Let us observe the Easter Bunny in his natural habitat…
See how relaxed he is in the vegetable patch? The serene -if vacant- look on his face? He is surrounded by his favored nourishment; cucumbers, peas, carrots and his own entrails.
Wait. His own entrails? How can this be? The Easter Bunny’s tummy has been removed to make way for a *horrors* bowl. What madman or woman would do this to the Easter Bunny? Who could be so callous?
In a word? Me.
This dish (and the above narrative) are an Easter tradition in the Foodie With Family house. I’ve been making this since my eldest was a bonnie wee boy in diapers. And seeing as he and two of his brothers are now a full-fledged, card-carrying, certified (and certifiable) teenager -pardon me while I go hyperventilate for a couple minutes- I think you could call this a truly ingrained holiday tradition.
Here’s how Easter Sunday works Chez Foodie With Family…
The boys wake up early. The Evil Genius and I lay down the law about only eating two pieces of candy from their basket, look the other way and drink something highly caffeinated while they eat six, make a protein heavy breakfast to offset the sugar, hose them all off (or run them through the shower), tell them to get dressed (and pray no one gets to church shoeless like they did that one year…), load up in the van, attend church, return home, take off church clothes, put on our fat pants and lay into the annual bunny bread with wild abandon. Please pardon my run-on sentence. Which is better than a fragment. Oh dear.
That bunny doesn’t stand a chance against this ravening horde. And this is the honest-and-for-true (extra points to anyone who can name who said ‘Honest and for true?”) reality of it; My kids look forward to the Bunny Bread more than they do their Easter Baskets. The whole ride to church, time at church and ride home from church is punctuated with our own call and response, either squawked or whispered, “We ARE having a bunny bread, right, Mom?” “You saw it on the counter, right? Yes. We’re having one.” and “How much longer is this service? I’m dying for Bunny Bread” “They haven’t even started the service. And you’re not dying. Just hang on.”and “Can we eat it as soon as we get home? Do we really have to change clothes?” “Yes. You have to change clothes because I said so.”
‘Round here, this is a strictly Easter dish (which accounts for the year old photos), but I can see this going over a treat at a bunny-loving child’s birthday party or a get together for friends.You don’t have to be a bunny-bread withholder like I am. Feel free to bust out Bugs whenever the muse strikes.
Don’t let the idea of shaping bread scare you away. This is quite simple. While I start with approximately two pounds of homemade bread dough (I recommend this recipe!) you can your favorite standard bread dough or even thawed frozen bread dough. It’s just a matter of breaking it down into steps, and I’ve done that for you.
As for the dip, put whichever one best floats your boat. I love this one the best, but use whatever makes you drool!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go whip up this year’s bunny bread. It’s about that time. Happy Easter, all!
- Approximately 2 pounds homemade bread dough [or 2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen bread dough, thawed]
- 2 pieces of dried fruit (raisins, currants, cherries, blueberries, etc...)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Your favorite dip
- Vegetable sticks or florets (carrots, celery, cucumbers, pea pods, cauliflower, broccoli, etc...)
- Cut your ball of dough into two pieces that are approximately 1 pound each.
- Set one piece aside.
- Cut about ¼ off of the remaining hunk of dough.
- Roll the piece into a ball and then flatten slightly on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet to form the bunny's head.
- Roll the other ¾ of the dough piece into a ball and flatten into a large oval that is about 6-inches across. This will be the bunny's body.
- Place the body directly below (and in contact with) the head on the cookie sheet.
- Cut the second dough ball into four equally sized pieces and roll into balls.
- Roll two of the pieces into long, snaky ropes (about 15 or so inches long) and then fold the ropes in half.
- Place on either side of the head as ears and tuck the ends slightly under the head.
- Take a third dough ball, split into two equally sized pieces and roll into balls.
- Position one ball on either side of the base of the bunny's body like back paws.
- Use a bench knife or butter knife to cut two slits at the outside edges of the back paws to form bunny toes. What? They have toes.
- Divide the last remaining portion of bread into 3 equally sized pieces.
- Roll two of the pieces into balls and place against either side of the upper third of the bunny's body to serve as front paws.
- Take the remaining dough and cut off ¼ of the dough.
- Roll the tiny piece into a ball and position on the bunny's head to serve as the nose.
- Cut the final piece of dough into two equal pieces.
- Roll those pieces into balls and position under the nose for the bunny's cheeks.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and almost doubled in bulk (about an hour in a warm room.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Remove plastic wrap, brush lightly with beaten egg and push the two pieces of dried fruit into the bunny's head for it's eyes.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bunny is golden brown and lovely.
- Let rest on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Transfer the cooled bunny bread to a serving platter.
- Cut a hole equal to the size of the bowl you will use for your dip from the belly of the bunny.
- Set the bowl of dip down into the bunny bread.
- Arrange vegetable sticks and crudites around the bunny and serve!
Originally posted April 22, 2011.