Hot Cross Buns are a traditional favourite for Good Friday, Easter, and throughout the Lent season, but they are enjoyable year-round.
Yeasty rolls are filled with currants or raisins and nuts, then topped with a cross of icing. In spite of the raisins and icing, these are not sweet rolls. The hazelnuts are optional.
In a large mixing bowl combine 1-1/2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and cinnamon. Heat and stir 3/4 cup milk, the oil, granulated sugar, and salt until warm, then add to flour mixture along with whole eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
Stir in currants or raisins, hazelnuts, and as much of the remaining flour as you can mix in with a wooden spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make moderately soft dough. Shape into a ball, place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Cover and let rise until nearly double.
Punch dough down. Turn out onto a floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 20 portions; shape each portion into a smooth ball. Place balls 1-1/2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until nearly double. With a sharp knife, make a shallow crisscross slash across each bun. Brush with egg white. Bake in a 375-degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl combine sifted powdered sugar, hazelnuts liqueur or milk, and vanilla. Stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches drizzling consistency. Drizzle buns with icing. Serve warm. Yield: 20 buns