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Turtle Dove Dinner Rolls

Adapted from a Taste of Home recipe fit for a festive Christmas!

Turtle Dove Dinner Rolls

You know what happens on the second day of Christmas, don't you? Two turtle doves! Instead of two, how about twelve? These adorable dinner rolls are a festive touch, giving a nod to the universal Christmas wish for peace on earth. I found this recipe at Taste of Home, a food media outlet I used to style for ages ago back in my professional food styling days. The original recipe yields 24 doves, so I scaled it back to half and tweaked the ingredients and quantities. If you already have a yeast dough recipe you favor and just want to take inspiration only from the shape of these bird breads (my challah dough would work perfectly), feel free to use that recipe to fashion these little dove delights!

Equipment: measuring spoons; wet measuring cup; dry measuring cup; small microwaveable mixing bowl or saucepan; large mixing bowl; rubber spatula; standing mixer with dough hook; dough scraper; thermometer (optional); sheet pan(s); parchment paper or silicone baking liner; plastic wrap and/or clean dish towel; cooling rack

Bread Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or 1½ packets)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup water ½ cup lowfat milk (1-2%) ¼ cup butter, cubed

1 large egg 2¼ cups all-purpose flour

oil for greasing the bowl Garnish Ingredients:

12 slivered almonds

24 currants 1 egg + 2 teaspoons cold water

1. In the bowl of a standing mixer outfitted with the dough hook, combine the whole wheat flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. Lightly grease a mixing bowl and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan (or in a microwave safe bowl), heat water, milk, and butter to 115F°-125°F and mix well to combine. Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients; beat on medium speed 1 minute. Then add the egg and beat on high for 2 minutes.

3. Mix in the all-purpose flour to form a soft dough, which will be sticky. 
Leave the dough in the stand mixer and knead on a low speed for 5-6 minutes until smooth and elastic (alternatively, this can be done by hand for 6-8 minutes by turning the dough onto a floured surface).

4. Place the dough in the greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

ILOC tip: the dough should be resting in a warm place that is not at all drafty in your kitchen. "Warm," in other words, means not cold, but it doesn't mean hot either. Just like the baker his/herself, the dough does its best work under ideal conditions!

5. Uncover the dough and punch it down while still in the bowl with one swift punch of the fist. Cover the dough again and let it stand for 15 minutes.

6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a dough scraper, divide and shape into 12 balls. Roll each ball into an 8-10-inch rope, then tie into a loose knot. Bring one end up and tuck into center of the knot to form the head. Flatten the opposite end and use a sharp paring knife to cut 4 slits to form 5 tail feathers. Press 2 currants into the head for eyes and 1 slivered almond for the beak.

"You can use one full sheet pan or two half-sheet pans to bake the 12 doves."

7. Place the doves 2 inches apart on a lined sheet pan. 
Cover with clean kitchen towels and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and 2 teaspoons cold water. Brush the egg wash over the doves.

9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the doves to rest for 5 minutes before removing from the sheet pan(s) to cool on wire racks for 5-10 minutes.

ILOC tip: serve these dove dinner rolls warm with soft salted butter or maple butter. The heads with the toasted almond beaks and currant eyes are the very best bites!

Makes 12 rolls.

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