If you take one look at my daughter you will know exactly why Easter is just my cup of tea. Despite being born in the fall, she’s been donning the bright pastel colors all her life. Not to mention most of her outfits have ears on them or little paws. It has occurred to me that she may grow to think she’s an animal. But she’s just so darn cute I can’t help myself.
While we won’t be promoting Mr. Easter bunny I do want her to have the same joy I had of searching for eggs and eating (a very few) sweets. We also want to make sure that the resurrection story of Jesus takes center stage while also celebrating the spring season and all of Gods little (and fuzzy) creatures. This year I had a lot of fun making Hot Cross Buns which are typically eaten on Good Friday as rememberence of the crucifixion. I wish I could say I stopped there. (My tummy was sure glad I didn’t though) I also made some cute little bunny sugar cookies using the color flow method to decorate and then those turned out so well that I made a bunny shaped bread. I guess it is true what they say about bunnies. They multiply!!
These sugar cookies are nice and soft and they keep their shape really well if you let them chill in the refrigerator at least an hour before rolling out. I liked that they weren’t very sweet. By the time you get all the sugary icing on them they are a perfect balance. which also means you’ll be able to eat way too many before your tooth hurts.
This made about 17, 6″ easter bunnies
3/4 cup butter softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2.5 cupa all-purpose flour
1tsp. baking powder
Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, and vanilla extract. In a seperate bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture about a cup at a time. Mix to combine. Chill dough at least 1 hour and up to 24 hrs. Preheat oven to 400*F. Roll dough to 1/4″ thick and cut out shapes. Place 1″ apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6-8 min. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.
Basically all your doing is watering down a Royal Icing. But before you do, you will want to pipe all around the cookie with the Royal Icing to make a dam to keep the color flow from flowing off the cookie.
1.5 tbsp. Merengue Powder
1/2 lb. sifted pure cane confectioners’ sugar (2cups)
3-4 tbsp. lukewarm water
Make sure all utensils are grease free. Mix sugar and merengue powder in a stand mixer on low speed until blended. Add water and mix 7-10 minutes at low-medium speed until icing loses its sheen. To prevent drying, be sure to cover the bowl with a damp cloth while working with icing.
To make Color Flow Icing:
add 2 tbsp. of extra water at a time, being sure to mix well and test for “trace” before adding more water. Your icing is the right consistency when you drizzle some of the icing in the bowl it dissappears before 3 seconds. You are then ready to pipe the color flow onto the cookie. Use a toothpick drag the frosting into small nooks and pop rising bubbles. Let dry until completely hardened (roughly 24 hrs. depending on the size of the cookie)
I’ve had this recipe for awhile. I was mainly interested in it due to the childhood song by it’s name. You remember the one right? “One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns”. I hummed this tune most of the time while they baked. I think it positively effected the way they came out. 🙂
Hot Cross Buns
Makes 2 dozen
1.5 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl, pan, and knife
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4.5 tsp. active dry yeast
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 lg. eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 lg egg white
5.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (You may need more depending on your humidity)
1 1/3 cup currants (I sub. craisins)
1 tbsp. water
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (I sub. fresh orange juice)
Butter a Lg. bowl. Heat milk in the microwave until 110*F. (about 1 min. in my microwave) Pour milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. With machine on low, add butter, granulated sugar, yeast, 2tsp. salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 4 eggs. Mix in flour, about 1 cup at a time, until soft dough, sticky dough forms around dough hook. Continue mixing, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until smooth 4 minutes (Dough will be pretty sticky)
Add currants, and mix till incorporated. Turn dough onto heavely floured surface. Shape into a ball. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume. (about 1hr 30min)
Generously butter an 11×17″ baking pan. Turn dough onto work surface and knead briefly to deflate. Divide into roughly 24 equal pieces (about 2 oz each) Shape into a tightly formed ball. Transfer to pan, spacing 1/2″ apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise again in warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375*F. Whisk together egg white and water and a pinch of salt. Brush tops of buns with egg wash. Using a very sharp, buttered slicing knife or kitchen shears, cut a cross into the top of each about 1/4″ deep.
Bake until golden brown, rotating pan midway through to ensure even color, 18-25 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack. Let cool, about 30 min. Whisk together remaining tbsp milk, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon juice. Pipe or spoon glaze over buns.
This little bread bunny is especially close to my heart. I’ve been really reluctant to let the hubby even touch it. It looks way more complicated than it really is. I have a feeling this little guy will be making a yearly appearance. The recipe and directions for shaping the dough can be found here on this clever ladies blog.