I'm a couple days late, so the just past Cookbook Challenge theme was Celebration. I chose this recipe for Garden Bunnies from my Better Homes & Gardens Classic Recipes cookbook as a celebration of Spring. They can also be used to celebrate Easter, obviously.
I made the mistake of using a rather old envelope of yeast, so my Garden Bunnies didn't rise very well and turned out a little dense. They tasted very good, though, and were easier to make than I thought they would be!
5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 pkg. active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup mixed snipped fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, parsley, and thyme; or 3 to 4 tsp. dried herbs, crushed
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 recipe Sugar-Sage Topping or Rosemary-Cheese Topping (below)
1 egg white
1 tbsp water
Note: Rosemary and sage are strong-flavored herbs. If using them alone, add only 2 tablespoons fresh or 2 teaspoons dried.
Sugar-Sage Topping: In a small bowl stir together 1/3 cup fine sanding sugar or granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh sage.
Rosemary-Cheese Topping: In a small bowl stir together 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon fine snipped fresh rosemary.
1. In a large mixing bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, herbs, sugar, butter, and salt just until warm (120F to 130F) and butter almost melts.
Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface.
Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (45 to 60 minutes).
3. Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet; set aside.
4. To form bunnies, roll a portion of dough into an 8-inch circle. With a sharp knife, cut into 6 wedges.
From 4 wedges, snip a small amount of dough to make tails for bunnies. Gently shape the 4 wedges into ovals by pulling edges under and pinching together. Place ovals, pinched side down, on prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly to 4 inches long.
5. Form snipped pieces of dough into tails; press onto one end of dough ovals. To make heads and ears, divide the remaining 2 wedges in half, making 4 small wedges total. Shape each wedge into a teardrop shape, about 4 inches long. With kitchen shears, cut into the pointed end of each, making cuts about 2 1/2 inches long. Lay each set of ears on top of an oval shape, near end opposite tail. If necessary, brush with water to help dough stick together. Gently give the ears a half twist so the cut edge is facing up.
6. Repeat rolling and shaping with the other portion of dough.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 30 minutes).
7. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare Sugar-Sage Topping or Rosemary-Cheese Topping; set toppings aside. In a small bowl beat together egg white and water. Brush bunnies with egg mixture. Sprinkle (or rub) with topping. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until done, covering with foil the last half of baking to prevent overbrowning. Serve warm. Makes 8 bunnies.