Take A Look In My Fridge

Take A Look In My Fridge!

I got an e-mail asking to see the contents of my fridge. Not sure why anyone would want to see that, but I aim to please!

Top Shelf: Heavy cream, half and half, milk, iced green tea, apple cider, Coronas, Parmesan cheese rinds, etc.

Next Shelf: Lex’s apple juice, Jamison’s orange juice, sea salt dill pickles, sangria for tonight, pomegranates, etc.

Next shelf: Brown eggs, sour cream, Jamison’s left over gluten-free macaroni and cheese, spinach, etc.

Cheese Drawer: Cheddar, goat cheese, Fontina, Parmesan, Gruyere, buttermilk cheese, American, Swiss, Provolone, mozzarella, various blue cheeses, etc.

Veggie Drawer: More spinach, cucumbers, asparagus, kiwi berry poppers, bell peppers, celery, carrots, etc.

Meat Drawer: Bacon, pepperoni, turkey, corn tortillas, etc.

Butter “Drawer:” Irish butter, butter, cream cheese, etc.

Top Door Shelf: Wine, Limoncello, Seltzer water, etc.

Rest of the Door: Condiments, pickles, olives, jams/jellys, sauces, maple syrup, etc.

Most important thing in the fridge right now? Sangria!

Sangria!

So there it is…My boring little fridge! What’s in your fridge?

TGIF! Have a great weekend everyone!

Homemade Donuts

Homemade Donuts: With Chocolate and Sprinkles

When my parents were here over the holidays we happened to be over in Columbia, MD and my sole thought was “I’m going to get some Kripsy Kreme donuts!” When we arrived however it was only to find that the Krispy Kreme store there had closed. Talk about bummer! And of course once you have something on the brain you can’t get rid of that thought for the most part, so I’ve had donuts on the brain ever since.

I’ve always been curious about making my own donuts, but again it was one of those things that seemed daunting to me. I decided to do a little research and discovered that yes, they can be a bit time consuming, but they aren’t that hard to make and believe me the work is worth the end result! It’s not something you will be making every day for obvious reasons, but so worth the effort when you want a little treat!

Another thing that you will see in this recipe that you won’t see often on Dianne’s Dishes is the use of vegetable shortening. I want to try making them with butter in the future, but the overwhelming majority of donut recipes I came across used shortening, or lard, and really I wasn’t going there! ;oP So on my first round I decided that shortening was the way to go.

Homemade Donuts

These donuts turned out just perfect! They were airy and satisfying and the glaze was just fabulous and so simple! Even dipped in chocolate and topped with sprinkles you have the perfect all around donut. You can’t go wrong with that!

So it’s time to make the donuts! (Yes I went there!) ;oP

What You’ll Need for the Donuts:
1/4 cup of warm water
3 teaspoons of yeast
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
1/4 cup of half and half
1 egg
1/4 cup of shortening (Note: Look for a trans-fat free version)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 to 2 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour, divided
Oil for frying

In a large glass bowl mix water, yeast and sugar and let sit for a few minutes until it starts bubbling:

Homemade Donuts: Bubbling Yeast

Next add half and half, egg, shortening, sea salt and 1 cup of your flour:

Homemade Donuts: Ready to Mix

Mix with a mixer until well mixed and fluffy:

Homemade Donuts: Ready for More Flour

Slowly add flour until dough forms:

Homemade Donuts: Dough

You may need all of the remaining flour, or just some. When the dough starts forming and isn’t sticky you know you’re good.

Shape dough into a ball and place in a bowl that has been buttered:

Homemade Donuts: Ready to Rise

Let dough rise for an hour and then punch down and roll the dough to a 1/2 inch thickness:

Homemade Donuts: Ready to Cut

Now it’s time to cut your donuts! They have handy dandy cutters, but I don’t actually have one so I used a glass and the top of a water bottle.

First cut your big circle:

Homemade Donuts: Cut

Next cut your hole:

Homemade Donuts: Holes Cut

You can leave the donuts hole to rise or incorporate them back into the dough to cut more donuts. The choice is yours.

