Every year around Easter, grocery stores and bakeries start making hot cross buns, which are a seasonal specialty.
I remember getting up on Sunday mornings in early spring when I was a kid and finding pastry boxes on the kitchen counter filled with these soft, sweet, yeasty, raisin-filled buns topped with thick, wide lines of white icing. My dad, who got up ridiculously early every day, would pick them up on his way home from having breakfast with the other crack-of-dawners at the coffee shop in town.
I'd eat a whole bun every once in a while. But more often than not, I'd just scrape off the icing and eat it, leaving behind a naked, finger-streaked mess. (I also did this with the chocolate icing on eclairs.) What a great kid I was, right? But as I got older, I learned to love more than just the icing.
Some buns contained nuts and candied fruit--chewy little pieces of red, green, and yellow--but my favorite buns had only raisins. For my cookie version, I decided to stick with just raisins.
I started with an oatmeal sugar cookie base, added raisins and nutmeg (for light spice flavor), and chose a light drizzle of icing. Whodathunk a raisin sugar cookie would work, but it really, really does! The nuttiness of the ground oatmeal balances the sweetness of the white sugar, and the hint of nutmeg sets off the raisins perfectly. The little drizzle of icing wraps up the package.
Makes 2 dozen cookies. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Hot Cross Bun Cookies.)
1 stick butter
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons milk
1 1/4 cups finely ground oatmeal|
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
|1/3 cup confectioner's sugar|
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- In your Kitchen Aid or a large mixing bowl, cream together the creamables.
- In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Whisk together until smooth.
- Add the combined wet ingredients to the creamables. Mix together until well incorporated.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, fold together until evenly distributed.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the combined creamables and wet ingredients. Mix until evenly combined.
- Shape dough into balls--about 2 tablespoons each.
- Place dough balls about 2 inches apart on Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Then place cookies on wire racks to cool.
- While the cookies are cooling, whisk together the icing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Using a fork or a whisk, drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies.
- To get the icing to set quickly, place the cookies in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.