double whammy

As both Easter and Passover are upon us,  I know you all want to whip something up special for each occasion, so here you go….. Hot Cross Buns, a real crowd pleaser for the Christians and Matzo Crack (matzo, toffee and chocolate, oh yeah) for our Jewish pals.  Okay so the buns might take you all afternoon, but come on you’re only going to make them once a year, the matzo however could be in constant recipe rotation.


The Hot Cross Bun recipe comes courtesy of this doozy…. the modern day version of my beloved Edmonds Cookbook.  It came by pigeon post to me via the family and I have been pouring over it ever since, scheming all sorts of traditional N.Z. fare that I will be randomly inflicting upon you people. HAHA….. anyway here goes.

Hot Cross Buns

1/2 pint milk

4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (2 packages)

4 1/2 c flour

4 tbsp brown sugar (I used raw brown)

1 tsp salt

3 tsp allspice, (I also added 1/2 tsp ground ginger )

1/2 stick butter (2 oz) cut into pieces

2 eggs

1 c currants (I also added 1/3 c finely chopped crystallized ginger)

For the Crosses: mix 2 tbsp flour with 1/2 tsp baking powder and 2 tbsp water, to make a paste

For the Glaze: heat 3 tbsp sugar with 3 tbsp milk to combine

Warm milk and sprinkle yeast over.  Stand 5 mins.  Whisk flour, sugar, salt and spices in bowl of standing mixer.  Using your fingers rub butter into flour mixture.  Add eggs and milk/yeast mixture.  Combine using the paddle then switch to dough hook, whale on it for a bit, then mix in the currants and ginger (if using).

Cover with a damp towel and leave in a warm place 2 hours, until its doubled in size.  Okay here you can alternatively put it covered in the fridge overnight, knead it out in the morning and let sit 1 hour to get to room temperature…but if your doing it in the one go.. follow on.

Flour top of dough, turn it out onto a board and knead for a minute or so, divide into 24 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.  Place on greased baking sheet, cover and leave another 45 mins.  Turn oven on to 400F, mix the flour and water cross paste, cut a X in the top of the buns and pipe paste on top…. (yes yes I know just but remember once a year right) I used a zippy with a hole cut out the end.  Okay now they are ready for the oven 15 mins, turn tray 10 mins more, when they come out brush with the glaze (don’t skip the glaze it really makes them)now you can eat, great with big smear of butter….. either that or you stopped reading about 2 paragraphs ago.


Matzo Crack (my expanding waist line would only allow me to make a 1/2 sheet pan, 9 x 13, but it can very easily be doubled to fit a larger sheet pan, 12 x 17)

1 box Matzo

1 stick butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup chocolate chips (dark)

optional toppings: pistacios, crystallized ginger, sea salt

Line baking sheet with tinfoil and parchment.  Fit matzo snugly in pan, leaving no gaps.  Medium heat melt butter and sugar together, stirring for about 3 mins until it thickens, pour over cracker surface evenly.  Put in 350 oven for about 10-15 mins, toffee should bubble up but not burn.  Take out cover with chocolate chips, leave a few minutes for the heat of the pan to melt chocolate, spread evenly with spatula, sprinkle over additional toppings, or not.  Break into pieces and prepared to be addicted.


This recipe comes courtesy of the lovely Sarah.



  1. Michaela
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    hey catskill kiwi! i am a mumbai kiwi and have been enjoying your blog posts for the last few weeks. nice to hear from another displaced new zealander.. those hot cross buns look awesome! and your pav post a few weeks back was great. i made my first ever pavlova this christmas and the indian family all loved it.. go Edmonds Cookbook!

    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted April 8, 2009 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Hey there Go Mumbai Kiwi! there will be some good classic recipes coming up…. and yip the hot cross buns were pretty delicious!

  2. Jacquie
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi Catskill Kiwi,
    For a real taste of home, try this Peter Gordon recipe (I will leave it to you to Americanify) – and happy Easter to you and Mr Weiss!
    one of the beneficiaries of that epic meal in NYC

    (Makes 24)

    200g peeled kumara (yes, kumara!), sliced
    a generous pinch of caraway seeds
    200ml milk
    200ml water
    150g dried grapes (try equal quantities of currants, sultanas and raisins)
    60g sliced dried apricots
    60g mixed peel
    2t five-spice
    3T muscovado sugar
    2 heaped t fresh yeast
    600g strong (high gluten) flour
    1 1/2 t flaky salt
    2 egg yolks
    warm tea, or water, to moisten, if needed

    Place kumara, caraway seeds, milk and water in a pot and bring to the boil, then rapidly simmer until the kumara is cooked.

    Place the dried fruit, peel, five-spice and half the sugar into a bowl. When the kumara is cooked pour about 100ml (less than half a cup) of the cooking liquid into a small bowl with the remaining sugar and 100ml of cold water. Pour the remaining contents of the pot over the dried fruit and mix well with a fork.

    Mix the yeast into the tepid milk mixture and leave it to froth.

    Mix the dried fruit and the yeast mixtures into the flour and salt, adding the yolks once it begins to come together. If the mixture is dry add some warm black tea to it. Knead it briefly.

    Put the dough in a bowl and cover with gladwrap then place in a warm place to almost double in size.

    Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench and knead it briefly to knock out air. Cut into 4 even sized chunks then divide each piece into 6. Roll these into balls and place 4-5cm apart on a tray lined with baking parchment. Place in a warm draft-free place and leave to double in size – about an hour. Turn the oven to 200 C.

    Pipe crosses on top (I used your recipe for this). Bake for 18 to 25 minutes until golden. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes, then place on a cake rack to cool.

  3. Jill
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Dear Tones, loved the hot cross buns! glad to see the book being of some use! XX

  4. Stephanie
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I love hot cross buns, as in the kiddie song my mom always sang with me! Now I finally know what they are and how make them, haha, thanks!

  5. Jiz
    Posted April 18, 2009 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    hey lady,
    can you believe that i actually wowed the hubby’s family with matzo crack? they loved it even though my version didn’t look as beautiful as yours!
    it’s hard finding these kind of recipes but fun to make + thanks xoxoxoxo

  6. this girl
    Posted July 30, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    i tried “hot cross buns” out of Edmonds (a gift from my flatmate when I lived in Wellington) and they tasted like a yeasty hot mess.

    maybe i’ll try again next year.

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