Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

From: Art of Gluten-Free Baking
http://artofglutenfreebaking.com

-adapted from Gourmet Traveller

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups (350 g) granulated sugar, divided, plus 1 tablespoon
1 2/3 cups (375 ml) plus 1/3 cup (80 ml) water
1 Granny Smith apple (or flavorful apple of your choice), unpeeled, cored and diced
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons lemon juice

5 cups (700 g) of Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All Purpose flour mix, divided
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 tablespoon double acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

2 ¼ cups (530 ml) warm but not hot milk (about 110 degrees F)

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 ¼ cups (150 g) golden raisins
½ cup (50 g) dried apples, diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystalized ginger
3 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
Zest from 1 lemon
Zest from 1 orange

2 extra-large eggs
7 tablespoons (100 g; 3.5 oz) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Neutral tasting oil for brushing dough bowl (I like Rice Bran oil)
1/3 cup (40 g) tapioca flour for dusting

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine 1 2/3 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) of the sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the cinnamon stick, lemon juice, and the diced apple, and stir to combine. Reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes and the apple pieces are cooked through and translucent. Remove from heat. Carefully strain the syrup into a small bowl and place the cooked apples into another small bowl. Let both cool.

While the apples are cooking, prepare the following:

In a small bowl, combine the raisins, diced dried apple, crystalized ginger, ground cinnamon, allspice, and the zests of orange and lemon.

In a medium bowl, combine 4 2/3 cups of the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar.

In a small bowl or a glass measuring cup, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar into the warm milk until dissolved. Add the yeast and whisk until dissolved. Let sit until yeast has started to foam.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, put the eggs and melted butter. Add the yeast mixture. Beat on low for a few seconds to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat on low for a few seconds to combine and then raise speed to medium high and beat for 3 minutes.

Remove the paddle attachment (scraping off as much of the dough as possible back into the bowl) and attach the dough hook. Add the dried fruit and spice mixture and the strained, cooked apples to the mixture. Turn mixer speed to medium low and beat for several seconds to combine.

Brush another large bowl with oil and scrape your dough into that bowl. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour (until doubled in bulk).

After 1 hour (or when the mixture has doubled), turn on oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C; Gas Mark 7) to preheat.

As oven is preheating, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1/3 cup tapioca flour (not flour mix) into a bowl. Uncover the risen dough. Dip a 1/3 cup measure into the tapioca flour and shake off the excess. Pat your palms in the tapioca flour to cover. Scoop out a heaping 1/3 cup of dough and shake out the dough into your hand—-it may seem like it’s not stiff enough to handle, but it is. With both hands, gently shape into a ball. Place dough ball into the center of the baking sheet.

You are now going to create 2 concentric circles of dough balls that are touching each other around the middle ball. Repeat dipping the measuring cup and your palms into the tapioca flour as needed. Repeat scooping and shaping process for succeeding blogs of dough and place them around the middle ball. Put 7 balls around the middle ball, and then 11 dough balls around this 2nd ring. The dough balls should be gently touching each other. If desired, us a pastry brush to gently brush off the excess tapioca flour.

Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes. The buns should look nicely risen and plump.

Once the buns have been rising for about 40 minutes, in a small bowl mix together the remaining 1/3 cup (40 g) of flour with 1/3 cup (80 ml) of cold water. Whisk until smooth (or as smooth as it gets) to make a flour paste. You will use this mixture to pipe a cross onto each bun. You can use a pastry bag with a medium tip or you can use a Ziploc bag with one of the corners cut off. Pipe a cross onto the top of each bun. You should have just enough flour paste to do this.

Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C; Gas Mark 7) for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C; Gas Mark 6) and bake for another 25 minutes. The buns should be golden brown while the crosses will retain a lighter color.

As the buns are baking, place the syrup mixture in a heavy bottomed pan on the stove and simmer over medium low heat. This will heat up the syrup and reduce it a bit.

Remove the baking sheet from oven and brush the hot buns well with the syrup mixture. Place the baking pan on a wire rack to cool. Be aware that the glaze will retain a sticky consistency as it dries.

Store at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.