Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bunny Buns

We have been so busy lately. The last time I sat down in my own house was last Sunday. Today I slept in until 6:45 (that's AM) and I'm thinking I already need a nap.

When I opened my Reader, I had 387 unread messages. You cannot believe the temptation so just hit the Mark as Read button and be done with it. But I can't do that. I just can't. What if I miss something awesome? Unique? Delicious? Perfect?

Fortunately, I decided to hit a few posts just to see what was out there. I discovered the Recipe Shoe Box a few weeks ago. It just happened that the first post I saw was the one for these adorable rolls. The Kids were sitting next to (on top of) me barely awake when I opened her site. They both were instantly awake, rummaging through the kitchen looking for ingredients.

Add a package of yeast to 1/4 cup of warm water and set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of oil, a teaspoon of salt and a cup of hot milk. Heat the milk in the microwave for a little over a minute so it is hot but not boiling.
Mix in 2 tablespoons of orange zest, 1/4 cup orange juice and the yeast mixture.
Gradually add in the flour. I didn't quite use 5 1/2 cups. You want an elastic dough that isn't terribly sticky. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.Add a little olive oil to a large bowl.
Coat the dough with the oil (I had a little too much in there and just poured the excess off), cover and let rise for 1-2 hours.
It should double in size and look more like this.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 14 inches wide. I used a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 1/2 inch strips.

Fold one strip in half and twist it to make a loop.

Cross the ends again.
My strips ended up being a little bit too long, so I sliced off the tops of the super long ears. I used these scraps to roll into a ball. Place the ball into the loop to form the bunny tail.

Should your strips turn out to be the perfect length, take one of your strips and cut it into half inch chunks to form your tail.

Brush the tops of the rolls with an egg wash made by mixing a tablespoon of water with an egg white.
Put The Girl to work making those cute little bunny faces. Lara used round sprinkles for the eyes and noses, which I did not have. I had mini chocolate chips.
This is some pretty tedious work that does not hold a nine year old's attention very well. I think she made it through about half of them before she was ready to give up on the faces.
The Boy wanted a fat bunny, so I let him make one. This reminds me of a teddy bear bread I made a looooonnnggg time ago as a 4-H project.
Let these rise again in a warm place for another hour or so and then bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
Pretend there is a picture of me mixing up a glaze of powdered sugar, water and orange juice. If you don't like the orange (we surprisingly LOVED it) you can substitute water. Brush this on as soon as the rolls are out of the oven.

NOTE: If you used chocolate chips for the decoration, do NOT brush over them. Brush around. Otherwise, your poor bunny's face will look like The Boy's when he comes home from playing at my Dad's farm.
These may well be the cutest things ever made. And delicious. I couldn't really detect the orange in the dough, but the orange in the glaze was perfect. These are very sneaky since they are not as sweet as cinnamon rolls, you can eat about four of them before you start thinking maybe you are overdoing it.

It has been declared at our house that these are only to be made at each and every Easter from now until the end of time. There is also a restriction stating that they may ONLY be made at Easter time, unless we get actual rabbits and they have babies, then we can make these to celebrate.

Now if that's not a strong hint, I don't know what is.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Bunny Buns
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbs. grated orange peel
5-1/2 cups flour
Ice cream sprinkles (optional for making faces)

2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs. hot water
2 Tbs. orange juice
1 tsp. butter

In a medium sized bowl, combine the yeast and the warm water. Set aside. In another bowl, heat milk in microwave so it is hot, but not boiling. Blend hot milk with sugar, oil, and salt. Add eggs, yeast with water, orange juice, and orange peel. Add flour a few cups at a time to make a soft dough. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours, or until double in size. Punch dough down and let stand for 10 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a long rectangle 1/2-inch thick. Cut dough into strips 1/2-inch wide and 14-inches long.

Roll the dough to make rounded snake shapes. Reserve 1-2 of the strips to cut into pieces about 1/2-inch long and roll into small balls (for the tails).

Place one long piece of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Place one end of the strip over the other to make a loop; bring the end that is underneath up and cross it over the other end. Place a ball of dough on top of the bottom loop (to be the tail).
To make faces, make an egg wash with one egg white and one tablespoon of warm water. Brush over the tops of the bunnies. Using a combination of sprinkles, raisins, chocolate chips, etc, make a little face at the base of the "ears".

Cover bunnies and allow to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes, until nearly double in size. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

For the glaze, stir powdered sugar, water, orange juice, and butter together. Frost bunnies with the glaze while still warm. Makes about 20 bunny buns.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nutella Pizza

Since we have been making every version of pizza known to man and Cici's (macaroni and cheese topping anyone?), we figured we might as well double that dough recipe and make dessert to go along with it.

Robin Sue posted this ages ago and I am just now getting around to making it. If you listen carefully, you will hear crying in the background.

Mix up your dough. Go with the No Rise Dough recipe. It will never fail you.
Have The Girl spread it out into an approximate circle.
Bake this until it's nice and crispy. Mine took about 8 minutes.

Spread on the Nutella. I used about half a cup. I heated the Nutella for about 30 seconds in the microwave so it would spread a little easier.
Sprinkle on a chopped up apple. Granny Smith is my favorite and really gives this a nice bite. I luckily had some leftover toffee bits from the Toffee Rolls so I sprinkled those on, along with a few chopped walnuts on one half. The Kids don't really care for nuts, so I left some nut free.
Allow the 'ooohs' and 'aaahhs'
Slice it up and have it for dessert. And a snack. And breakfast if it lasts that long.

Nutella is one of those hidden gems that people in my part of the country just now seem to be discovering. One of my kids had a jar at a track meet the other day and was dipping peanut butter crackers in it. Yum! The Boy likes it on his toast with banana slices. You can make a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich.

But this is by far my favorite way to use it.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Nutella Pizza
one apple finely diced
2/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
2/3 cup toffee bits
Spread on as much slightly heated Nutella as you want onto your baked pizza crust. Add apple, toffee and walnut pieces. Slice and enjoy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No Rise Pizza Dough

We have been on a pizza kick lately. Anything you can possibly imagine, we have made into a pizza topping. It started out as a way to clean out the refrigerator and grew into a monster.

The problem I ran into was time. Most dough recipes require at least some sort of rising time for them to turn out edible. So I was on a search to find one that didn't require rising. I have a crazy crust dough recipe, but I never really liked the texture of it. It's good in a pinch and maybe for a change of pace, but it didn't quite fit what I wanted. So off to the blogosphere it was to find my perfect recipe.

Now, there are a LOT of really good pizza dough recipes out there, but several months ago, I came across My Bizzy Kitchen's recipe for a no rise pizza dough. This is it. This is what I have been searching for.

This may be the best pizza dough I have ever had.

AND it does not have to rise. Hence the title, No Rise Pizza Dough.

Biz makes hers in a food processor, but I just put mine in my Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook. (Do you have one of these? No???? Get one. Get one now. They are worth every penny you have to shell out.)

And try this dough. We have made Friday our Pizza Night because of this recipe.
No Rise Pizza Dough
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 package active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat water to 110 degrees. Add yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes until its all nice and bubbly. Mix 2 cups flour and salt together. Add olive oil to yeast/water mixture and stir. Slowly pour in yeast mixture. Mix well. Add enough extra flour so that it stops sticking to the sides. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.

For a crispy cruncy crust: prebake dough at 425 for 7 minutes, remove from oven, add toppings and then slide pizza directly onto the oven on the lowest rack until the toppings all melt together.

For a chewy crust: put the pizza in the oven with all the toppings, leave it on the cookie sheet and cook at 400 degrees.

This recipe makes two 12 inch pizzas.