Flopsy, Mopsy, Coconut Tail and Peter

Bunny biscuits

Is it possible for silly little bunny-shaped biscuits with fluffy tails to be elegant? Probably not. But I’m confident that this is the closest we’ll ever get.

I am irreparably clumsy and lacking in artistic talent in and out of the kitchen. Since I started baking, this has really irritated me. When I’m cooking comforting, hearty meals, it’s not really a problem; no one ever expects an oxtail stew to look like anything other than an oxtail stew. But sweet bakes are a different kettle of fish. These biscuits are my secret weapon. If you can scatter glitter over pritt stick, you can make these biscuits look utterly charming.

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Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Hot Cross Bun Loaf

Hot cross bun loaf

Reader, I will be frank with you: in many ways, this bread is the antithesis of the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books that littered libraries when I was a child. But please don’t let that stop you.

For the uninitiated, these were books – inevitably ghost stories or quest books (the format never really suited Noel Streatfield or Dick King-Smith) – that would force you at the end of the page or chapter to nail your colours to the mast and follow a particular path, offering you two plot choices, and two associated page numbers. It made you implicit in the plot, in the conclusion. Inexplicably, these books were achingly cool. I had very bad instinct with these books; within three plot choices I was dead, the treasure was lost, the story ended prematurely. My choices failed me.

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Something to Prove (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bun)

Hot cross buns

A confession, to begin with – appropriate, given the season. This is not a story of how I stopped worrying. It wouldn’t take a psychiatrist to determine that, in the last two years, I have used baking as a crutch, or a crude therapy. I have written previously about how pastries and breads and curds have helped me in times of mourning and misery and panic. I have been grounded by baking. But for a long time, I was scared of bread.

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