Place the dough on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper:

Homemade Donuts: Ready to Rise

Let rise for an hour or until they are slightly risen:

Homemade Donuts: Risen

When the donuts are almost risen prepare your glaze and/or chocolate for dipping. (See below)

Homemade Donuts: Glaze

What You’ll Need for the Glaze:
1 cup of powdered sugar
4-6 tablespoons of cold water

In a large bowl mix sugar with enough sugar to make a slightly thick glaze. You want it to drip, but not quickly. You want a consistency close to honey, but not quite as slow.

Set aside until donuts are fried.

Homemade Donuts: Chocolate

What You’ll Need for the Chocolate Gaze:
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup of half and half

Place ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave on 20 second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir well between each interval.

Set aside until donuts are fried.

Homemade Donuts: Fried

Frying the Donuts:

Preheat oil to 375 F. You want a clear oil…Vegetable, safflower, light live oil, peanut oil. etc.

Once the oil is heat drop donuts down into the oil one at a time. Fry on each side until browned (1-2 minutes per side) and then place on a baking pan that has been lined with paper towels to drain:

Homemade Donuts: Fried

Repeat process until you are done with your donuts and then it’s time to glaze!

Place fried donut face down into the glaze:

Homemade Donuts: Dipped in Glaze

Next flip the other side into the glaze:

Homemade Donuts:Glazing

Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper:

Homemade Donuts: Glazed

At this point you’re ready to eat if you want to! Or you can go on and add a little chocolate, because well, you can’t go wrong with a little chocolate!

Take your glazed donut and place it face down in the chocolate glaze:

Homemade Donuts:Dipping in Chocolate

Unlike the glaze you are only going to do one side in chocolate. Return the donut to the baking sheet:

Homemade Donuts: Dipped in Chocolate

Again at this point you’re ready to eat, or you can add a few sprinkles!

So dig in!

Homemade Donuts: The Inside

And pretty soon you’ll be down to your last delectable bite!

Homemade Donuts: A Bite

Verdict? I wish Jamison could have had one of these! Alexis and I love them!

Makes 4-6 donuts depending on the size you cut.

Notes: I think it would be fun to play around with a citrus glaze instead of using water with the powdered sugar. Also you can use any type of chocolate chip that you want. I used milk chocolate this go around because it was all I had on hand.

Let’s Make a Gingerbread House!

Gingerbread Fangtasia

If you follow me on Twitter or FaceBook you’ve probably figured out I’m a HUGE fan of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I like the show ok too for the most part, but we won’t get in to my issues about the show here. If you’re really interested you can peruse the Musings category over at Daffodil Lane and see my thoughts on that subject, but the books are definitely my first love when it comes to this set of characters.

I also should tell you I’m firmly on Team Eric. I was from the very first book. My first thoughts when Eric came on the page were “Why the heck isn’t Sookie with him?” Bill is ok and he has grown on me, but I just don’t care for him with Sookie. I keep hoping he’ll find a nice girl elsewhere, but sadly my wants and desires aren’t figured in to the story! ;oP The little tidbit of my preference for Eric will become important in a moment when I explain my choice in gingerbread houses.

Most years I make a gingerbread house. It’s fun. One year I even made one for my friends as gifts. I took a few years off on the gingerbread front when Lex was smaller, but the past few years it has been fun to add her in to the mix and let her make her own gingerbread house too. It’s a fun tradition and one that we both look forward to.

Gingerbread True Blood Style: Fangtasia, Bill, Sookie and Eric

Alexis of course just made your standard gingerbread house, but a few days ago I had a fleeting thought that it would be fun to turn my gingerbread house into Fangtasia. I decided that it would be easy to add a Fangtasia sign and even make a gingerbread Eric, Sookie and Bill. I also decided to make a bite out of Bill’s head as if Eric had gotten fed up with him and taken a little nibble:

Gingerbread: Bill

Poor Bill! 😉 He looks a little emo here, but that’s ok too!

For Sookie I didn’t have the talent to make a Merlotte’s outfit, so she just got a dress, but I combined book Eric (pink spandex pants), with TV Eric (and his black tank top a la Skarsgard) even though I have to admit the tank was not one of my favorite outfits.

