This is one of our favorite starters. One guest said they recalled the “Christmas cookies” from his childhood in Germany. Not overly sweet. You’ll enjoy how simple they are to make.
2-1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk or 4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Cinnamon sugar for tops
Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray or use a non-stick mat a large cookie sheet.
Sift (or wisk well) the dry ingredients (except the brown sugar) into a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, shortening, egg and buttermilk and beat with an electric mixer until the batter is blended and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the raisins. It’s best to let the batter rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before the next step.
Drop the batter by the heaping tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each mound with sugar. Bake about 15 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown—avoid overbaking or they tend to dry out. Serve warm or at room temperature.
We’ve also made orange-currant buns by substituting the raisins with currants and adding the zest of 1/3 to 1 orange, omit the ginger and and cloves. There are plenty of ways to be creative like that with the recipe. Enjoy! And if you freeze the buns for at least 30 minutes after you’ve placed them on the baking sheet, but before baking them, they will rise better. (It’s also a nice way to bake only the amount of buns you need that day.)