Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns

Ever since I learned the three-note “Hot Cross Buns” song on my recorder in nursery school, I’ve always wondered what an actual hot cross bun tasted like. Sure I saw the illustration that accompanied the simple sheet music (with the drawing of the mustachioed baker selling his buns), but the buns pretty much looked like brown bread rolls with an X on top–did they taste just as plain?

Fast forward a few decades and now it seems like these classic baked goods are making a comeback, in the everything-old-is-new-again trend (see bourbon cocktails, chicken liver mousse, and anything steampunk). As my welcome snack (every hotel should do this) the first night of my stay at the new London Edition Hotel last week, hot cross buns appeared next to my bed. Turns out, they’re a traditional Easter treat, which is probably why I never saw then for sale before (always missing the holiday season at the bakery).

And what do these sweet rolls taste like? Pretty unspectacular, really, like a delicately spiced bread roll dotted with candied orange peel (not my favorite) and other dried fruits. Guess I wasn’t missing out all these years, after all.

“Hot cross buns, hot cross buns
One a penny, two a penny
Hot cross buns”