Looking for recipe for "Hopping Bunnies" yeast bread/rolls


In the KAF blog on "Easter Pie," under comments, someone (Karen) mentioned making "Hopping Bunnies" for Easter every year, and that the recipe is from an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I tried to find this recipe online without success. Maybe it's called something else now. I did find several recipes for bunny-shaped breads and rolls, but I'd like to see the original "Hopping Bunnies" recipe. Thanks very much.

badge posted by: martibeth on April 10, 2011 at 7:58 am in Baking, yeast
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reply by: --jej on April 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Martibeth, I just looked in my mom's old (1941...1947) Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but nothing about bunnies, rabbits, or hares -- hopping or otherwise -- surfaced. I checked out the entire index in the section on Breads. I have a little later edition which I'll check out when I go upstairs... --jej

reply by: martibeth on April 10, 2011 at 7:38 pm

You're funny, jej!! "... nothing about bunnies, rabbits or hares - hopping or otherwise.." Oh, that's funny. Thanks for the good laugh. And don't go to any trouble looking for that other book. Thanks for looking it up in your older edition. Marti

reply by: janiebakes on April 11, 2011 at 11:08 am

I have a recipe for Garden Bunnies from Better Homes and Gardens magazine April 2003.

5 1/2 to 6 cups AP flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup mixed snipped fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary,parsley and thyme or 3-4 tsp dried herbs, crushed
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter 1 1/2 tsp salt

Cooks Note, Rosemary and sage are strong herbs. If using only those two, use only 2 Tbls fresh or 2 tsp dried.

Combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour and yeast, set aside. Heat milk, herbs, sugar, butter and salt just until warm, 120 130 degrees and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, beat on low with a mixer scraping side of the bowl constantly. Beat on high for 3 minutes. Add as much of the remaining flour as you can. Turn out and knead with additional flour until you have an medium stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes.

To form bunnies: Divide dough in half, let rest 10 minutes. Roll one half into an eight inch circle. Cut into 6 wedges. From four of the wedges, cut a little bit of dough for the bunny tails. Gently shape the 4 wedges into ovals. Form snipped pieces of dough into tails and press onto one end of the dough ovals. To make the head and ears, divide the remaining two wedges in half making making four small wedges total. Shape each wedge into a tear drop about four inches long and cut into the pointed end of each with kitchen shears making cuts about 2 1/2 inches long. Lay each set of ears on an oval opposite the tail.If necessary, brush dough with water to make everything stick. With fingers give the cut edge of the ears a half twist so the cut edge is facing up. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Let rise until nearly double, about 30 minutes. Mix one egg white with one tablespoon water and brush bunnies. Sprinkle or rub with sugar sage topping or rosemary cheese topping. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes covering with foil for the last half of the baking time so the bunnies don't over brown.

Sugar sage topping. In a small bowl stir together 1/3 cup fine sanding sugar and 1 tblsp finely snipped fresh sage.

Rosemary cheese topping. In a small bowl stir together 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1 Tblsp finely snipped fresh rosemary

reply by: martibeth on April 11, 2011 at 8:28 pm

janiebakes, thank you. That certainly sounds different. I bet it's good. I would probably go with the rosemary/cheese combo. Maybe I'll do a test run this weekend. Thanks again for going to the trouble of typing out that long recipe.

reply by: --jej on April 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I did look at my BH&G last night, and for that edition (1953), they changed the name to Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cookbook. I tried to conjure up a little nest of yeasty bunnies in there, too, but no such luck.


It looks like janiebakes has come through again!!! If little DGS was nearby, I'd try janiebakes' Garden Bunnies. If he is here long enough this summer, they just might be a lot of fun to tackle then. At 9 years old, he is interested in helping in the kitchen. And my guess is that he has never worked with bread dough. ;))) He, like his mom, has food allergies along with his asthma, so I think I'll plant a parsley plant, thinking we can use that with the Parmesan cheese, skipping thoughts of the other herbs. We might just try a few snippets of chives on one or two for me. And I've got the recipe all copied off and ready to roll.

And now I can't wait for summer!!

reply by: janiebakes on April 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

I bet your grandson would love making bunny rolls. I wish I could include the pictures that came with the recipe. Shaping is much easier than all those instructions would make you think. I am going to make this recipe today and will post about the results. 5 to 6 1/2 cups of flour sounds like a lot to only make 8 bunnies. I will try shaping them smaller to get 10 or 12 rabbits.

reply by: rottiedogs on April 16, 2011 at 8:38 am

I went searching for "Hopping Bunnies" as well. After poking around on the BHG site I found a few for bunnies although none with that exact name. There is a version with no orange juice and nutmeg that will yield either 14 or 21 bunnies. I think though that the recipe below Cardamom Orange Bunnies is close to the original. I found a few links that referenced an orange rosettes bread recipe and that the bunnies were the same recipe just shaped differently. This is virtually identical except the Orange Rosettes didn't include any spices and called for shortening only with no mention of butter or margarine. My BHG is a 1970's vintage and I didn't find it there either. Happy Hopping!

