Hot Cross Buns with Currants & Orange

IMG_9470 (1)Good Fridays, for many years, were spent making dozens of hot cross buns to share with our family and friends over the Easter weekend. Ready to be delivered to homes to be enjoyed. Every year I’d tweak the recipe a bit for each batch, always starting with a basic sweet dough made with milk & butter. Sometimes too much spice sometimes not quite enough, and working towards the right combination. Always the purist, I would stick with currants as the only fruit, with the exception of some orange zest.

When I took out the recipe for this year’s I was reminded of the many years of development, by the fact that I have attached all my ideas into a stapled wad of pages. The top page is the “final” version, and the one that I’m sharing with you. These are very simple to make, and have good staying power, so if they’re made on Good Friday, they’ll last well through the Easter weekend. Continue reading

Cinnamon Buns

IMG_4350A long, long time ago, in a city far, far away, there used to be a coffee house named Boca Bar.  It was a few blocks from where my best friend and I shared a basement suite.  We would wander up there some evenings to sit and talk.  Even though we lived together, schooled together, sometimes we just needed to go somewhere different for certain conversations.  We never figured out life, well, not completely, but we did plan an epic road trip, did discuss what we were actually doing with our lives, and other important never-ending conversations.

Usually I would have steamed milk with almond and a freshly baked croissant with their homemade raspberry jam.  Sometimes when we were short of money we’d share the croissant.  These evenings were so important to us.  Not just the time in the coffee bar, but the walks to and fro.

Sitting with a friend and sipping on a hot drink and nibbling on a piece of sweet baking, is the best setting for heart to hearts.  Although completely different than the fresh croissants we used to share, these cinnamon buns absolutely work just as well.

Make a batch and invite someone over to share.  Continue reading

Butterhorns

IMG_2329We buy our hay from the island’s Capernwray Harbour Bible school, and from a Vancouver Island hay producer and seller, Ray.  Ray’s trucks have “Make Hay with Ray” printed cheerfully on them.  Our usual purchase is about 200 bales and it arrives early in the morning and we have about 40 minutes to get it off loaded and into the barn, so that Ray can get his truck back into the ferry line-up for the return trip.  Although we’ve done it before with no outside help (I can still hear the girls grumbling…), Capernwray offers to help most times, by arriving with a team of 8 or 10 healthy, strong young men.  They work so fast and so hard and within about 30 minutes, the truck is unloaded and the hay safe and dry in the barn.

They work so cheerfully, and take the load from our shoulders (literally), it’s the least we can do to offer them a drink and some baking for their kindness.  Late yesterday I made a batch of Butterhorns, getting them iced and topped with nuts late in the evening.

It was so fun to be able to carry out a big baking sheet full of treats to some very appreciative people.  These aren’t difficult to bake, and are so rich and yummy, that they absolutely fit the bill as a snack for hard workers, or a not so hard worker to enjoy with a cup of tea.

The original recipe was passed along to me by a friend, I believe in the late 90’s, and still gets pulled out at least once a year, and usually for our hay boys. Continue reading