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Caramel and Hazelnut Hot Crossed Buns Recipe

Here's an upgrade on traditional Easter Hot Crossed Buns topped with salted caramel and hazelnuts and filled with dates.
Prep Time2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 50 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 14 buns
Author: Becky

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted
  • 3/4 cup dates, seeded and chopped dates
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, 1 separated
  • 6 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg white, reserved from above
  • 1 tablespoon milk

for the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, roasted
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, or a pinch
  • 1 cup powdered sugar*

Instructions

  • Lightly grease 2 round cake/pie pans or a 9" x 13" pan.
  • Toss the seeded and chopped hazelnuts with a little flour and set aside. Roughly chop up the hazelnuts.
  • When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients (from milk to flour) except the dates and hazelnuts, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the dates and roasted hazelnuts.
  • Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.
  • Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You'll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.
  • Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.
  • Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

For the icing:

  • Melt butter over medium low heat. Stir in brown sugar and cream. Turn heat up to medium high and bubbly; stir until sugar is dissolved (about 3 minutes). After buns are out of the oven and have cooled for about 10-15 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar with a whisk. Transfer icing to a piping bag and pipe out crosses on each bun. Top with remaining chopped hazelnuts.

Notes

Icing hardens when it cools so wait to make the icing right before you're ready to use it. Or you can make the caramel while the buns are cooking and then reheat slightly before adding the powered sugar. Sometimes I go for just caramel-like topping instead of the frosting and skip the powdered sugar then, just pour the warm caramel over the top of all of the buns (for-go the cross).