Cardamom Orange Bunnies - BHG
5-1/4 to 5-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter, margarine, or shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons finely shredded orange peel or 1 tablespoon finely shredded lime peel
1/4 cup orange juice or 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons water
1 recipe Orange or Lime Icing (see recipe below) (optional)
1. In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and cardamom. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, the butter, the 1/3 cup sugar, and salt just until warm (120 degree F to 130 degree F) and butter almost melts.

3. Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in orange or lime peel, orange or lime juice, and as much of remaining flour as you can.

4. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).

5. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

6. Lightly grease two cookie sheets. (Large bunnies will go on one sheet, the small bunnies will go on the other.) For large bunnies, roll one portion of dough into a 14x10-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Divide one portion of this dough in half and roll each half into a rope about 16 inches long. On one of the lightly greased cookie sheets, overlap one end of strip over the other to form a loop; bring the end that's underneath up over the top end, letting one end extend on each side to make ears. Pat tips of ears to shape in point. Make a second large bunny with remaining rope.

7. Cut remaining half of rectangle into 6 strips, 10 inches long. Roll 5 strips of the dough into ropes about 12 inches long. Shape 5 small bunnies as above on the second baking sheet.

8. With remaining strip of dough, shape 2 large balls and 5 small balls of dough for the tails. Moisten ball and place atop dough at bottom of loop. Press tails onto dough.

9. Repeat with remaining dough making 2 more large bunnies and 5 more small bunnies. After shaping, cover and let rise until nearly double (30 to 45 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degree F. Bake small bunnies 11 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Bake large bunnies for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on wire racks. Frost while warm with Orange or Lime Icing, if desired. Makes 4 large bunnies and 10 small bunnies.

Orange or Lime Icing: In a small bowl combine 1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange or lime peel. For Orange Icing, stir in enough orange juice (2 to 3 tablespoons) to make of drizzling consistency. For Lime Icing, stir in enough milk (2 to 3 tablespoons) to make of drizzling consistency.

reply by: sandra Alicante on April 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm
sandra Alicante

Would you like to make hedgehogs too?

Shape the dough into a teardrop shape and use scissors to snip at the wider 2/3 all over to make the spines. Add currants or mini choc chips for the eyes and nose.


reply by: martibeth on April 17, 2011 at 7:39 am

Thanks, rottiedogs, for posting that, and going to the trouble of doing all that searching. And everything seems to be improved with some cardamom; that is a great spice. Sandra, thanks for the idea on the hedgehogs. I bet they are cute! Janiebakes, I'm glad you mentioned it's not as hard as it looks - I've been trying to run these instructions in my bread. Have you made them yet? I'm going to try to do a trial run before Easter.

Thanks, everyone.

P.S. Jej, I'm wondering if maybe this isn't a BH and G recipe after all. There are so many cookbooks out there. Thanks for checking again.

reply by: cwcdesign on April 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm


I've been following this thread all along and earlier went to the BHG website and searched "garden bunnies" - a recipe, no pictures - I just tried again and orange cardamom bunnies also appeared - guess what! a photo! here's the link

reply by: martibeth on April 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm

cwcdesign, thanks for the link. I actually found that photo a few days ago, and have been trying to decide if they look that much like bunnies, but probably, I just can't see the picture properly. If they look like bunnies to other people, I'm going to try to make them. I know they would be a hit. Who wouldn't want to eat a roll on Easter Sunday shaped like a bunny rabbit?

Now if I could only find a totally outrageous Easter bonnet to wear for the occasion.

reply by: cwcdesign on April 18, 2011 at 7:14 am

martibeth, with a challenge like that I just HAD to google "Easter Bonnet" Here's one for you from a big fundraiser in NYC (where else) last year

There are many more outrageous ones at the same site - have fun!