Gingerbread: Eric and Sookie

So basically you start out with a really good gingerbread recipe and then you just let your imagination go wild! And imagination is something I’ve never had a problem with! 😉

Construction is always fun! This go around I used small cookie cutters to make a relatively small gingerbread house. In the past I’ve made them as big at 8-12 inches for each piece, but these were more like 4-5 inches.

The first step was putting the walls up:

Gingerbread: Constructing

The walls are the easiest part. Gravity sort of makes them support each other. I like to let them dry 20-30 minutes before putting the roof on, because the roof can (and will!) cause the walls to collapse if you aren’t very careful.

This time the walls were square, with no triangular part for the roof to rest on and it just didn’t work. The roof kept falling down and taking the walls with it, so Alexis and I decided to make flat roofs instead. As you can see we added a chimney to hers and left mine flat:

Gingerbread: Ready to Decorate

And then you decorate!

Gingerbread: Creating

Royal icing works best to stick on all the candy and such. I put a row of peppermint kisses on the roof so I’d have something to rest the Fangtasia sign on and keep it upright:

Gingerbread: Creating

And considering we are talking icing here the Fangtasia sign didn’t turn out half bad either!

Gingerbread: Fangtasia

And Lex’s house turned out really cute too!

Lex's Gingerbread House

Should you wonder her gingerbread people are her and Jamison. Uncanny resemblance those! 😉

If you’ve never made a gingerbread house do try…It’s so much fun! It’s messy, but such a fabulous time that you won’t mind the mess…Much! 😉

You can eat your creation or you can leave it around to enjoy just looking at throughout the season, which is usually my choice. I make extra gingerbread to enjoy instead of the houses (or in this case vampire bar! ;oP)

Gingerbread Fangtasia

Now speaking of messes…If you’ll excuse me it looks like a gingerbread house exploded in my kitchen and I must remedy that situation. 😉

Cheese Fondue

Cheese Fondue

Yesterday we started with dessert fondue and today we’re going to take a look at fabulous cheese fondue!

Cheese fondue is the perfect, decadent treat. With a few simple ingredients, you end up with a fabulous cheese dipping sauce that is delicious on bread, vegetables and even meat if you like. Simple, easy and delicious!

Now let’s jump right in to some cheese fondue!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
4 shallots, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 of a pint of heavy cream
1 3/4 cups of Colby cheese, shredded
1 3/4 cups of buttermilk cheese, shredded (Note: If you can’t find buttermilk cheese you can used Gouda or Monterrey Jack or even Swiss.)
1/3 cup of Parmesan, shredded (Note: The variety in the bottle will not work for this. You want to either shred it yourself, of get one of those containers out of the deli case that are shredded for you.)
4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled

Sauté shallots in a little extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper until tender:

Cheese Fondue: Shallots

Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheeses are mostly melted:

Cheese Fondue: Ready for the Fondue Pot

Add cheese mixture to a fondue pot and set to low heat.

Serve with vegetables and hunks of bread:

Cheese Fondue: Things for Dipping

Notes: You can use most any cheese combo that you like as long as it is a meltable cheese. If you can’t find shallots you can substitute red onion instead.

Chocolate Fondue

Double Chocolate Caramel Fondue

First let me say thank you again to Rachel and Melissa for helping me out last week! I had a few more guest bloggers lined up, but they never sent me anything and I really appreciated both Rachel and Melissa for sharing such fabulous recipes!

Now let’s talk some fondue!

Recently Alexis has become intrigued with the idea of fondue. I can’t figure out where she came across the idea, but she asked me what it was and I explained the concept. She thought it sounded fabulous and wanted to try fondue, so when my Mom and my best friend Darlene were visiting from Tennessee last week we gave it a whirl!

I hadn’t made fondue in a while. I love fondue and think it’s a lot of fun, but Jamison isn’t a fan, so I don’t make it that often. I normally do three pots of fondue, a cheese variety (which I’ll share with you tomorrow), a pot of oil to cook meat/veggies and a chocolate dessert fondue. Today I’m sharing the dessert version with you…Who doesn’t want to start with dessert?

This is a very simple, very delicious dessert sauce. It takes only a few minutes to put together, but it still has a bit of a wow factor, not to mention being completely delicious. Who says good has to be complicated?

