I love my bread machine.
It has changed the way I think--and cook.
From pizza dough to hot cross buns, my trusty machine does nearly all of the work,
giving me time to write or play
(to an author, this is the same thing.)
But the bestest kind of work is piddling in the kitchen.
I managed to take a few pictures
before the rain swept in and snuffed out the light.
(But you know how much I love and fear icing.
I don't have a steady hand!)
I began with my grandmother's recipe for hot cross buns and adapted it for a bread machine. Mimi would have embraced the new kitchen technology (she was the first in her neighborhood to buy a microwave, which was bigger than a TV set).
Bread Machine Hot Cross Buns
Yield: 10 - 12 buns
Preheat oven: 375 degrees F
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract (click HERE for the recipe)
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 1/2 cups bread machine flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves*
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white granulated sugar (or add flavored sugar, such as orange or lemon--click HERE for the recipe).
1/4 c flour (reserve for kneading dough)
1 egg (do not add to dough mixture; reserve for brushing tops of rolls before baking)
Fresh mint (garnish)
*Adjust spices however you wish. Freshly ground nutmeg is even better. If you are feeling energetic, add the zest of 1 lemon and 1/2 orange. You will have to work hard to mess up this recipe, trust
Place all ingredients into a bread machine. Select "dough" cycle, and start machine.
Meanwhile, you can work on another recipe or take a walk. Be back in about twenty minutes or so,
or whenever your machine reaches the "add ingredients" stage in the cycle.
When you hear the "beep" add:
1/2 cup candied fruit, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
(If you don't like candied fruit, substitute candied ginger or raisins. (If you opt for raisins, you will add a total of 1 cup to the bread machine.)
Close the machine's lid and wait for the dough cycle to finish.
When it does, flour your hands. Remove dough from the machine and turn out onto a floured board or kitchen counter
(I line my counter with waxed paper and sprinkle flour onto the paper.)
Knead the dough until it's soft as a baby's cheek (smooth and easily handled).
Then divide dough into 10 - 12 equal balls (depending on amount of dough) and shape until each one is smooth.
Place balls 3" inches apart, smooth sides up, on greased cookie sheets (use 2 sheets).
Using scissors, cut an "X" or cross shape into the top of each ball (don't go too deep!)
Now it's time for the dough to rise. Cover pans with a warm, damp towel and wait about 35 minutes.
They're read if you press your thumb into a ball and the print stays.
Beat 1 egg, then brush over the tops of the rolls.
Bake buns 15 to 25 minutes or until the tops are brown. Using a spatula, carefully place buns on a rack.
While they cool, make the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 pat butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon homemade vanilla flavoring (Click HERE for the recipe)
Beat ingredients in a KitchenAid. Put icing in a pastry bag (or a Baggie with one corner "snipped") and trace "crosses"
over the tops of the buns. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Mimi has been gone for decades, but cooking always brings her back to me. I'm never alone in the kitchen, because all the women who touched my life will gather around me.
Do you have a kitchen guest?
Someone from your childhood who guided your hand when you measured flour?