Many consider hot cross buns to be an Easter treat, but there is no reason to limit yourself to just once a year.
To help get hot cross buns onto American plates more often, we decided to blend their luscious buttery spicy taste with the ease of a traditional muffin. They still have all the great flavors spices, citrus and currants but in a quick and easy muffin.
These muffins work equally as well as breakfast or snack. If you like, add mini chocolate chips in addition to or in place of the currants.
AP Photo - - Hot cross muffins work equally as well as a breakfast or snack.
Hot Cross Muffins
Start to finish: 30 minutes, plus cooling. Serves 12.
For the muffins:
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup currants
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 orange
Zest of 1/2 lemon
For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the orange juice and currants. Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until bubbling. Set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 400 F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper muffin cups.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, vanilla and both zests. Add the milk and egg mixture and the currants, including the orange juice, to the flour mixture. Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened; there may still be bits of flour visible.
Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of the muffins comes out dry. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
Once the muffins are cool, prepare the icing. In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the icing across the tops of the muffins in a line in one direction, then again in the other direction to form a cross over the top.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 241 calories; 63 calories from fat (26 percent of total calories); 7 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 36 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber; 97 mg sodium.