Makes 12 bunny rolls
For the dough:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
4 cups, plus one extra cup reserved, all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ tablespoon salt
½ cup apricot jam
4 ounces butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons dried chamomile
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
coconut flakes, for decorating
black sprinkles, for decorating
colored dragees, for decorating
Make the dough: In a large saucepan, stir together the milk, oil, and sugar, using a wooden spoon. Heat the pan over medium-low heat, and turn the heat off when the mixture is lukewarm.
Sprinkle in the yeast, and allow it to sit for 3 minutes, so that the yeast can activate. Add the 4 cups of flour, and stir it into the wet ingredients.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let the dough rest until it is almost double in size, about one hour. When the dough has risen, add the remaining cup of flour, and the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the ingredients into the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour before rolling it out.
Roll out the dough: When you are ready to roll out your dough, generously flour your work surface. Turn the dough out onto your work surface, and use floured hands to shape the dough into a rough rectangle. Roll your dough out to a thin 30 in. x 10 in. rectangle. Use a pizza cutter or paring knife to cut off a third of your dough, making it 20 in. x 10 in. Reserve the trimmed piece of dough for forming the heads, ears, and tails.
Refrigerate the dough for at least another hour, before the next step. Having cold dough makes forming the bunnies much easier!
Make the bunnies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Take the larger portion of dough and spread it with the apricot jam, leaving a 1 inch border on all sides. Next, use a pastry brush to brush butter over the layer of jam. Finally, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter. To roll the sticky buns, starting at the longer side, roll up your dough like a jelly roll, keeping it as tight as possible, and placing the roll seam side down. Cut the roll into 12 equal slices. Place the rolls, filling side up, on parchment lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. These are going to be the bodies of the bunnies.
Take the reserved 10 in. x 10 in. piece of dough and cut 24 1½ inch long strips. Half of these are going to be the heads, and half are going to be the tails.
To make a head, roll up one of the strips half way. Slice through the middle of the unrolled portion of the strip, and fan the two halves out, so that they resemble two bunny ears. Attach the head to one of the bodies with a little bit of water or milk. Slightly pinch the dough together to seal.
To make the tail, take another strip of dough, roll it up halfway, and attach it to the body from the unrolled side. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough.
Bake the bunny buns for 15-18 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
Make the glaze: In a small saucepan, bring the milk and chamomile to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the tea steep in the milk for 15 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves, and whisk in the sugar until there are no lumps.
Decorate the bunnies: Spoon the roll over the buns. Lightly sprinkle the buns with coconut flakes to resemble the fur. Sprinkle the heads with a circle of black sprinkles for the eyes, and add a colored dragee for the eyeball. Allow the glaze to set and enjoy your bunny buns with a cup of hot tea.