Christmas Specialty - Hot Cross Buns

  ¾ cup luke warm water
  4 tsp instant dry yeast
  1/3 cup sugar
  3 eggs
  ½ cup vegetable oil
  3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  ¾ tsp salt
  ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  ¼ tsp ground clove
  1/3 cup dried raisins
  ¼ orange peel

Ingredients for icing
  ¾ cup icing sugar, sifted
  1 tsp milk, plus extra if needed

Ingredients for glaze
  ½ cup sugar
  3 tsps water
  1 tsp vanilla extract

1. For the dough, measure all of the ingredients except the raisins and set into the bowl.
2. knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about five minutes (the dough should be soft and must stick to the bottom of the bowl).
3. If mixing by hand, stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together, then turn out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth.
4. Towards the end of kneading, add the raisins and mixed peel and knead again. Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 75 to 90 minutes, until doubled in size.
5. Turn the risen dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and divide into 12 even pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by rolling between your hands while it remains on the work surface.
6. Place the rolled buns in a greased pan, leaving space between them. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the buns rise for 45 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Uncover the buns and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a rich brown on top. While still hot from the oven, prepare the glaze.
8. For the glaze, bring the sugar, water and vanilla up to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Brush this syrup over the still-hot buns, until it has all been used. Let the buns cool completely in the tin.
9. For the icing, stir the icing sugar and milk together until a thick consistency suitable for piping (add a few more drops of milk, if needed).
10. Pour this into a small piping bag and pipe crosses on top of each bun, letting the icing set for an hour before serving.

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