Whether or not you celebrate Easter, you should absolutely celebrate these hot cross buns all year long. Variations of hot cross buns are made worldwide, although they haven't been embedded into North American springtime culture, much to my chagrin. They are simple to make and are a delightful addition to any meal at any time of year: from breakfast to dinner, January through December. Flavors of lively chai spices, sweet vanilla, and juicy apricots. Textures of pillowy bread, plump fruit, and soft icing.
In a microwave-safe bowl
1/4 cup (57g) rum or apple juice
1 cup (156g) dried apricots, chopped
In the bowl of a standing mixer
1 1/4 cups (283g) chai latte concentrate
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
8 tablespoons (113g) butter
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup (53g) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 3/4 cups (570g) all-purpose flour
In a small bowl
1 egg white
1 tablespoon chai concentrate
1 1/4 cup (142g) powdered sugar
4 teaspoons chai concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray or spread with room-temperature butter.
In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the rum and dried apricots for about 90 seconds or until very hot. Remove and let sit on the counter.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine all the dough ingredients. Knead together for a few minutes until smooth and stretchy. Knead in the apricots and rum.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for an hour.
After the dough has risen a bit and is nicely puffy, dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into twelve equal portions. Using a bench scraper is helpful here, as well as greasing your hands a bit. Roll each piece into a ball and place them evenly in the prepared pan- 3 rows of 4 balls. Cover the pan and let the dough rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together the egg white and chai concentrate. Brush on top of the risen dough balls. Bake the buns for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Place a cutting board on top of the pan and turn both the pan and cutting board over. Once out of the pan, move the buns to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Whisk together the topping ingredients until smooth. Then, using a spoon or ziplock bag, top the buns with a cross of icing.