Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I like big buns and I cannot lie.

Hot cross buns! 
Hot cross buns!
One ha' penny, two ha' penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha' penny,
Two ha' penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

I remember that's the first song I learned on my recorder in music class in the 1st grade. Those recorders are parental torture devises..even a well executed song is shrill and anything but melodic. Oh well, I guess it's how you capture the attention of 6 and 7 year olds in music class and I am certain if someone handed me one right now I could shriek out a horrifying version of it for you. Thank you Mrs. Reynolds, you made an impact.  

Our Easter brunch had a little bit of everything; an array of hot crossed buns, quiche, sangria, fruit salad, broccoli salad, chicken salad and croissants, deep dish bacon, egg and chive pie. It was an abundant spread shared with great friends on a BEAUTIFUL sunny, spring day. It hit 69 y'all. It's almost been a full 7 months since I've felt temperatures in the 70s. If I wasn't afraid of my translucent skin getting third degree burns, I might have laid down on someone's lawn on my walk to church on Sunday. (Seriously, I have to squint to see my freckles now.) 

Anyhow, for our feast we delegated this time around. Mandi and I gave some food assignments out to our friends who were coming. I took on making hot crossed buns. Mandi recently acquired a magazine called Delicious. It's UK based. We definitely did some hard math conversions with grams and such. We did find a helpful website if you ever find yourself in the same predicament: helpful conversion calculator.

The magazine had a recipe for Spiced-Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Buns which I used. (I have been on quite the chocolate-orange combination kick, so thank you Delicious magazine writers for further indulging my current obsession.) The full recipe and directions are on their website, so forgive me for being lazy and giving you a link instead of typing out all the details: Spiced-Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns.

Here are some photos of my buns:

There was one ingredient which is tough to find here unless it is Thanksgiving or Christmas, candied orange peel. I looked at several grocery stores until I was fed up. I knew Cardullo's in Harvard Square had them but by the time I got home, I was so tired of being not home and it was raining, the last thing I wanted to do was get back on the bus and head out just to get ONE ingredient. I was going to skip them in the recipe altogether but at the last minute, I was curious enough to google a recipe on how to make them. I had all the ingredients and wanted to take a shot at it.

I had a lot of fun doing it. Here are my photos of making the candied orange peel (I made some lemon too.):

I used one orange and one lemon to start.

Scoring the oranges and lemon like this makes them easier to peel sections off to later cut into 1/4" strips.

Using a potato peeler to scrape of the pith saves time.

Put in water to boil. Enough to cover them and then some. I didn't really measure this part.

Boil for 20 minutes.

Drain. Boil 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup water. Once it reaches 230f on a candy thermometer (thread stage, they call it) toss in the strips of orange and lemon. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

Drain again.

Dredge the slices through sugar. You can also toss the sugar in a ziploc with the slices and shake to coat in sugar.

Let them dry overnight. You could also set them in very low heat in the oven, checking often to hasten the process. Personally, letting them hang out all night works for me.

So fun and delicious and not as daunting as I thought. I'll definitely make them again soon. I'm going to make lime and grapefruit ones too. You can also roll them in melted chocolate for an extra treat. They are quite tasty on their own too.

We will share more about the rest of Easter Brunch soon with more recipes. I hope you had a Happy Easter too!


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