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of caramels
1 – 4 ounce bar of semi sweet baking chocolate, roughly chopped (Note: I recommend Ghirardelli or Green and Blacks)
1 – 4 ounce bar of white chocolate baking chocolate, roughly chopped (Note: See note above)
1/2 pint of heavy cream
Fruit, pretzels, pound cake, etc. for dipping

Ok, are you ready for simple?

Good!

Double Chocolate Caramel Fondue: Chocolates and Caramel

Place ingredients in a glass bowl. Place bowl in your microwave and microwave on 20 second intervals, stirring between each cycle, until sauce is smooth and melted.

Place melted mixture in a fondue pot on low heat and use to dip fruits, pretzels, pound cake, etc. I like to dish out the mixture into a small dish for each person so they can dip and double dip to their heart’s content.

Notes: You can use any type of chocolate you like. I’ve used dark and milk in the past. You could even leave out the caramels if you liked (but who would want to do that!) but I’d increase the amount of chocolates to 8 ounces each if you did and up the amount of heavy cream to 3/4ths of the bottle. Or you could sub 1/2 cup of peanut butter for the caramel too. This also makes a fabulous topping for angel food cake or ice cream.

Penguin Party!

Pegnuin Cake

Whew! The penguin party is over and I’m sitting down and still for the first time in days. Man do my feet hurt, but it was all worth it! Miss G had a fabulous birthday party, with family and friends and a grand old time was had by all. That’s my kind of party!

Last year, the afternoon of her Tinkerbell birthday party, just after everyone had gone home, Alexis turned to me and said “Next year I want a penguin birthday party!” When I told people about this they assumed she would change her mind sometime during the year, but Alexis much like me, is all about making a decision well in advance and keeping to it, so a penguin party it was!

This year the cake was very simple. It wasn’t anything difficult, but Alexis loved it and it took me next to no time to decorate. That my friends is my kind of cake!

Pegnuin Cake

I baked 4 – 13 X 9 inch cakes to make the ice shelf, 1 – 8 X 8 inch cake to sculpt into the hill the igloo was going to sit on and 1 cake in a heat proof round Pyrex bowl to make the igloo. I used the pieces that I shaved off the “hill” to make the terrain more “natural” and bumpy for the ice shelf. I placed the cake on a big board covered with blue cello paper to make the water.

I also cheated a bit. When I realized how many cakes I was going to have to bake to make the ice shelf and igloo and calculated that the recipe I was going to use was going to need 30 cups of cocoa powder I decided that I was going to go the cake mix route. I normally make all cakes from scratch, but you figure out how much 30 cups of cocoa is going to cost and you can see how expensive it was going to be to make this cake! I ended up using the chocolate variety from Dr. Oetker and it was really fabulous!

Pegnuin Cake

I also used the Wilton Buttercream icing recipe that I normally use. I used a 3/4ths to 1/4th cup ratio of shortening to butter since I’m not a fan of an overpowering butter flavor in my icing. I also use vanilla and almond flavoring in my icing. I sprinkled the top of the cake with a silvery sanding sugar to help the icing have that sparkly snow/ice look to the surface and it worked fabulously!

The penguins are all resin figures. I briefly thought about making fondant or marzipan penguins and then rapidly talked myself out of it. I treasure my sanity after all! ;oP

Penguin Cookies

I made penguin sugar cookies too. These were some of the best sugar cookies I have every had! I ordered some black sprinkles and things from Fancy Flours and they included some recipe cards in my order. One of them was for a “No Fail Sugar Cookie” and let me tell you these lived up to their title!

Penguin Army

I also made a little army of penguin appetizers! Black olives (jumbo and small), pearl mozzarella and carrots. They took bout 20 minutes to make and I got a lot of compliments about them! Someone I follow on Twitter recommended that I Google penguin appetizers and these were just too cute! I used mozzarella instead of cream cheese because Alexis isn’t a fan of cream cheese. Black olives are also one of her all time favorite foods, not to mention an adoration of “white cheese” as she calls it, so it worked out nicely!

Overall it was a very nice party. The kids ran around in circles and generally did their kid things, the adults sat/stood around and chatted, ate some food and enjoyed each other’s company. You can’t ask for better than that.

