Sunday, December 10, 2006

Eggnog Hot Cross Buns

I had some eggnog left over and I wanted to bake bread. What could be more efficient? I took the original recipe (one I had buried in my recipe folder,) and substituted eggnog for the milk. They turned out crusty on the outside, light and fluffy inside. The eggnog glaze and frosting on top helped sweeten it, and inside I spread some maple-walnut butter I had leftover. The result: a perfect snack for the chilly, rainy day it was.

1 pkg. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. white sugar
4 cups flour (2 c. white & 2 c. whole wheat)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm eggnog
1/4 cup butter -- softened
2 eggs -- lightly beaten
1 cup raisins

Put the yeast, warm water and 1 tsp. white sugar in a small bowl,stir and set aside until frothy about 10 minutes. Put the flour, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Put the butter into 1 cup of the warm eggnog and let it melt. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture, the warm eggnog mixture and the eggs. Mix until blended, then add the currants or raisins and knead until you have a smooth dough, soft but not sticky about 5 minutes in an electric mixture, 10 minutes by hand. (Add a little extra milk if you need it to get the right consistency.)

Cover with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and leave in a draft-free spot until the dough has doubled in bulk 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down; shape into 16 to 18 balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with a sheet of plastic, place in a warm spot and allow to rise again until the buns are almost double in volume about 20-30 minutes. Now with a very sharp knife or razor, make a quick cross on top.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Allow the buns to recover from the cross-making for 10-15 minutes, then bake for 12-15 minutes or until they sound hollow when you rap the bottoms.

Make a glaze by boiling 2 Tbs. of the remaining eggnog with the 1Tbs. of sugar until it is very bubbly. Brush the glaze on the buns as you take them from the oven it makes them shiny. Makes 16-18 buns. Drizzle frosting on buns to make a cross.

Vanilla frosting: Stir together 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons eggnog and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

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