My husband came home from the grocery store last night with Hot Cross Buns. I was surprised because they had never had them before Ash Wednesday in past years. I almost refused to eat them because they were “seasonally incorrect”. Of course, I did try one to be sure that they weren’t mislabeled or anything…
I’d never even heard of HCB before college. My freshman year in the dining commons at UMass Amherst changed all that. Huge pans of actually hot, cross buns. We actually even put butter on them, too. No wonder the “Freshman 15” was a problem.
I’ve made a fairly exhaustive study of the local grocery stores’ versions and the one from Giant come out on top. Surprisingly, Wegmans isn’t the winner in this case.
Looking for a video on the history of HCB, I came across one for making these at home.
Maybe that wouldn’t be a good thing!
A bit of HCB trivia: English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or grow moldy during the subsequent year.
Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone ill is said to help them recover.
If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck.
If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.
Turns out there’s also a “Not Cross Bun” which is a variation on the hot cross bun. It uses the same ingredients but instead of having a “cross” on top, it is has a smiley face in reference to it being “not cross” or “angry”.
The not cross bun was first sold commercially in 2014 by an Australian bakery in response to supermarkets selling hot cross buns as early as Boxing Day (December 26)