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The French Loaf Almond-Kissed Hot Cross Buns - Easy Recipes

The French Loaf Almond-Kissed Hot Cross Buns

The French Loaf Almond-Kissed Hot Cross Buns

Instead of frosting, The French Loaf in Columbus, Ohio, tops these rich coffee rolls with an almond-flavored batter baked in a cross pattern.

3/4 cup light raisins
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup finely chopped candied fruit
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over raisins to cover. Let stand for 10 minutes; drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat granulated sugar, shortening, salt and cinnamon with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and yolk. Add 2 1/4 cups of the flour, the water and yeast. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a spoon, stir in candied fruit, drained raisins and as much remaining flour as you can.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover; let rise in a warm place till doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).

Punch dough down. Divide into 4 portions. Divide each portion into 10 pieces. Shape into balls about the size of golf balls. Arrange balls in two greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pans, leaving a finger width between each. Cover; let rise till almost doubled (about 1 hour).

Meanwhile, prepare Cross Batter: In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter or margarine and powdered sugar. Add egg, water, vanilla extract, almond extract and 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour; beat till smooth. Stir in the remaining all-purpose flour. Mix in more water, if necessary, to make a thick batter for piping. Spoon batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip. Pipe a cross on each.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Makes 40.

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