Where do you land when it comes to Easter brunch? Are you a ham, roasted lamb, and scalloped potato family? Are you more of a quiche salad and biscuit clan? Do you skip directly to the jelly beans and Cadbury mini eggs? I’m nodding my head yes – there’s no wrong way to do it. We are a ham family. Ham and biscuits. Ham, biscuits and plastic eggs filled with either chocolate or the coveted one dollar bill. However you get down, today’s offering is an updated JtB classic – Hot Cross Buns turned into the much more approachable Hot Cross Biscuits. No fussing with yeast and rise times. Yes fussing with cream cheese frosting and dried fruit.
Ever wonder WHY Hot Cross things are synonymous with Easter? Me too. The Kitchn provides us with insights. With that little bit of trivia tucked under your belt, my prayer is that your Easter weekend is filled with buttery warm biscuits and not one single pair of uncomfortable tights under your Easter dress. We can explore why our childhood tights were downright criminal another time.
Though it’s not officially Good Friday, I hope it’s a good Friday nonetheless. Wait was that a catholic pun? Hm, let’s make biscuits!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these Hot Cross Buns (that are secretly just biscuits):
• all-purpose flour
• baking powder
• kosher salt
• cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
• a large egg
• dried currants, dried cherries, raisins, or finely chopped dried apricots
• lemon or orange zest
• cream cheese
• powdered sugar
• vanilla extract
• spices are optional but lovely, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
I don’t use any special equipment save for this set of biscuit cutters.
We’ll start our hot cross buns turned Easter biscuit recipe by whisking together the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl sir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Add the cold butter and whatever citrus zest you’re using. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work the cold butter into small butter bits within the dry ingredients. The butter bits will be the size of small peas and oat flakes after a speedy 3 to 5 minutes of working the ingredients.
Toss in the dried fruit you prefer. These are dried currants which are traditional to the Hot Cross Bun though cherries or chopped dried apricots are my preference. A few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg are nice but not totally necessary.
Next we’ll whisk together the wet ingredients: a large egg meets cold buttermilk.
Create a well in the middle of the buttery dry ingredients and add the egg and buttermilk mixture. I use a wooden spoon to bring the two together into a shaggy dough.
The dough will feel cohesive and just a bit sticky. Make sure there are no hidden dry patches at the bottom of the bowl.
Roll the biscuit dough on a lightly floured work surface. I like to keep the dough about 1-inch thick before cutting into rounds. Tall biscuit dough will bake into tall biscuits.
To hot cross the biscuits, cut each round in quarters. Tuck the pieces, cozy next to each other on the baking pan. The hot cross buns will bake up with an indentation – a perfect space for cream cheese icing.
While the biscuits bake and cool, whip together an easy cream cheese frosting.
Naturally, the frosting is my favorite part of these biscuits. A little sweet. A little buttery. Rich with cream cheese. It’s almost as though we could skip the smear of butter and jam on these biscuits. I mean… we won’t, but maybe we could.
Use a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip (I used a Wilton 12 tip) or a sturdy plastic freezer bag with the corner snipped off to pipe crosses with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting onto the biscuits. Serve same day or keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
That’s your holiday brunch biscuit! Happy Easter, friends!Print
Easter festive buttermilk biscuits. The easiest way to make Hot Cross Buns are these biscuits with dried currants, lemon zest, and a quick cream cheese frosting.
For the Biscuits:
- 3 cups (381 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, cold
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup dried currants or diced dried cherries
For the Frosting:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (130 grams) powdered sugar
- Splash of milk if necessary
- dash of vanilla extract
- Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add lemon zest. Add cold butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Work quickly to incorporate the butter into the flour. The butter bits will be the size of small pebbles and oat flakes.
- Whisk together egg and buttermilk.
- Toss the dried currants or your preferred dried fruit into the dry ingredient mixture, and create a small well in the center of the flour and butter mixture. Pour in the buttermilk mixture, all at once, and use a fork or wooden spoon to incorporate the ingredients. Make sure that all of the flour bits are moistened by the egg and buttermilk.
- Dump the shaggy dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Bring together, kneading lightly, until the dough forms a 1-inch thick disk. Use a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut biscuit circles. Cut a biscuit into quarters and place on the baking sheet nestled together even though they’re sliced. Repeat with all of the biscuits. Gently knead the remaining dough scraps together. Form into a 1-inch thick disk and cut out more round biscuits until no dough remains.
- Brush biscuit tops with buttermilk and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned on top and firm-ish in the center.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting with a cross.
- In a medium bowl, using a firm spatula, blend together 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons cream cheese, and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Add just a dash of vanilla extract and a sprinkle of cinnamon if you’d like. Mixture will be thick.
- Cut a small tip off of a zip lock bag (you can also use a small round cake decorating tip). Fold down the sides of the bag and scoop the frosting into the bag. Pipe crosses onto completely cooled biscuits, into the crease.
- Biscuits are best served the day they are made, but will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for one day.