golden Syrup
Makes 2 cups
  • 2½ cups (500 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) room temperature water
  • 1⅓ cups (320 grams) boiling water
  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together ½ cup (100 grams) sugar and 2 tablespoons (30 grams) room temperature water. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until deep amber colored. Remove from heat, and stir in 1⅓ cups (320 grams) boiling water and remaining 2 cups (400 grams) sugar. Return to medium-low heat, and simmer, without stirring, until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
This recipe makes enough syrup to use for multiple recipes. Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 months.
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  1. Could I make this ahead of time and keep the rolls refrigerated before baking them?
    Would you let them rise the second time in the pans before refrigerating?

    • Hey Martha,

      Thanks for reaching out! For the Hot Cross Buns, you can refrigerate the dough after the first rise, which would be Step 5 of the Hot Cross Buns Dough recipe. You will punch the dough down before refrigerating. Also, make sure to read over the recipe variation you are planning to make, so you can incorporate any add-ins that it calls for before refrigerating (raisins, spices, etc.), which is Step 2 in most of the variations. Then you will want to take the dough out and let it come to room temperature, which will take an hour or so, and then continue with the recipe, which would pick up at Step 3 in most cases (except you have already punched it down). We hope this has been helpful. Happy baking!

    • Hi Ellen!

      Thanks for reaching out. The dough can definitely be kneaded by hand. The time it takes will vary by person, but it will take around 8 to 10 minutes to develop the gluten thoroughly. We recommend checking using the windowpane test:
      The Windowpane Test: Pinch or cut—but don’t tear, because this damages the gluten strands—a small, golf ball-size piece of dough. Then gently and slowly pull and rotate the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent. If it fails to hold during the stretch, give your dough another minute of work and then test again. If it is too hard to stretch, it’s been overmixed. (See tip on overmixing and overproofing for more information.)


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