Brown Butter and Dried Cherry Hot Cross Buns

Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 6 buns
Delicious brown butter flavoured hot cross buns with dried cherries. You could also substitute dried cranberries, if you like. These freeze well, so can easily be made ahead. If you have a scale, I suggest using the weight measurements.
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  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt use 1/4 tsp. if using salted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter browned, *See instructions for how to brown, browned
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

For glaze:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp water

For the icing:

  • 1 cup icing/confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter at room temperature
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk


  • Brown butter: In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium heat and allow to boil until you start to smell a nutty fragrance and mixture starts to change to a golden brown colour. Swirl pan regularly as it heats so you can see the colour change underneath the bubbles and watch closely, as it can easily burn. You are getting close when you have lots of very tiny bubbles. Once butter has browned, remove from heat and immediately pour into a small bowl. Allow to stand/cool until lukewarm or room temperature before adding to dough. You will notice a pool of dark brown sediment at the bottom after it has sat for a bit. That is the milk solids that brown more quickly. They can often taste bitter, so either remove with a spoon before adding butter to dough or pour butter carefully in to dough bowl, without allowing the dark sediment in to the dough. (You can hold it back with a spoon as you pour).
  • Heat your milk: In a small saucepan or in the microwave until steaming with small bubbles around the edges. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  • Add your yeast to 2 Tbsp. warm water (about 110° F.). Stir, then set aside to proof.
  • Once milk has cooled to lukewarm, add egg and stir until well combined. (*Be sure your milk has cooled sufficiently, otherwise the egg will cook in the hot milk). Add the yeast mixture. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cooled brown butter to bowl. Still using the paddle attachment, work the butter in to the flour to combine.
  • Switch to kneading hook with stand mixer. Add milk/egg/yeast mixture to bowl. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding a bit more flour if necessary. Add dried cherries and knead until incorporated. Remove dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled, 60-90 minutes.
  • Remove dough to a floured surface and divide in to 6 equal portions. Form each portion in to a ball and place in a greased or parchment lined 9×5-inch loaf pan (3 rows of 3 buns or alternately, if you have a long loaf pan, 6 buns in a row). Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until almost doubled and puffy – 30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • When buns have risen, combine 1 egg yolk with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush tops and sides of buns well. Place in preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped or 195° F. when tested with a thermometer (*check buns at 20 minutes and loosely cover with tin foil if tops are browned enough).
  • For the icing: Add icing sugar, milk and softened butter to a bowl and stir to combine. Add more icing sugar (or milk) as needed to make an icing of piping consistency.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 890IU | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2.3mg