The Deliciously Dirty Pages — Hopping Bunnies, just in time for Easter

This is the latest installment of the feature on JustMelanieW.com to showcase old, tried and true, family favorite recipes handed down through the generations. And where are they found? On the dirtiest, most stained pages of beloved old cookbooks.

These aren’t The White Pages. They aren’t the Yellow Pages. They are the Deliciously Dirty Pages, where good cooking and memories of great cooks are forever preserved.

This writer has a collection of old cookbooks, ranging in age from 40 to 70 years old, which were used by her mother. She kept the cookbooks and has beautiful memories of making those favored recipes, as well as spilling ingredients on the pages.

The theory is the dirtier the page, the better the recipe.

Each Wednesday, JustMelanieW is featuring these culinary wonders, sure to still please because they have been made many times with great success – again, identified by being on the dirtiest pages of these archival hard copy treasures.

We would also love to share your family favorite recipes from your own Deliciously Dirty Pages. Just send them to mel@justmelaniew.com. And if you want to share pictures of the end product, or your family making it, or a picture of the dirty cookbook pages where the recipes were found – please send those my way as well!

Some of our greatest memories come from the kitchen . . . and those Deliciously Dirty Pages.

 

Today’s recipes: Hopping Bunnies

My mom had a beautiful pictorial cookbook given to her by her sister, Sue Mlnarik, which was dedicated to just breads.

Inside the cover, Sue wrote, “To Cheri, a wife, a mother, but most of all my sister.”

Aunt Susie knew how much bread my mom made — that was the way of the world back then. And she also knew how my mother was open to all kinds of new culinary ideas.

She gave Mom the Better Homes and Gardens Bread Cook Book, published in 1963.

I looked through the hardback cookbook and noticed certain used pages, including those just dedicated to Easter. This being Lent, I thought it would be appropriate to share a project we took on at least one Easter. It’s called “Hopping Bunnies.”

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup water

1 cup milk, scalded

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup shortening

1 teaspoon salt

5 to 5 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 beaten eggs

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

Then sugar glaze

Soften yeast in warm water. Combine next four ingredients. Cool until lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups flour, beat well. Add eggs, mix well. Stir in yeast. Add orange juice and peel and remainder of flour to make a soft dough. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 to 1o minutes). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface. Cover and let rise until double (about two hours). Punch down. Cover. Let rise 10 minutes. To shape, on lightly floured surface roll dough in rectangle 1/2-inch thick. Cut dough in strips about 1/2-inch wide and roll between hands to smooth. Shape into bunnies.

Making the bunnies — intricate but so fun!

For curlicue bunnies: For each you will need a 10-inch strip of dough for the body and a 5-inch strip for the head. On a lightly greased baking sheet, make a loose swirl of the strip for body. Swirl strip for head and place close to body as they will grow together as dough rises. For ears, pinch off 1 1/2-inch strips and roll between hands until smooth and cigar-shaped. Let point make tip of ear; snip off opposite end and place ear next to head. Pinch off a bit of dough and roll in ball for tail. Let the bunnies rise until almost double before baking.

For twist bunnies:

For each, you will need a 14-strip of dough. On lightly greased baking sheets, lap one end of strip over another to form a loop; now bring end that is underneath up over top end, letting one end over extend to make ears. Pat tips of ears to shape in point. Roll small ball of dough for tail; place atop dough at top of loop. Let bunnies almost double in size.

Bake at 375 degrees. Frost while still warm.

These recipes make about 30 servings.

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