April 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM ET
This bread is just slightly sweet — not like a sweet roll that you'd have for breakfast, but slightly sweet dinner roll. It's great with a dab of butter and a really good match for spicy food or barbecue.
Like any shaped bread, you're never going to get two that look alike — but that's part of the charm. They'll rise differently before baking, and they'll rise differently in the oven. It's unpredictably fun. And every once in a while, you'll get one that looks just plain weird. Hey, you have to sample one, right?
The hardest part about making these is getting the eyes and beak to behave. The rising dough wants to push them out, so you need to insert them a lot farther in than seems right. And then give them another little push right before they go into the oven.
I wanted to use completely edible items for the eyes and beak, so I used slivered almonds for the beaks and chocolate pearls for the eyes. I was a little concerned that the eyes might melt and make a mess, but it actually worked. The pearls are chocolate-coated crunchy cereal, so they had some substance.
Something more solid, like a peppercorn, would probably work better as an eye, but most folks don't want to bite into a peppercorn, so if you wanted to use something like that, you'd be wise to warn people. A piece of black olive or a bit of dried fruit should work, too. You probably don't need to run out and buy something — look around your kitchen and see what you have that would be edible and suitable.
Make your own birdie bread! Get the recipe here.
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