Surprise: It's buying them.

For many families, Hot Cross Buns are a beloved Easter tradition. These raisin-filled sweet rolls, which are topped with icing in the shape of a cross, are the ideal holiday recipe because they are both delicious and religiously symbolic. You can't say that about a glazed ham or a chocolate bunny.

You've probably eaten a Hot Cross Bun, but have you ever eaten a really great one? Around this time of year, you'll see trays and trays of Hot Cross Buns at bakeries and supermarkets across the South. And in keeping with tradition, you'll probably pick up a dozen buns for Easter brunch or Good Friday. They will be good, but not as good as the ones you can make yourself.

That's right: like biscuits or yeast rolls, Hot Cross Buns are so much better when they are freshly baked. And they are easier to make than you might think—even if you're a bread-baking novice. In fact, they are a great cooking project to make with kids. Little helpers will like stirring the ingredients together and sprinkling the raisins over the dough; older kids can pipe on the icing at the end.

Our simple recipe, which makes about 18 buns, has layers of raisins and cinnamon sugar throughout, giving you sweetness and a hint of warm spice in every bite. The homemade buns travel well (especially if you ice them just before serving) and the recipe can be easily doubled if you're feeding a large crowd.

Bake a batch this weekend and prepare to be surprised at how much better they are than store-bought buns. Once you've tried them, baking Hot Cross Buns will become as much as part of your Easter celebration as the after-church egg hunt.