April 22, 2014

Bread Roses : a Ridvan Snack

bread rose

It's officially Ridvan!  For 12 days we celebrate and remember the 12 days that Baha'u'llah spent in the Garden of Ridvan, where He declared His mission and met with friends and loved ones before His exile. It is in large part because of Ridvan that when the kids think of Baha'u'llah, they think roses.

There was apparently no doubt that Baha'u'llah loved roses, and in the Ridvan story, we read about how the gardeners would cut all of the roses from the garden each day and pile them in Baha'u'llah's tent, where the pile became so large that the people who came to drink their morning tea with Him couldn't even see Him over the pile of roses.  It's a rosy story!

We buy fresh roses every year during the Festival of Ridvan and we make rose themed art.  This year, though, I had the idea for making bread roses. My initial thought was to sculpt dough and then bake it, but we just baked bread for Easter, which was no big deal to clean up because no home buyer is going to ask to tour the house on Easter Sunday. But Ridvan? Yeah, your typical home buyer doesn't much care about Ridvan, and a buyer was scheduled to walk through this afternoon, making the whole dough thing was out of the question.  

But have you ever seen kids mash up a piece of sandwich bread into a little dense cube or ball?  I did it all the time as a kid and it becomes sort of like clay if you smoosh it enough. Each summer, in children's classes, we make clay roses and spray paint them red using a sculpting technique I learned many years ago at Girl Scout Camp. I thought maybe we could roll out some sandwich bread out flat and see if it would work like clay.  It did!  


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Just roll out a piece of sandwich bread with a rolling pin and then use a measuring cup to cut a circle or oval our of the slice.  A cookie cuter would do, but I already boxed up our cutter collection. I used a small, 1/4 cup to get my oval, and for the middle petals, I sliced that in half and rolled it with the rounded sides up.  After about 4 half ovals for the inner bud, I used 3/4 or full ovals for the outer petals, just wrapping them around and pinching really hard at the base. The outer petals look nicer if you roll them outward at the top a little.  

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the inner bud of 4 half ovals.
When your rose looks awesome and you're done, you'll want to lay it on its side and slice the big bulge on the back off with a sharp knife and then dip the new bottom in water for a split second. The pressure of the cut coupled with a little moisture will keep your rose in tact.

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complete bread rose bud
If you want to crisp it up and brown the edges, you can bake it on your oven's lowest setting for just a few minutes until the edges are golden.  Then you're ready to snack! Pull off the petals and dip them in honey for a delicious little treat that adds one more layer of roses to the day.  

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Hannah Jane has made the clay roses a hundred times, but she struggled a bit with her first bread rose. We discovered that once you cut out the circle, it helps if you mash the edges with your fingers to keep them smooth before you start rolling them into shape.  The more mashing, the better!

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Happy Ridvan, friends!  May your festival be filled with joy!

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