Spring Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

Source:  http://www.sheknows.com/ – by Diana Johnson

Healthy Rolls Kids Find Irresistible

These adorable bird rolls are a fun way to work a serving of whole grains into your Easter brunch.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

I don’t know which I like better: that these little birdies are so easy to make or that they’re so cute, kids don’t even notice they’re eating whole grains. While this is a lovely sweet roll recipe made with the goodness of whole wheat, it’s the shape that really makes it something special.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

If you’ve never made your own bread before, don’t be intimidated. This is a great dough to work with.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

Notice how the dough has doubled in size in its bowl between the first and second picture? That’s your indicator that it is ready for shaping. Just make sure you’re using instant dry yeast. There is a whole different process for other varieties of yeast.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

To shape your birds, start with a piece of dough about the size of a large egg or Roma tomato. Start pulling and stretching the top of the dough toward the underside.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

Soon the top and sides should be a nice rounded oval shape.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

Repeat this stretching with a small circle of dough, about the size of a large cherry tomato. Place the circle on top of one end of the oval. Pinch the opposite end into a point for the bird’s tail.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

Use a toothpick to poke a slot into the front and center of the circle, and insert the pointy tip of an almond. Now you have a beak.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

Poke two holes on either side, and use the toothpick to press peppercorn eyes into those holes.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

Take a pair of clean, dry scissors, and cut at an angle into both sides of the bird to make wings. Brush some egg wash on the birds to help them get a nice color during baking.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

I find that each time I make these rolls, half my birds tend to have their heads fall off during baking. Check on them after 6 to 8 minutes. If a head has fallen off, insert a toothpick into the body, and stick the head onto the toothpick.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

As you can see in the photos, the dark spot from the top of the head or the cheeks touching the pan actually looks quite cute. Just make sure to warn your guests to remove the toothpicks before eating. They might want to be careful with the peppercorns as well.

These rolls will keep for 3 to 4 days, but I like them best warm from the oven. You can always reheat them in a 300-degree F oven for a couple of minutes before serving.

 Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls

Bird-shaped whole wheat rolls recipe

Yields 10

Ingredients:

  • 3 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups hard red whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or dehydrated cane juice)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 whole almonds
  • 20 peppercorns

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven on warm or about 170 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl (or a bowl of a stand mixer), add the yeast and flour, and stir together.
  3. Add the water, sugar, melted butter, salt, and only one egg. Mix well, and knead (or beat with a dough hook) for 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the ball of dough, and lightly oil the bowl. Replace the ball of dough, and cover the bowl with a damp towel.
  5. Place the bowl in the warm oven, and turn the oven off. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
  6. Remove the bowl from the oven, and turn the oven on to 400 degrees F.
  7. Pinch off a piece of dough, about the size of a large egg. Pull and stretch the dough from the top to the underside until you have a smooth oval. Place the oval ball of dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  8. Pinch off another piece of dough, about the size of a large cherry tomato. Pull and stretch again until you have a smooth ball.
  9. Place the small ball on top of one end of the oval, and then pinch the other end of the oval into a point.
  10. Use a toothpick to poke a slot in the front and center of the round ball of dough. Chop the tip off an almond, and insert the pointy tip into that slot.
  11. Poke two more holes on either side of the almond, and insert peppercorns for eyes.
  12. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  13. Use a pair of scissors to snip at an angle into the sides of each bird to make wings.
  14. Whisk your second egg with a little water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash onto the backs and heads of your birds.
  15. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Check your birds after about 8 minutes. If a head has fallen off, insert a toothpick into the body, and reattach the head on the toothpick.

 

 

 

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Filed under Food & Recipes, Holiday & Seasonal Recipes, Kitchen & Cooking Tips, Spring Recipes

Stained Glass Cookies: The colors of Spring shine through

Source: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/ – by:

StainedGlassCook_077_750x500

Another perennial favorite are Jolly Rancher candies. Each one is like a little jewel, crystal clear sparklingly colorful, and scrumptiously flavorful. A bowlful on the table looks like you’ve captured a rainbow.

Luckily, there is a great technique that allows me (and YOU) to combine luminous candy and baking into some of the lovely cookies you’ve ever seen.

