A rustic country take on a classic Easter dessert, these Rustic Apple Caramel Hot Cross Buns are fluffy, sweet and tender.
Did you grow up with a certain treat on the Easter weekend? In my house, it was the bounty of an extensive, secretive chocolate hunt my mom would design for my brother and I every Easter Monday. When I say “my brother and I,” I actually mean just me, as other than my mom, I was the only person insane enough to wake up at 6 a.m. on a holiday for the hunt. And when I say “every Easter Monday,” I actually mean that, as my mom made me a chocolate hunt until I was 18 years old.
You read that right. I’ve also received word that my boyfriend and I will be getting one this year. Here is the email my mom sent me when I asked if she wanted to do one (love you, mom!):
Hi….I LOVE IT!!!!!!
I would be more than happy to set up the easter egg hunt…..I just love those things!!!!!!
Consider it done!!!!
I can’t wait to shop for the chocolates!!!
Needless to say, chocolate or all sorts (but especially tiny chocolate eggs, Cadbury mini eggs, and Crème Eggs) were our traditional Easter treat. For some of my friends (and once in a while my family), it was hot cross buns.
As I’m typing this, my boyfriend wanders by and asks what I’m writing about. I answer, “Rustic apple caramel hot cross buns.” He nods, then walks away quietly singing to himself, “Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny . . .” It sounds like I’m describing the beginning of a baking-themed horror movie.
But I digress.
Hot cross buns are a classic Christian Easter treat, harking back to the days of yore when those were the ultimate in Easter desserts. While the rise of the Easter Bunny and chocolate have replaced it somewhat, I still love a warm, fresh hot cross bun in the morning. These rustic apple caramel hot cross buns are a hearty take on the traditional bun. I replaced the raisins/currents with small-chopped Granny Smith apples, added a homemade salted caramel icing for the cross, and made them mega-sized. If you want a smaller portion to make 12-13 buns instead of 10, simply divide them and bake for a few minutes less.
While I’m a big fan of clean lines in baking, I do love some rustic flair once in a while. Similar to my Naked Carrot Cake, desserts don’t always have to be tiny, clean and pretty to be satisfying.
Wishing all my readers a wonderful Easter (or Day of Chocolate as I like to call it), and see you all in a few days with a brand new recipe!
Check out CK on Instagram! If you try out one of my recipes, tag @CrumbKitchen so I can see your delicious creations. 🙂
Total Cost = $4.70 (Budget breakdown below recipe)
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup lukewarm warm
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, separated in two small bowls
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 to 3 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 4 and ½ tsp. dry active yeast
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled and small chopped
- 1 tbsp. butter or margarine
- ¼ cup salted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. milk
- 1 and ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- Sea salt, to taste
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, mix milk, water and butter until mixture is warm and the butter is fully melted. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl or the base of a stand mixer. Mix in the sugar, the egg yolk from the separated egg, and vanilla.
- In another large bowl, whisk 3 cups flour (adding up to ¼ cup more if necessary), salt, nutmeg and cinnamon together. Stir half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, the sprinkle in yeast. Mix until just combined, then add in the rest of the flour mixture.
- Stir in the lemon zest and chopped apple. Knead or set stand mixer for about 5 minutes on a low setting. Once dough is smooth and elastic, shape into a ball.
- Using a large bowl, brush the inside with 1 tbsp. butter or margarine to coat. Place dough ball inside bowl and flip until fully coated with butter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature away from drafts for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Spray a 9x14 baking pan with cooking spray. Once dough is doubled, break off 12 equal portions and roll into balls, tucking cut edges underneath and placing in baking pan, leaving some space between.
- Using a sharp knife dusted with flour, carefully cut a cross into the top of each roll. Set pan in a warm place and let rolls rise 25 minutes, or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 385 degrees.
- Once risen, brush the tops of the buns with the separated beaten egg white. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a cooling rack.
- While rolls are cooling, in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat add butter, brown sugar and milk until melted and combined. Remove from heat and beat in confectioners' sugar and sea salt, to taste. Pipe or drizzle icing over buns in a cross shape.
Recipe adapted from the Shamrock and Peach.
1/2 cup milk = $0.24
1/2 cup water = FREE!
1/3 cup unsalted butter = $0.30
1/2 cup granulated sugar = $0.09
1 large egg = $0.15
2 tsp. vanilla extract = $0.28
3 to 3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour = $0.06
3/4 tsp. salt = $0.01
1/4 tsp. nutmeg = $0.15
1 tsp. cinnamon = $0.04
4 and 1/2 tsp. dry active yeast = $1.20
Zest of one lemon = $0.50
1 granny smith apple, peeled and small chopped = $0.50
1 tbsp. butter or margarine = $0.06
1/4 cup salted butter = $0.24
1/2 cup brown sugar = $0.36
2 tbsp. milk = $0.06
1 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar = $0.45
Sea salt, to taste = $0.01