Honey bunnies are the sweet, sticky, bunny-shaped rolls that Catherine’s mom makes every year at Pascha. As Catherine says, “They are the best!”
4 ½ to 5 c flour
2 pkg quick rise yeast
1 tsp salt
2/3 c evaporated milk
1/2 c water
1/2 c honey
1/2 c butter
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 c honey
1/4 c butter
This recipe makes between 8 and 32 bunny-shaped rolls, depending on how you choose to shape them.
- Mix a cup and a half of flour with the yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Melt the butter in the microwave.
- Heat the evaporated milk, water, honey, and melted butter over low heat until very warm, about 110 degrees. Watch the temperature! If it gets too hot, let it cool before you go on to the next step. Warm milk activates the yeast. Hot milk kills it.
- Gradually add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Beat for two minutes at medium speed.
- Add the eggs and a half a cup of flour. Beat for two minutes at high speed.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. With a spoon, stir in the rest of the flour.
- Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Oil the top of the dough.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours, or up to 24 hours.
- Grease your baking sheets, or line them with parchment paper and spray lightly with no-stick cooking spray.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into four equal-sized pieces. Work with one piece at a time. Put the unused dough back in the refrigerator, covered, while you work.
- Shape the bunnies. Catherine’s mom uses the scissors method, but you can use the spiral method if you prefer.
- You’re making 8 bunnies, cut the piece of dough you’re working with in half. If you’re making 12 bunnies, cut the dough into thirds.
- Pull edges of dough together, pinching the bottom, creating a round top (see images) place roll pinched side down, leaving smooth, rounded roll on top.
- Using scissors, cut one snip in the back of the bunny, creating the tail, cut two slits on top, creating ears.
- You can then use a toothpick to create “eyes” on the bunny, as well as the detail in the ears. (optional)
- If you’re making 16 honey bunnies, cut the piece of dough you’re working with into four equal pieces. If you’re making 32 honey bunnies, cut the dough into eight equal pieces.
- For large bunnies, roll each piece into a 20-inch rope, and then cut three 1-inch pieces off the rope for the ears and tails. For small bunnies, roll each piece into a 10-inch rope, and cut three 1/2-inch pieces for the ears and tails.
- This part is harder to explain than it is to do. Put a mark about a third of the way from the end of the rope. Coil one end of the rope down towards the mark, and the other end up towards the mark, in a sort of an S shape. The larger coil is the bunny’s body, and the smaller coil is the bunny’s head. Place the bunny on a greased insulated baking sheet.
- Shape the small pieces for the ears and tail and attach them to the bunnies. The ears and tails are less likely to break off if you moisten the ends of the dough where you attach it to the bunny with a bit of water.
- Continue shaping bunnies until you have used all of the dough.
- Cover the bunnies with a clean cloth and let them rise in a warm, draft-free place until they have doubled in bulk.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Bake the bunnies for about 12 minutes, until they’re golden. Remove to racks. Cleanup will be easier if you put sheets of waxed paper under the racks before you glaze the bunnies.
- Melt the honey and butter together. Brush the honey bunnies with glaze while they’re still warm.