We have many favorite baking projects in my house, but the most beloved is bread mice. The first time we made them we laughed and laughed at how fat our little mice grew when they were set out to rise before baking. That night, as I put Little Mr. B. to bed, he whispered to me that he had had the best day of his life. When I asked him why, he answered, "Because those fat bread mice were just so funny!"
This is the recipe we use, but frankly, any bread recipe would probably be fine (I think whole wheat bread dough would make lovely, light brown & speckled mice!)
1 cup warm-to-the wrist water
2 TBL room temp. butter
3 1/4 cups flour (plus maybe a little extra for kneading)
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 tsp salt
1 packet (or 1 TBL) yeast
1/8 tsp turmeric for color
currents (or small pile of raisins, cut in half)
Pour warm water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over it. Allow to sit until yeast starts to "bloom" (about 10 minutes.) Meanwhile, gather and measure all other ingredients. Whisk turmeric and salt in with the flour (the turmeric makes the mice a pretty yellow color -- you can omit the turmeric if you wish.) As soon as the yeast starts to really get blooming, mix in the butter, egg, and sugar (or honey), then add the flour one cup at a time. When the dough seems to form a ball and is starting to look dry enough to knead, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes (or if your little one has been at your side all along, pouring and mixing the ingredients, then it's time for your little one to knead!)
After kneading, place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a dishcloth, place in a warm spot and allow to rise approx. 1 hour (or until double in size.) Punch down, invite your child to knead for another few minutes and then form dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Stretch the front of the ball to create a tear-drop shape. With a clean scissors, make a tiny snip at the tip of the drop and pinch a current inside the cut (making a small cut in the dough exposes a sticky interior -- your currents will stick better.) Then, just above and slightly to the sides of the little nose make 2 more snips and pinch in your mouse's eyes. Finally, take your scissor and make 2 very deep cuts behind the eyes.
Place mice 2" apart on a greased pan and allow to rise approx. 45 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and bake 10-12 minutes.