You’ll need a batch of your favorite roll-out cookie dough, a bag of colorful hard candies (Jolly Rancher and Life Savers are test kitchen favorites), and an array of cookie cutters. With the range of cutters we have, your imagination will be running wild in no time.

Let’s get started making these stained glass cookies.

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Roll your cookie dough out to 1/4″ thickness. You want the cookies a little on the thicker side to give the candy a deep “well” to sit it.

Cut out shapes and designs, being sure to leave plenty of cookie between cuts for structure.

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If you are using multiple colors of candy, a mini food processor can be a real time-saver. Start with your lightest color of candy and progress to the darker colors. You won’t need to wash the chopper between batches either, which is a huge bonus in my book.

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Grind or break the candy until you have a good amount of chunks, but also some finer pieces. You don’t want to blend the whole mixture to powder, that’s actually a bit too fine. Shoot for pieces the size of mini chocolate chips.

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To make your “palette” , pour your crushed candy out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or tray. Gather several small measuring spoons or baby spoons. I’m partial to 1/8 and 1/4 teaspoons.

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Use the small spoons to fill the cut-outs with crushed candy. You’ll want the candy slightly mounded in the wells, but not so much that it spills over onto the cookie.

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The top well of this cookie is filled just right. The bottom, not so much. You can see how the candy has spilled over already, which will bake onto the outside of the cookie. Not a ruination by any means, but try to avoid overfilling.

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These cookies are beautiful already and they haven’t even been baked yet!

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One of my favorite things about making these cookies is when the colors begin to get blended together. Try scooping from the mixed sections, you can get some amazing swirls and stripes in your “glass”.

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Bake the cookies in a 350°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. If your cookies are larger, baking time may be longer. I do recommend sticking to the smaller cookies for this technique so that your candy does not burn before your cookies are done.

Allow the cookies to cool completely on the parchment. The candy needs a chance to set and firm up again, so don’t move them too soon.

Once they are cool and firm you can peel them up and serve them, or use them to decorate your home and kitchen. These dragonflies had holes added before baking, and would look enchanting hanging in a bright window.

Enjoy trying this technique as spring approaches and the outside world begins to blossom with color. And if you are still buried in snow, well you’ll just have to make your own rainbows!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under cookies, Spring, Stained Glass Cookies

Easter Bunny Surprise Cake

bunny cake, Bunny Surprise Cake, Easter, recipe, vanilla cake mix

Baking Gifts from the Oven

Source: http://www.tablespoon.com/

 Bunny Surprise Cake

Blogger Christy Denney of The Girl Who Ate Everything shares a favorite recipe Bunny Surprise Cake. This bunny cake starts with a vanilla cake mix and is decorated to look like an Easter bunny with coconut and assorted candies. By adding some Easter colors to the batter a colorful surprise awaits when each slice of cake is served.

Ingredients

Cake

1 vanilla cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

Pink, purple and yellow food colors

Frosting and Decorations

2 containers Betty Crocker® Whipped fluffy white frosting
3 cups flaked coconut

Red licorice rope

Jelly beans
Betty Crocker® pink colored sugar

Directions

  • 1Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Spray or grease bottoms only of two 9-inch round cake pans. Make cake batter as directed on box.
  • 2Divide cake batter evenly among 3 separate bowls (about 1 cup…

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Easter Bunny Surprise Cake

Source: http://www.tablespoon.com/

 Bunny Surprise Cake

Blogger Christy Denney of The Girl Who Ate Everything shares a favorite recipe Bunny Surprise Cake. This bunny cake starts with a vanilla cake mix and is decorated to look like an Easter bunny with coconut and assorted candies. By adding some Easter colors to the batter a colorful surprise awaits when each slice of cake is served.

