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Food & Wine’s Paige McCurdy-Flynn makes these soft, pillowy hot cross buns with a twist: She rolls the dough with brandy-soaked cherries for an extra kick.    Slideshow: More Bread and Biscuit Recipes 

Paige McCurdy-Flynn


Credit: © Abby Hocking

Recipe Summary

1 hr
4 hrs
8 buns


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a small bowl, soak the cherries with the brandy and vanilla for 1 1/2 hours.

  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour and 1/4 cup of the sugar with the salt, cinnamon and cardamom.

  • Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, combine the warm milk with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast and whisk to combine. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 of the eggs and the orange zest and beat until combined. Fit the paddle in the mixer. At a low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Beat in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to absorb before adding the next. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.

  • Brush a large bowl with some of the melted butter. Add the dough and brush the top with more butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

  • Drain the cherries; reserve the soaking liquid to make the frosting. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into a 12-by-6-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup of the cherries over the top of the dough. Fold the dough in half over the cherries and spread another 1/4 cup of cherries on top. Fold again; repeat the spreading and folding two more times with the remaining cherries. Carefully gather the dough to form a smooth ball, tucking in any cherries that fall out. Add the dough back to the buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 12-inch-long log. Cut the log into 8 even pieces, then roll each piece into a ball and transfer to the baking dish. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

  • In a small bowl, lightly beat the remaining egg. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden. Let the buns cool slightly.

  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with 2 tablespoons of the reserved cherry liquid and the orange juice until smooth. Scrape the frosting into a resealable plastic bag. Using scissors, cut a small hole at a corner end of the bag. Pipe the frosting in a crisscross pattern over the tops of the rolls. Serve warm. 

Make Ahead

The buns can be covered and kept at room temperature overnight.