Cranberry and Apricot Hot Cross Buns
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup sugar, divided
- 1 package (¼ ounce) active dry yeast
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup (1 stick) Challenge Unsalted Butter
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 - 4½ cups unbleached bread flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk (reserve white for egg wash)
- ½ cup raisins
- ¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries
- ¼ cup chopped dried apricots
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
- Egg wash: 1 egg white beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
In large mixing bowl combine 1 Tablespoon of the sugar with water and sprinkle in yeast; allow mixture to stand 10 minutes until bubbles form on the top.
Heat milk and pour over butter and remaining sugar and stir to dissolve; let cool to lukewarm.
Add 1 cup of flour, egg, egg yolk, and the milk mixture to the dissolved yeast and beat to blend well. Stir in dried fruit, orange zest, cinnamon and salt.
Gradually stir 3 cups more of flour, adding more flour if necessary to make a soft dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl. Knead thoroughly until smooth and no longer sticky.
Place dough into a lightly buttered bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch the dough down and turn it out on to a lightly floured board.
Shape the dough into 24 buns and place on buttered baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
With the back of a knife carefully press a cross into each bun; then brush the buns with egg wash.
Heat oven to 375°F and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.