Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My New Favorite Treat

All these years that I've been spreading cream cheese on bland matzo, I've been missing out on a much more tasty treat: Hot Cross Buns.

Guess I shouldn't be surprised since these fragrant buns crop up in bakery windows in time for Easter - hence the cross.

But they are so tasty with freshly grated nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon, candied orange peel and currants mixed in the dough that I think I'll ignore their association with the holiday (like I do with cadbury eggs and chocolate bunnies) and grab some they next time I spot them in a store.

My obsession started when we made Hot Cross Buns in Chef Sim Cass's class at the Institute of Culinary Education. Cass was a founding baker at Balthazar, and I've heard him called one of the best bread makers in the country. So I feel really lucky to be in his class, no matter how rigorous it is or how beat I am when I get home.

I'll share the recipe we used in class, although it might be a little labor intensive for a home baker. But unlike some of the breads we made with Cass, these buns can be cooked in an ordinary oven so it is not impossible to make it on your own.

But if you see them in a bakery window take the easy way out pick up about half a dozen - they are so worth it!

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