The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Friday, April 6, 2012

What's Cookin' for Easter

Good morning friends!  My heart is a bit heavy this morning as I ponder the crucifixion of my precious Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, but one thing is certain...Easter morning is coming, and death is overcome!  So grateful that He was willing to make such an amazing sacrifice for ME!  May I never forget, and may I always strive to honor Him in all that I say and do.

 
Those of you who know me personally, probably know that our family hosts a large Easter BBQ out in Zig Zag every year.  Up to 200 or so of our various family members and close friends come out to spend the day getting caught up, eating my brother's infamous ribs and more delicious potluck food than you can imagine.  This is all followed by rides for the kids on my brother's antique (1929 model) fire truck and an all out WAR with confetti eggs (known as cascaron├ęs here in South Texas)
It's an all day affair, exhausting but wonderful.  I'm so blessed to have the treasure of a large, close-knit family!

Anyway, I'm not actually making this recipe this year, but for many years it has been one of my traditional offerings for the event.  Not sure when I started making it, but judging by the pictures I have, I’m guessing somewhere around 2002.
Mr. Bunny - 2002

We call it "Bunny Bread", and it's always a hit (if I have time to get it made!).  The first year I made it, I only made one, and the various kids ATTACKED it before any of the adults even had time to see it.  LOL!  It was G-O-N-E in a matter of seconds!  After that, I always make two loaves.  One for the kids, and one for the adults.  The children now have strict orders not to touch the adult one.  J
I came across the bread recipe many years ago in a Taste of Home magazine.  I added the spinach dip myself, using the old standby recipe on the back of the Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix packet.  You can leave yours as just plain bread, or fill it with any dip you want!  Be creative and make it your own, like I did.
Mr. & Mrs Bunny 2004
Faithy's Infamous Easter Bunny Bread
Adult's Bunny - 2003

2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen bread dough, thawed
2 raisins (I sometimes used dried cranberries to give that red-eyed rabbit look)
2 sliced almonds
1 egg, lightly beaten
lettuce leaves & various veggies for garnish
spinach dip (or dip recipe of your choice)

Cut a fourth off of one loaf of dough; shape into a pear to form the head.  For the body, flatten the remaining portion into a 7” x 6” oval; place on a greased baking sheet.  Place head above body.  Make narrow cuts, about ¾” deep, on each side of the head for whiskers.
Kids' Bunny - 2003
Cut the second loaf into four equal portions.  For ears, shape two portions into 16” ropes; fold ropes in half.  Arrange ears with open ends touching the head.  (Sometimes I make the ears floppy, sometimes standing tall…usually it’s based on whatever fits on my pan best!)  Cut a third portion of dough in half; shape each piece into a 3-1/2” oval for back paws.  Cut two 1” slits on the top edge for toes.  Position these pieces on each side, at the bottom of the body.

Divide the fourth portion of dough into three pieces.  Shape two pieces into 2-1/2” balls for the front paws; shape the remaining piece into two 1” balls for the cheeks and one ½” ball for the nose.  Place paws on each side of the body; cut two 1” slits for the toes.  Place cheeks and nose on face.

Add raisins for eyes and almonds for teeth.  (It’s funny, sometime as the bread bakes, it makes the “teeth” really crooked - sometimes the eyes come out a bit strange too - I think it gives each bunny it’s own personality!)
Brush dough with egg.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.  Bake at 350┬║ F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Place bread on a lettuce-lined 16” x 13” serving tray (I just use the cookie sheet I bake it on).  Cut a 5” x 4” oval (or whatever size your bowl is) in the center of the body.  Hollow out the bread, leaving a ½-in. shell (discard removed bread or save for another use - I usually just cube it and set it out with everything else).  Line with lettuce and fill with dip.  (I generally just settle a bowl full of dip into it, so the bread doesn't get soggy.)
Bunny - in process 2005
(This one looked a bit surprised I think!)
Garnish the entire thing with additional lettuce and veggies (I use whatever veggies I have on hand - grape or cherry tomatoes and baby carrots work well.  I've also used sliced cucumbers or yellow & zucchini squash.)

It sounds complicated, but it’s really not.  With the store-bought bread dough, it’s amazingly simple.  I keep saying I’m going to try it with homemade dough one of these years, but I’m always short on time, so that hasn’t happened yet.  J

Anyway…gotta run, preparations for tomorrow’s big day are in full swing, and I’ve got lots to do!  I pray that each of you will be abundantly blessed this Easter weekend, and that you’ll be able to spend at least part of it with your family, like I do.  May we never forget all that Christ has done for us!

Wishing you a “Hoppy Easter”…and as always many blessings,
--Faithy

(NOTE:  Please excuse the photo quality…hope you can get the basic idea though.  Having a picture to work from really helps make sense of it all.)