It’s Good Friday, and while I have never personally associated hot cross buns with today, a lot of people in the UK, Australia and other countries with British ties do. And The Pioneer Woman. So of course she has an incredible recipe for them. That’s just what she does.
I can see this becoming a tradition in our house. My kids are too young to understand what Good Friday really means, but I did talk to Carson this morning about Jesus dying on the cross today after he ate (picked at) his hot cross bun. As they get older I can see us starting the day on Good Friday eating these and talking about the importance and the meaning of the coming weekend.
I followed the recipe, found here, exactly. The only thing I think I would do differently is to tear the dough into larger pieces. The recipe says golf ball/ping pong ball sized, and that the recipe yields 18 buns. When I was tearing them that small I was going to get more than 18. I’d say make them a little bigger, maybe tennis ball size. Also, watch them as they bake. The smaller dough balls do not need 20 minutes in the oven. Check them after 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and then keep an eye on them. At 400°F they go from nicely browned to too dark very quickly. The ones I overcooked were not as good at the ones I pulled from the oven before they got too dark.
The flavor of these buns is incredible. I baked these last night and I just had to try one warm from the oven. I was planning to have a pinch, but I stood there in the kitchen taking pinch after pinch until that bun was gone. The frosting on top makes them extra beautiful, makes the name fit them, and adds a nice bit of extra sweetness.
I hope you try these, if not on Good Friday, just as a nice breakfast bread anytime. If you lived back in the days of Elizabeth I you wouldn’t be allowed to enjoy these on any days but Good Friday, burials and Christmas! Enjoy celebrating Easter this weekend!
Spices: cardamom, nutmeg, allspice (I used 1/2 teaspoon cardamom and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)
1/2 cup raisins (I accidentally used 1 cup, and they were still great)
1 egg white
splash of milk
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Heat milk, oil and sugar over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Remove from the heat and let cool until warm, between 100 and 115°F.
Transfer milk mixture to a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top, followed by 4 cups of flour. Mix it all together well, then put a towel over the bowl and let it rest for 1 hour.
Stir the sugar and spices together and set aside.
Mix in the extra 1/2 cup flour along with the salt, baking powder and baking soda. After it is combined, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and flatten the dough evenly.
Sprinkle some of the sugar over the dough, then sprinkle with some raisins. Fold the dough over it self, flatten it out again and repeat with the sugar and raisins. Fold over again, flatten, sprinkle with sugar and raisins, then fold once more and flatten slightly.
Pull off pieces of dough, about tennis ball sized for larger buns, golf ball sized for smaller buns, roll into balls, pull the edges of the dough down and underneath the dough ball, and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Repeat for all the dough, leaving buns enough room to spread and rise in the oven.
Place a clean towel over the buns and let rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Whisk egg white and a little milk for glaze and brush on the buns before putting them in the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes, then check buns and rotate the pans. Bake until buns are lightly browned, 10-12 minutes for smaller buns, 13-18 for larger buns.
Let cool completely on wire racks.
Mix egg white with powdered sugar until it is smooth and thick. Add a little milk to thin it out slightly, but still at a consistency that will not run off the buns.
Put frosting in a piping bag or a ziploc, cut the tip and pipe a cross onto each bun. Let harden (or not!) and enjoy.
The forecast for this past week boasted 3 days in a row of cool and rainy weather. Time to make some soup! I started looking around for a potato soup recipe but most looked so heavy, full of sour cream and cheese. I wanted a soup that would leave us full and satisfied without being totally weighed down. I finally found a terrific recipe from The Pioneer Woman (are you at all surprised?). Instead of cups and cups of whole milk and sour cream, there are cups and cups of chicken broth, with a little dairy to round out the soup and add creaminess. It is heavenly.
I was immediately excited about the celery, onion and carrot in this soup. Made me feel like I was eating even healthier with those extra vegetables. And they add such wonderful flavor. I used shallot instead of onion because I didn’t have one. Next time, though, I will use a regular onion. Less peeling and chopping. Everything else in the recipe is unchanged. I might cook a few extra pieces of bacon because, if you are anything like me, having some of those crunchy bits on top is necessary. The 6 pieces aren’t enough for the entire pot of soup. Maybe this says something about our love of bacon. I’d say 10 pieces would be good, and if you have extra, well, there is not a thing wrong with extra bacon bits.
After cooking the soup you puree about half of it in the blender. This creates a nice balance of smooth and chunky so that every bite has something to chew on, which is what I like in a soup. I used a sharp cheddar on top of the soup, but a sharp white cheddar would also be delicious, or whatever cheese you like on a baked potato.
