by Alice Levitt
If people tend to call me quirky, or wacky, I think I can blame my mom. I have clear memories of the Thanksgiving when she insisted on making blue mashed potatoes. And she's famous at the Seven Days offices for her brownie pops, made to look like whatever cute animal captures her fancy — or the season.
If everyone has a rabbit-shaped dessert, with pastel pink candy corn for ears, at their desks, it means Mom made a treat for Easter... or Monday. She was also the seamstress responsible for my Cookie Monster skirt at last spring's Sweet Start Smackdown.
Last week, she presented me with what may be her greatest creation yet: Hippo bread.
The loaves are just big enough to cut in half for a sandwich, which has proved to be a perfect match with Thanksgiving leftovers.
Want to make some cute, challah-based bread of your own?
Here's Mom's recipe:
1 package rapid-rise yeast
3 ½ cups bread flour
4 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
? canola oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup warm water
Mom puts these ingredients right into her bread machine. If you don't have one, combine them, knead the mixture and let rise. Knead again and let rise again. If the dough is sticky, add more flour. Once the dough is smooth and fully risen, form the hippos.
Begin with a two-inch ball of dough, flattened slightly. Then make another ball, about 1 ½ inches across. Dip a small paintbrush in water and moisten the dough where you want to join the balls; they will become the hippo's head and body. Connect them. Make, as Mom says, "two little, tiny ear balls" and attach them to the head in the same fashion. Repeat until you're out of dough, then let the hippos rise.
When hippos have risen, combine an egg with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Using the paintbrush, glaze each hippo with the mixture.
Bake hippos at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, use
food coloring markers (you can purchase them at most craft stores) to draw eyes and a smily mouth, just like the ones the hippo and I are modeling above.
Enjoy a hippo-licious breakfast, lunch or dinner!