Ingredients

Cake

1 vanilla cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

Pink, purple and yellow food colors

Frosting and Decorations

2 containers Betty Crocker® Whipped fluffy white frosting
3 cups flaked coconut

Red licorice rope

Jelly beans
Betty Crocker® pink colored sugar

Directions

  • 1 Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Spray or grease bottoms only of two 9-inch round cake pans. Make cake batter as directed on box.
  • 2 Divide cake batter evenly among 3 separate bowls (about 1 cup for each bowl). Dye each bowl a different color with pink, purple or yellow food color. Pour half of the purple batter into each of the 9-inch round pans. Pour half of the yellow batter over top of the purple layer in each pan. Pour half of pink batter over yellow batter in each pan. Do not mix.
  • 3 Bake and cool cake as directed on box for two 9-inch rounds. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • 4 Place one of the cooled cake rounds on serving tray. Cut other round cake as shown in Diagram A below and place ears and bow tie of the bunny in appropriate places on the tray.
  • 5 Carefully frost cake with frosting. Sprinkle coconut over cake. Use licorice to outline bow tie and make whiskers and mouth on bunny. Use jelly beans for eyes, nose, and to fill in bow tie. Use pink sprinkles to fill in pink of the ears. Store covered at room temperature.

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Pansy Shortbread Cookies

Source: http://www.stonegableblog.com/

StoneGable offers some of the best ideas I’ve ever seen…

Don’t you love having creative friends? At a recent bridal shower at StoneGable the mother-of-the-bride brought a plate of fabulous pansy cookies to share. Of course I thought they were the prettiest cookies I had ever seen! Everyone ooooohhhed and aaaaaaahhhhed over them. And not only were they beautiful to look at… they were wonderfully delicious too!

I just had to try to make them myself. Shortbread cookies are quite easy to make and fixing the pansy on top was and fun. Very impressive for the little work they take. They taste buttery and sweet, and the pansies have no taste to interfere with the lovely shortbread flavor.  I would have to call this a WOW factor dessert.

I hope you will try these little bites of nature.
Pansy Shortbread Cookies
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 TBS dried egg whites
2TBS  water
Pesticide free Pansies or violas
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Pick flowers, rinse and pat dry. Put on paper towel to finish air drying.

Put flour and sugar in a large bowl. Mix together. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter and vanilla until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together. I use my grandmother’s cutter. The paint has been rubbed off from years and years of her precious hands working dough.

Gather up crumbs into a ball and kneed together until smooth.

Roll out dough just scant of 1/4″ thick. Cut with cookie cutter. I used a fluted  2 1/2″cookie cutter.

Put cookies 2″ apart on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until the bottom and sides are just starting to slightly brown and center of top is firm.

Take out of oven and cool on baking sheet.
Combine dried egg whites and water in small bowl. When cookies are cooled brush egg white mixture on one cookie at a time and top with pansey. Use your fingers to press the pansy down in the middle and smooth out all petals so they are firmly stuck to the cookie. Put a thin layer of egg white mixtrue on top of the pansy and smooth. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Return to parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. With your finger smooth out any petals that have shrivelled up. Set out on a cooling rack until the top of the cookie is completely dry.
Plate and enjoy!

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{ABC} Mushroom Cheddar Tart

Savory treats…

Tea and Scones

Mushrooms, cheddar, and red peppers. Is there any better combination for a tart? Nope, I didn’t think so. But then you add the cheese IN the crust and it really takes it to another level. I was soooo glad I bought the Vermont Cheese Powder on a whim one day!

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    As I was enjoying the tarts I was thinking – what is missing? Plenty of ‘shrooms, plenty of peppers, plenty of cheese, yet I still thought something was lacking. So before I baked a second batch I added more salt and thyme and a little cayenne to the filling. BINGO!! That did the trick! AND they were better at room temp then they were just baked. And by the next day the filling had had time to blend together more. They were so much better the next day.

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    I only made 1/2 of the recipe and I made them in…

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Truly Amazing Book Cake

Source:  http://ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com/  & http://makememycake.blogspot.com.au/

book-cake-tutorial

The amount of effort and painstaking detail that must have gone into making this cake is awe inspiring. It is not one of those cakes that are built by a celebrity chef – but a DIY’er’s passion and art combined to create a true masterpiece.

So, if you love reading, or know someone who does, then this cake is for you (to make).

With a step by step tutorial and amazing detailed photographs, you will be a whiz pro in making and decorating this cake.

Get the details here (instructions are in English and Spanish): Amazing Book Cake.

 

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Filed under Cakes, Decorating, Frosting, Party Ideas