Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sweet Easter Bunny Buns


Frilly cacti flowers are pictured.

A wheat-free diet can be life changing. Especially if you love cakes, and cookies, and bread. Sweet rolls, croissants, and pies all obviously contain wheat. Even main dishes and vegetables contain wheat; pasta dishes, such as lasagna, and breaded vegetables, such as onion rings. This is just to name a few foods, some of my favorites. Some grains are related to wheat to varying degrees. Rye is related to wheat, as is barley, oat, millet, and rice. The lesser-known grains, such as spelt, an ancient wheat, and teff, an Ethiopian grain, are also related to wheat. 

Grains unrelated to wheat are buckwheat flour, amaranth flour, and quinoa flour, to name just a few that I am going to try soon. I will purchase them prepackaged from a dedicated facility. Buckwheat is related to rhubarb. Nut flours, such as almond and chestnut, are options, also. So much too learn, so late in life! I am learning to needlepoint, which seems easy in comparison. Following is a fun recipe, whether you have children, or not.

Yeast bread is like pie crust; it just takes practice. Even your attempts are worth eating, so do not feel that it is not worth your time. And how fun to be the one who can make the Angel Biscuits, the Dinner Rolls, or even the Cinnamon Rolls for a gathering.

Sweet Bunny Buns

Your favorite sweet bread recipe, or:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk, scalded
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
5-1/2 cups flour, sifted
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice

Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon butter
Red food coloring of choice, optional

Soften the yeast in the warm water and set aside. Beat the scalded milk, sugar, butter and salt together and cool until lukewarm. Stir in approximately 2 cups of flour and beat well. Mix in eggs and stir in the softened yeast. Stir in the orange juice and then the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Let the dough stand for 10 minutes.

Knead the dough with the heel of your hand on a lightly floured surface, until smooth and elastic, between 5 and 10 minutes. Place in a lightly buttered bowl, turning once to butter surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size, or about 2 hours. Deflate by pressing down. Cover, and let stand for 10 minutes more.

To form the bunnies (in profile), roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Cut the dough into strips about 1/2-inch wide and roll between your hands to make smooth strips. Cut a 10-inch strip of the rolled dough for the bunny body; coiling loosely on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Cut a 5-inch strip for the bunny head and coil loosely, touching the upper right corner of the body. For the ears, cut two 1-1/2-inch strips of dough, shaping ends to a curved point, and attach to the top of the head at a cute angle. Finally, make a small ball of dough and attach to the center left side of the bunny for the tail.

Cover the bunnies and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size, about 45 to 60 minutes. Bake at 375ยบ F for 12 to 15 minutes. Frost while warm with the glaze.

Glaze: Mix the glaze ingredients until well blended and brush over the warm bunny rolls. Tint a small amount pink for the ears, if desired.

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