The rolls do look like bunnies, but for the life of me I couldn't understand the shaping directions at all until I saw the picture. Then it all made sense -- I'm a very visual learner

reply by: martibeth on April 18, 2011 at 9:31 am

cwcdesign. THAT'S IT!! That's exactly what I'm looking for!! I love it. Maybe Goodwill will have something. Thanks for sharing.

reply by: janiebakes on April 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Yes I did make the bunny rolls. I used parsley, chives and one leaf of sage to make the 1/4 cup of chopped herbs. I also used the rosemary parmesian cheese topping. That sugar water/sage topping was a little weird to me. I made 12 bunnies,not 8 and they were still plenty big. The herb flavor came through very well. I let them rise the stated time and I think they could have risen longer. The rolls were not as light as I would have liked. I used the shaping instructions to make bunnies using the Easter Pigeon sweet dough that I think is listed in my recipes. Some bunnies and some pigeons, they look cute on the plate together. The shaping is so fast and easy. These bunnies look like they are sitting on all four legs unlike the ones posted with the other recipe. Thanks so much for the picture that shows the shaping for those rabbits. I was having a hard time following.

reply by: martibeth on April 20, 2011 at 8:08 am

Janiebakes, thanks for the review. I must have a mental block. I still can't figure it out from the photo. Maybe once I have the dough in front of me, it will work out. But your mentioning that the bunnies look like they are sitting on their legs helps a lot. I'll also have to go look at your recipe for the pigeons. Thanks.

reply by: cwcdesign on April 20, 2011 at 7:16 am

I'm beginning to think that the 2 recipes are shaped differently. It would be nice to see a picture of the "garden bunnies." I think you could use either shaping method. Although we have no one for Easter this year :( I'm beginning to think I might have to try the recipe just to see what happens:)

reply by: gammab on April 04, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I have this recipe! I have been making it for more years than I care to recall.... It was in BH&G Holiday Cookbook? 1959! WAY before my time! But I like to collect cookbooks?
1 pkg quick rise yeast
1/4 cup water
1 cup milk-scalded
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp salt
5 5 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup orange juce
2 tbls fresh grated orange peel
The original called for regular yeast, softening the yeast, etc? I changed it to the quick rise!

Heat water, milk,shortening & oj to between 120 - 130. meanwhile, sift together all remaining ingredients except eggs. When liquids are ready, add to dry ingredients, add eggs. knead until smooth. (may need additional flour-depending on humidity). I let it rest, 10-15 mins. then I divide the dough down? half, quarters, etc? until I have about 24 pieces? I roll them out into "snakes" as my grands call them? (about 12 inches long) Put the ends in 1 hand, twist the "bunnies" twice, until you have what looks like a bunny from the back? place on lightly greased cookie sheet. pat "ears" lightly into a pointed shape. Break off a small piece, (little from each ear) shape into a ball, attach tail? cover with a clean dish towel. let rise in warm place till almost doubled. Bake at 375- 12-15 mins. Frost while warm with Sugar glaze. 2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup warm water, and 1 tsp butter. Mix till smooth. We use a paint/pastry brush to "paint" the bunnies? Holding them over the bowl of frosting. Hope these directions make sense? ENJOY!

reply by: Mike Nolan on April 04, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Mike Nolan

These look like they'd be fun to make too:


I am tempted to change the spice mixture a bit and make them more like cinnamon rolls, though.

reply by: gammab on April 05, 2012 at 2:43 am

I like my bunnies better? But I am partial to them? I have been making them since I was 16! lo Happy Easter!

reply by: Mike Nolan on April 05, 2012 at 10:59 pm
Mike Nolan

I made the bunny rolls today, but I think I need to make the ears longer, these look more like koala bears than bunnies.

I did make them as cinnamon rolls, they're not heavy on cinnamon (1 teaspoon in the dough, with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top after brushing on the melted butter), but they taste pretty good nonetheless.

Rolling out 24 pieces of dough to 20 inch logs, cutting them and shaping them takes a LOT of time, the first few were just about ready to go in the oven as I was making the last of them. Next time I'm going to do 12, set them aside to rise, while I do the second 12 on a different cookie sheet.

reply by: sandra Alicante on April 06, 2012 at 3:06 am
sandra Alicante

Ahhh, how cute!


reply by: frick on April 06, 2012 at 10:23 am

Mike, I love your koala bears. I agree with you. I think the original herb blend, sage, nutmeg and sugar sounds a little odd. Cinnamon is always a good choice.

reply by: Mrs. Juice on April 11, 2014 at 10:18 pm
Mrs. Juice

Couple of years late ! Hopping bunnies shaped buns were in Better Homes and Gardens Bread Cookbook. 1963

reply by: hickeyja on April 12, 2014 at 12:06 am

Here's a picture of the Cardamom-Orange Bunnies: http://www.recipe.com/cardamom-orange-bunnies/


reply by: Antilope on April 12, 2014 at 12:23 am

The Hopping Bunnies Bread Recipe is in the Better Homes and Gardens Homemade bread cook book - Published 1963 - page 69.
You can read the book online at the Open Library for free at the link below. Just register for a free account.