Ok, I have a disclaimer...we don't celebrate Easter, but I love these sweet bunny rolls that my mama would always make every year. My parents came to visit us last weekend, which just happened to be Easter and I really wanted to try a vegan whole-wheat version of these rich rolls. I took full advantage of having the bunny roll expert around and asked her lots of questions. The dough is not overly sweet (which I prefer) and is rich and moist thanks to the addition of riced potato and creamy coconut milk. I will use this dough recipe to make dinner rolls and buns in the future. It's a keeper!
Decorating these little bunnies is a fun activity to do with little ones. These would be cute for a kid's party anytime of year.
makes 2 dozen rolls
Dough (adapted from Fannie Farmer)
2 packages active dry yeast
¼ Cup warm water
1 Cup + 2 Tbs coconut milk, warmed
1/2 Cup rapadura (whole cane sugar)
½ tsp sea salt
8 Tbs earth balance vegan butter melted (can substitute with olive oil or canola oil)
½ Cup riced potatoes (steam or bake 1 large potato and squeeze through a ricer)
2 ½ Cups whole wheat flour
2 ½ - 3 ¼ Cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 Cup organic powdered sugar
¼ Cup soymilk or nut milk
1-2 Tbs lemon juice
Currants and Shredded Coconut for adornments
Stir yeast and warm water together in a small cup or bowl and let sit for 10 minutes until bubbles start to form. If you don’t see bubbles then the yeast is not alive so start again with fresh yeast. Combine coconut milk, rapadura, earth balance, and riced potato in a large mixing bowl. Stir in yeast mixture. Add whole-wheat flour and mix until well blended. Add 2 ½ Cups all-purpose flour and mix until dough holds together in a rough, shaggy mass.
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two. Let rest for 10 minutes. Resume kneading for 8-10 minutes more, sprinkling all-purpose flour as needed if the dough becomes sticky, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, and let rise in a warm draft free place until doubled in size. Alternately, you can let dough slowly rise in the refrigerator overnight.
Punch the risen dough down. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Pinch off a small piece of dough and roll into a 2” diameter ball. Then roll into a 6” log. Shape into bunny heads by folding one side over the other creating a head (the loop) and 2 ears (the ends). Use index finger to press indentations on the ears. Transfer bunnies to baking sheets. This recipe will make approximately 24 bunnies. You can also use only half of the dough and then make cinnamon rolls with the rest or freeze for later.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Cover baking sheets with tea towels and let rise until swollen and puffy (about ½ hour to 1 hour). Bake bunnies for 20 minutes until golden brown. They should also make a hollow sound when tapped. Transfer bunnies to a rack and let cool completely before icing.
Prepare Icing: Whisk together milk and sugar and 1 Tbs of lemon juice. Add more lemon juice to thin if needed.
Dip cooled bunnies into icing and let drip off on a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet. Add currants for eyes and nose, and shredded coconut for whiskers.
These will keep at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 1 week. This sweet dough recipe can be used for a myriad of recipes which call for a sweet yeast dough such as cinnamon buns/sticky buns, and the classic Easter braided loaves.