Our good friends Pam and John introduced me to these cute little bunny rolls a few weeks ago. They are both really great cooks and at least once a month all of us get together and cook for one another. Pam and John have hosted many game nights where they have made homemade pizza, a fondue spread, and some excellent chili. You may remember that I made some delicious Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes for Pam after she announced that she was expecting baby number 3! We brought them over to one of the get togethers they hosted and they were a huge hit.
A few weeks ago we went over to Pam and Johns to watch Ohio State play in March Madness. John had made some delicious homemade chili, along with numerous other tasty bites. One of the items he made caught my eye right away…these hopping bunny rolls! Just one bite and I knew that I would have to share this recipe with all of you. John’s family has been making this recipe for many years, in fact the recipe comes from a beloved 1959 Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookbook. These rolls are great not only for the Easter holiday, but any springtime brunch!
Yield: 20 bunny rolls
For the Bunny Rolls:
1 ¼ cups milk, warm (110 degrees)
1/3 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1 package active dry yeast
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice, room temperature
For the Orange Icing:
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 - 3 tablespoons orange juice, divided
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, shut off.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar; add yeast and let rest 10 minutes until foamy.
Add 5 cups of flour, cardamom, butter, salt, eggs, orange zest and orange juice to the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook on medium-low until thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes. Add up to ½ cup of additional flour if the dough is too sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll one half of the dough into a 14x10-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half crosswise. Cut one half of the rectangle into 6 strips, 10 inches long. Roll 5 of the strips into ropes about 12 inches long. To form the bunnies, overlap one end of strip over the other to form a loop; bring the end that's underneath up over the top end, letting one end extend on each side to make ears. Pat tips of ears to shape in point. With remaining strip of dough, shape 5 small balls of dough for the tails. Moisten ball and place atop dough at bottom of loop. Press tails onto dough and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second half of the rectangle. Repeat with the reserved second half of dough.
After shaping, cover and let rise until nearly double, 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degree F. Bake, one baking sheet at a time, until golden brown, 11 to 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and allow to cool slightly on wire racks.
While the bunny rolls are baking, make the orange icing. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, orange zest and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. Add up to another 1 tablespoon of orange juice if the mixture is too stiff. Drizzle over the top of the warm bunny rolls. Let harden, about 5 minutes, before serving.
Source: adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookbook
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