Lemon Thyme Tea Bread
1 3 – ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon snipped fresh lemon thyme or thyme
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 recipe Lemon Glaze (see recipe below)
Grease and lightly flour an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan; set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with electric mixer on high-speed until light and fluffy. On medium-low speed, gradually add the sugar, beating well. Add the egg and beat mixture until combined.
In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating well after each addition. Stir in lemon thyme and lemon peel. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the loaf from pan; place on the rack.
Drizzle Lemon Glaze over the warm loaf. Cool completely. Makes 1 loaf (16 servings).
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon juice or milk
In a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar and lemon peel. Stir in enough lemon juice or milk (about 1 teaspoon) to make a drizzling consistency.
Apricot-Raisin Hot Cross Buns
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1/8 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup (stick) butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely snipped dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins, coarsely chopped
1 egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon water
Dried apricots cut into strips (optional)
In a large mixing bowl place 2 cups of the flour; set aside. In a small bowl combine the yeast, warm water, and 1/8 teaspoon sugar. Stir until yeast is dissolved; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir the milk, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt until warm (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F) and butter almost melts. Add to flour mixture along with the yeast mixture and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high-speed for 3 minutes. Stir in snipped apricots, raisins, and as much of the remaining flour as you can with a wooden spoon.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft (not sticky) dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough in a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1-1/2 hours).
Punch dough down. Turn out onto a floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Grease two baking sheets; set aside. Divide dough into 20 portions; shape each into a smooth ball. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Cover; let rise until nearly double (45 to 60 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Make a crisscross slash across top of each bun with a sharp knife or scissors. In a small cup combine beaten egg white and water. Brush mixture over buns. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking. Top with apricot strips. Serve warm. Store remaining buns in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. To reheat, place 1 or 2 buns at a time on a microwave-safe plate and heat 15 to 20 seconds. Makes 20 buns.
Hot Cross Buns
1/4 cup apple juice or rum
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
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
Lightly grease a 10″ square pan or 9″ x 13″ pan.
Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to “shrink wrap” itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.
When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.
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.
1 large egg white, reserved from above
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing
Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.
Sources BHG, Midwest Living