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Super seasonal sweet roll: Hot cross buns

We may be dating ourselves by asking this question, but who didn’t play “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder in grade school?

That got us to thinking (about our stomach mostly), because we are seeing hot cross buns all over the place. Just what the heck are hot cross buns and what do they symbolize?

A quick search reveals quite a lengthy (and fascinating) history tied to Good Friday — and not without some controversy and superstition sprinkled in.

The sweet yeast dough bun is often spiced and includes currants or raisins, then it's baked and eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent. The buns were used to remind Christians of the day Jesus died. The cross represents the crucifixion and the spices represent the spices put on the body of Jesus for burial.

Hot cross buns are a natural with a cup of coffee.

Hot cross buns are a natural with a cup of coffee.

Some date the tradition to a few hundred years back to England, Ireland and Scotland (along with colonial countries like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and India). Others believe the tradition goes back to the Middle Ages or even ancient Rome and Greece.

Regardless, they are being sold now. To warm them, we suggest toasting them in the oven, instead of a microwave. Here’s where to get hot cross buns. To be sure they have them call ahead or order, as they sell out fast:

Chrusciki Bakery (four locations including Broadway Market)
Di Camillo Bakery (several locations)
Eileen’s Bakery, 465 Center Road, West Seneca
Mazurek’s Bakery, 543 South Park Ave. and Broadway Market
Melanie’s Eats-N-Sweets, 4220 South Park Ave., Blasdell
Parker’s, 1216 South Park Ave. (starting March 21)

Local grocery stores Wegmans, Tops and Dash’s also carry them.

And because we cannot resist…

Hot-cross buns!
Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!

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