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Happy Good Friday Everyone! It is said that sharing Hot Cross Buns will bring friendship to those that you share them with on Good Friday. This is done by sharing a Hot Cross Bun and saying, “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be”. It would be nearly impossible to visit all of you reading on this one day, so I will do something better, I will share my recipe.

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. It just also happens to be Earth Day today too! Two of my favorite things: Jesus and the Earth! So, in anniversary of this day, I wanted to make the traditional Hot Cross Buns. I searched all over the internet but could not find just one good recipe that was traditional in essence but also vegan. So, I made my own.

For the buns
2 ¾ c white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground mixed spice*
¼ c vegan butter
¼ c sugar (optional, I forgot it and didn’t notice the difference)
1 lemon, zest only
1½ tsp fast-action yeast
¼ c sugar-free applesauce
1 ¼ c Rice Milk (or other nondairy milk)
½ c mixed dried fruit, chopped (I used apricots, prunes, dates and raisins)

For the topping
5 tbsp powdered sugar
1/8 tsp rum or rum extract (or use almond)
1-2 tsp almond milk or other nondairy milk
½ tsp vegan butter
1 tbsp agave syrup, straight from the bottle, for glazing

*Mixed Spice Recipe: This is something very original to the UK but unfortunately it is hard to find in the states. You can make your own though by adding
1 teaspoons allspice, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, & 1/2 tsp ground coriander.

Preparation method:
1. To make the dough, mix together the flour, salt and the mixed spices into a large mixing bowl. Add the vegan butter and mix well. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the sugar, lemon zest and yeast. To tell you the truth, I cheated a little and placed everything in my large food processor and gave it a whirl.
2. Add the applesauce and non-dairy milk (I used rice milk) and mix well. Knead lightly for a few minutes until it becomes nice smooth and elastic dough. (If you use a food processor, this will only take a minute to put together.)
3. Place the prepped dough in a large bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise for an hour.
4. Once double in size, remove the dough from the bowl and knock back the dough. Shape into a ball again and place in the same large bowl as before, let it rise once again for about 30 minutes.
5. Once double in size again, place on a lightly floured countertop and divide the dough into 12 parts. Roll them each into a small ball and then slightly flatten the tops with the bottom of your hand. Place in a greased, oven-proof pan or tray and let rest with a towel over it for another 20 minutes.
6. Now come the strange part that I find interesting. Top the entire thing tray/pan with parchment or wax paper. Tightly wrap the now covered tray/pan a large polythene bag, like the ones you get from the grocery store. Tie the end of the bag tightly so that no air can get in or out. Set the entire thing aside in a warm place for another 40 minutes to rise.
7. Twenty minutes into the rising process, heat the oven to 475F.

Topping:
1. During step #6: Mix the powdered sugar, vegan butter, rum and nondairy milk together until smooth.
2. Bake for 15-20 minutes, they should look pale golden-brown. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush each one with a little hot agave syrup. I just squeezed the bottle over the entire pan of buns and spread with a brush.
3. Mark the tops with the topping mixture. You can do this with a piping bag or you can just ahead (be lazy like me) and do it with a knife freestyle. You want it to look less than perfect so people know they are homemade.
4. Set the entire pan and buns aside to cool on the wire rack.

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