Hot cross buns are a Good Friday tradition, one that's been handed down over the centuries.

It's a tradition that dates back centuries, one that came across the water from Britain. Some stories date back to a 12th century monk who baked buns and marked them with a cross on Good Friday. At one time, they must have been baked during any season became Queen Elizabeth I of England decreed they could be sold only on Good Friday, at Christmas or for funerals.

"One or two a penny hot cross buns" most likely began as a street vendor's cry but was first published in Poor Robin's Almanac in 1733. Later, a rhyme based on it appeared in the Mother Goose rhyme collection. The original read:

‘Hot cross buns, hot cross buns!

One ha’penny, two ha’penny, hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters, give them to your sons,

One ha’penny, two ha’penny, hot cross buns!’

In more modern versions, the half penny became simply a penny.

Since the 17th century, hot cross buns spread throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

Here's the recipe:

Hot Cross Buns

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3-3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

3/4 cup raisins or currants if desired

Combine all ingredients in order, combine well and knead. Add raisins or currents after kneading, then knead them in with a gentle hand. Let dough rest for 10-15 minutes, then divide into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place in a greased baking dish, cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 35 minutes. Brush each with a mixture of egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until brown. Let rolls cool then drizzle an icing cross on top of each one, using 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk blended.

And here's the modern version of the rhyme to enjoy along with freshly baked hot cross buns:

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!