Top this soup with a little bacon, cheese and green onion and you have all the flavor of a hearty baked potato soup but without the bulk of it. This is definitely a recipe I’ll be making again.
Note: When reheating you might need to add some chicken broth or milk to thin it out since it does thicken as it sits in the fridge.
1 whole medium onion, diced (I used 4 large shallots)
3 carrots, diced (I used about 20 baby carrots)
3 celery stalks, diced
6 whole small russet potatoes (or 3 large) peeled and diced
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
Balck pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt (I used Lawry’s)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 cup grated cheese
4 green onions, sliced thin
Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add in the chopped bacon and cook until crispy, being careful not to burn it. Remove from the pot and place on a paper towel-lined plate and wipe out some, but not all, of the bacon fat.
Over medium high heat cook onion, celery and carrots for a couple minutes, until they begin to soften. Add potatoes and cook, stirring things around a little, for about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and seasoning salt.
Add the broth to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
In a bowl whisk flour and milk and add to the pot. Stir together and cook for about 5 minutes.
Puree about half of the soup in a blender (I filled my blender almost full). Be sure to remove the center piece from the top of the blender and cover with a dish towel. If you don’t, you could make a big mess since you’re pureeing hot liquid.
Pour the puree back into the pot, taste and season as needed. Add in the cream or half and half, and the parsley.
The more I cook, the more I realize how much I absolutely love cooking comfort food. And eating comfort food. I really love eating comfort food. And I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. This meatloaf has been one of our favorites.
Covering your dinner with bacon can’t be a bad thing. This meatloaf is covered in 10 strips of bacon which give it great flavor and create a great slicing guide. I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, my go-to for comfort food. Try her pot roast! It makes me smile just thinking about it. The only change I made to this meatloaf was to add some caramelized onion.
I’ve made this twice now. The first time I followed the recipe exactly, but felt that the bacon was kind of soggy. So the next time I baked the meatloaf without the sauce at the beginning of the cooking time at an attempt to crisp it up a little before putting the sauce on. I think it was better, not so much that I could definitely tell a difference but enough that I will do it that way in the future. Either way the bacon is a great addition and makes this meatloaf spectacular. It would still be good without the bacon, so leave it out if you must.
I don’t have a roasting pan. Not sure why. I should probably get one. So I baked the meatloaf on a shallow baking pan lined with parchment. It releases a lot of juice, so I soaked it up with paper towels after it came out of the oven. I can see why a roasting pan would be helpful, but don’t fret if you don’t have one. You don’t need it.
This would easily feed 8 people, possibly 10. Ben and I can easily make 3 meals out of it. Sliced for dinner the first night, then meatloaf sandwiches for lunch or dinner a couple of times. Few things can beat a meatloaf sandwich on some soft white bread. Enjoy!
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Caramelized Onions
From The Pioneer Woman
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
6 slices white bread
2 pounds ground beef (I used 1 pound of 85/15 and 1 pound of 93/7)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup minced Italian parsley
4 whole eggs, beaten
10 slices Thin/regular Bacon
1 to 1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown Sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Caramelize the onion: Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and drizzle of olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the sliced onion and stir the onion to coat with butter. Sprinkle with kosher salt and a generous pinch of sugar. Let cook, stirring occasionally and monitoring the heat so the onions do not burn, 10-15 minutes. Onions should be brown and soft. If the onions begin to crisp and burn and there is no moisture left in the pan, add a few teaspoons of water. Remove from the pan from the heat and let cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.
Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, onion, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.
With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess!)
Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.
Cook meatloaf for 15 minutes.
While the meatloaf is cooking, make the sauce: stir together ketchup, brown sugar and mustard in a mixing bowl. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.
Bake for 30 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.
This recipe was posted to Pioneer Woman back in December of 2007 and I knew from the ingredients alone that these had to be delicious. And who can argue with bread dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar? No one. That’s who. Here is the link to her post. I really like her site and every recipe I’ve tried has been great. If you don’t follow her blog already, then you should.
I don’t know why I haven’t tried these until now. My mother-in-law made them a few weeks ago, and I was inspired to try them myself. I made them in mini muffin cups instead of the regular size so that I would have more tasty treats. I had leftover batter after filling the 24 cups, so I used a madeleine pan for the rest…they didn’t look that great t, but they tasted good.
Since I was using a smaller pan, I reduced the baking time to 15 minutes. Other than that everything is the same as Pioneer Woman’s recipe. Why mess with a good thing? While these are a bit messy to prepare, they are worth it. Any puffs left over can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days. They don’t taste quite as good as fresh, but they will still satisfy your sweet tooth.