So now I’m going to take a few days off. I’m seriously wiped out! My parents have been at my sister’s house and are coming to stay with us for a few days. I’ll probably post What’s For Dinner between now and then but most likely I won’t post a recipe until Thursday. I’m going to sit (which I haven’t done in days!), relax and enjoy spending some time with my Mom.

Hope you all have a good week!

Zoo Day!

This morning Alexis and I took a little field trip to the zoo. We have season passes so we pop over for a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there. This morning the zoo was quite literally, well a zoo! It was muggy, because it’s rained here for like two weeks straight, there were mosquitoes everywhere, and there were several big, rowdy field trip groups out for their own little jaunts. Then to top it all off it started raining! Oh well. Lex had fun though!

The funny part was this turtle:

lexzoo4

Look at that face…Could he be any more “You! Loud little things! Off my lawn!” He literally charged (or charged as much as a lumbering, over sized, hundred plus year old turtle can charge) toward the kids hovering around his pen to shoo them away. I felt immediate kinship with this guy! ;oP I mean seriously how cute is that scrunched up, puckered little face??

You wouldn’t know it from this picture but the place really was quite packed!

lexzoo2

Alexis loves to feed the geese and ducks. And before anyone asks “What’s up with the back of her legs?” she wears her Wellies (rain boots) with everything! And I do mean everything! They come up just below her knees. She loves to wear them with her PJs, shorts, dresses, skirts, you name it and I probably have a picture, in the hundreds of thousands of pictures I’ve taken of her over the past almost six years, of her wearing her Wellies with most everything she’s worn! Sometimes however they don’t go smoothly under everything she wears and are a little bulky, as they are here with her yoga pants above.

Alexis also likes to feed the goats, lamas, pigs, alpaca, deer and the donkey:

lexzoo3

I started putting hats on Lex when she was little to keep the sun off her pale skin and now she wears them everywhere! It’s like second nature for her to grab a hat when she leaves the house. She always gets comments on her “cool” hats so I think that is part of the fun for her too.

So all of that to say nothing, but I thought I’d share anyway! ;oP

Now let’s talk about next week! Last year Ice Cream week was such a hit that we’re going to do it again this year! And that week just happens to start on Monday!

icwdd2009

Starting Monday morning you’ll get at least six five new ice cream recipes! One recipe is actually a frozen yogurt variation and you’ll even get a completely non-dairy, vegan ice cream as well! So stay tuned!

Friday Link Love will be up soon. Hope you’ve all had a great Friday so far!

Easter Bunny Cake

Easter Bunny Cake

This is another one from childhood. My mom used to make Easter Bunny cakes with my sister and me when we were children. It’s so much fun I decided to do it with Alexis this year!

Alexis wanted a chocolate cake. Normally I think it would be fun to do this with a carrot cake since it’s Easter and all, but chocolate it was! She also was adamant that there had to be some “M’s” on the cake too! Not hard either! As you can see it turned out great and was delicious to boot!

This cake is really simple and a lot of fun! You could do this process with any shape…Turkey, reindeer, Santa, heart, pumpkin etc! The possibilities are endless!

What You’ll Need:
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 – 8 ounce container of cocoa
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder
1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of safflower oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 1/2 cups of buttermilk
4 eggs
Icing or frosting
Candy for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Spray 2 – 11 inch round pans with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl stir together flour, cocoa, sea salt, baking powder and sugar until mixed. Add oil, vanilla, buttermilk and eggs and stir until batter is completely incorporated. Pour batter evenly into the two prepared pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake sticks done. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Using a serrated knife cut a bot tie shape out of the middle of one of the cake rounds:

Easter Bunny Cake: Ready for Frosting

As you can see above the cut outs become the ears. Place bow tie on the bottom of the other cake round and the “ears” at the top.

Once your shape is in place frost the cake:

Easter Bunny Cake: Ready to Decorate

You can use whatever type of frosting or icing you like. I used Wilton’s classic minus the butter, but you could use cream cheese frosting instead if you liked.

Now it’s time to decorate!

Use M&M’s, jelly beans, licorice, etc. Whatever you want to decorate with is fine! Decorate his bow tie, his ears and put on a happy face! Once you’re decorated then serve!

