What do you get if you pour hot water down a rabbit hole? Hot cross bunnies! (and prosecuted by the RSPCA I should imagine, don’t do it kids!) This is also what you get if you attack a hot cross bun with a pair of scissors (not the RSPCA bit, they have better things to do.)
I know that hot cross buns should be packed with lots of yummy dried fruit but I couldn’t think of a way to incorporate it without it affecting the bunny shapes I’m afraid. If anyone has any ideas I’m open to suggestions.
These are actually a bit easier to make than normal hot cross buns because you don’t have to make the paste for the cross on the top and although they lack fruit they don’t lack flavour thanks to the orange and lemon zest.
This produces quite a wet dough but it’ll become less sticky as you work with it. Don’t be too disheartened if the little bunny faces aren’t perfect. Dough has a life of its own so it’s pretty hard to ensure that the buns look uniform. (I’m not going to pretend that some of mine didn’t look more like cats than bunnies!)
350g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
5g dried fast acting yeast
zest of 1 orange and 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp milk
Mix together the zests and all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Warm the milk and melt the butter into it. Add the egg to this and lightly beat it.
Gradually add the liquid to the dry ingredients, bringing everything together to form a lump of sticky dough.
Turn this out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for five minutes, until it is soft and smooth and no longer sticky.
Wash and dry the mixing bowl to warm it up and lightly oil it. Place the dough into the bowl, cover it with some oiled cling film and leave it somewhere warm to double in size.
After it’s risen, gently re-knead the dough and divide it into eight or ten equal parts and shape each of these into an egg-shaped ball. Try to make one end more pointed than the other to form the bunny’s nose. Arrange these on a greased baking tray and cover them again with the cling film. Let the dough rest and relax for 20 minutes or so.
Take a pair of pointy scissors and snip the ‘ears’ out of the front end of the bunnies. I like to bend the pointy ends of the ears back on themselves, I think this gives them a slightly better shape. Use a cocktail stick to poke little eye holes below the ears. Make these quite deep,or they’ll disappear as the dough continues to rise. Cover the bunnies again and leave then for another 15 minutes whilst the oven preheats to 220°c.
Brush the outside of the bunnies with water to allow the crust to expand a bit more as they bake and put them in the oven for 15 minutes, until they are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the milk in a small pan over a low heat and then brushing it onto the bunnies to give them a nice shiny coat.