There are, by my count, at least seven levels of fried chicken. The worst of them is good; the best, which I waited forty-four years to find, led to what can only be called an out-of-body experience. Let’s start at …
Make Santa bread once, and it will be such a memorable occasion that you'll want to incorporate it into your family's favorite Christmas traditions. The finished product will look like you spent hours in the kitchen, and your friends and family will be surprised how easy it is, if you decide to tell them. Start with your favorite bread dough recipe, or make it easy with a package of refrigerated bread dough.
- 1 batch of bread dough or refrigerated bread dough
- All-purpose white flour
- Small bowl of water
- Greased cookie sheet
- 2 raisins, nuts or chocolate chips
- 2 egg whites
- 8 to 10 drops of red food coloring
- Paint brush
- Aluminum foil
- Wire rack
Begin with one batch of bread dough, or refrigerated bread dough that has been allowed to warm to room temperature. The dough should have already risen and be ready to cook.
Flour a working surface with all-purpose, white flour, and put a generous amount on your hands so the dough won't stick. Divide the dough into three equal balls. Set a small bowl of water within easy reach of your work area.
Work one ball until it's perfectly round and smooth, and then flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand until it's about an inch thick. This is will be Santa's face. Put the piece on a greased cookie sheet.
Make Santa's hat with the second ball of dough. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape slightly wider than the width of Santa's face. Cut the rectangle into a triangular hat and save the two small triangles that will be left over. Put the base of the hat on the top of Santa's face. Use your fingers to brush a small amount of water between the two pieces and press them together lightly.
Roll one of the leftover triangles into a log-shape and put it at the base of Santa's hat so that it looks like the brim. Seal the pieces together with a small amount of water on your fingers.
Roll the remaining triangle into a ball. Fold the tip of Santa's hat over slightly toward the front, position the small ball at the tip for a pom pom and join them together with a small amount of water.
Form the remaining ball of dough into a beard shape and attach it to the lower part of Santa's face with water. Flatten the beard and remove four small pieces that you can shape and attach as Santa's mustache, eyebrows and little, round nose.
Use a pair of scissors to cut the lower part of Santa's beard into narrow strips that can be curled and twisted. Don't cut the part of the beard that is attached to Santa's face. Cut two slits in the dough to make Santa's eyes, and create eyes with raisins, nuts or chocolate chips.
Beat two egg whites in two separate bowls, and add eight to 10 drops of red food coloring to one of them. Use a paintbrush to paint Santa's hat, mouth and rosy red cheeks. Brush the remaining, uncolored egg white on the rest of Santa to make him smooth and shiny.
Put the Santa bread in a warm place for about 30 minutes so that it can raise enough to have a puffy appearance. While the bread is rising, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cover the Santa bread loosely with aluminum foil and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the Santa bread from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack.
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