Easter Bunny Cake: A Slice

Notes: Traditionally this kind of cake has coconut on it for the “fur”. Alexis didn’t want coconut so we omitted it, but you can cover the cake in coconut if you prefer.

Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing

Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

Cupcakes? What’s better to take to a party that you know will be attended by a lot of children? So that’s just what we made for our Halloween block (road) party! This cupcake is simple, straight forward and delicious. Of course you can eat these cupcakes anytime and their decor could be shifted to fit any season. What’s not to like about that?

And no you didn’t read that title wrong…I said buttercream! If you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes for a while you’ll know that usually I am NOT a fan of icing made with butter at all, but I played around with it until I found something I actually liked!

So grab your cupcake pans and grab some butter…You’ll be glad you did!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

What You’ll Need for the Cupcakes:
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/3 cup of safflower oil
3 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk
2 tablespoons of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients until well mixed. Add remaining ingredients and stir until batter is smooth. Add to cupcake pan that has been lined and fill each cup 3/4ths of the way full.

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until cupcakes stick done. Cool to room temperature, frost (see below) and add sprinkles (or not).

Notes: If you want to make lemon cupcakes you could add lemon extract instead of vanilla. Peppermint? Add in mint extract, etc…You get the idea! 😉

Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

What You’ll Need for the Buttercream Icing:
2 sticks of butter, very soft
1 – 16 ounce package of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of vanilla
1/4 cup of heavy cream
Food coloring (optional)

Add butter to the bowl of your mixer and beat until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat on low until completely smooth. If you want to color your icing add food coloring now. Use immediately to frost cupcakes or cake.

Notes: As I’ve mentioned before I rarely sift anything and that includes powdered sugar. Now if I were making an Angel Food Cake, I’d definitely sift, but for icing it’s not necessary unless you just get a kick out of sifting. 🙂

Bear Bread

"Bear" Bread: Baked

If you’ve been a reader of Dianne’s Dishes for a while, you know I’m all about letting kids be involved in the kitchen. Alexis has been involved in one way or another in the kitchen since day one. (You can read more about that in my FAQ section.)

One of my fondest childhood memories was baking “bear” bread. I think we baked it once or twice, but it was so much fun. I knew that when I had a child of my own I’d want to bake “bear” bread with them. I have my mom looking for the picture of the bear loaves now. If she finds it I’ll have her scan it in so I can share it with you! But that’s neither here nor there…

A while back when we were studying B in Miss G’s lessons we baked bear bread. Get it? B…Bake…Bear…Bread…Oh never mind! ;oP Alexis had a blast! She’s been wanting to do it again so I think we may make a pumpkin shaped loaf soon, or maybe we’ll do a cat or a moon? Who knows? The point is, this is a very easy recipe to follow and kids really love the process!

There really isn’t anything that is special about this bread, in fact you could make it with any bead dough that was shapeable. (You could really make any shape you wanted…I even made Santa bread one time!) The one I use though is really fabulous and has such a light airy texture. It’s just perfect! Not only is the bear adorable, but it tastes good too! What’s not to like about that?

ddbreadweek2008
What You’ll Need:
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of water
4 – 4 1/2 cups of all purpose or bread flour, divided (Note: You can use white whole wheat flour instead if you prefer.)
4 teaspoons of yeast
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 eggs, beaten for the egg wash
Raisins for decoration

In a large bowl mix 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar and yeast until well incorporated. Set aside.

"Bear" Bread: Dough

Mix sour cream and water and heat to 110 F over low heat and check the temperature using a thermometer. Pour into bowl with flour mixture. Continue to add flour until dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes until dough is elastic.

Cut dough in half and then cut each half into separate pieces: 1 large piece for the body, 1 smaller piece for the head, 2 small circles for the arms, 2 small circles for the legs and finally 2 smaller pieces for the ears:

"Bear" Bread: Body Parts

Next assemble bear on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper:

"Bear" Bread: Arms and Legs

Shape the body first, then shape the head and lay it above the body. (Note: As long as the pieces are touching firmly they’ll bake together. No need to man handle the dough or anything.) Then add the arms, legs and ears.

Once the bears body is assembled add raisins for eyes, ears, mouth and belly button:

"Bear" Bread: Ready to Rise

Mash the raisins slightly into