Try Dragon Biscuits for Breakfast!
Why make regular rolls and biscuits when you can make Dragon Biscuits? Here is the recipe!
Make a dragon biscuit to "slay" at breakfast! In the fall it is fun to bake, and fun to enjoy them hot from the oven. Slather them with butter and jam and you can be a proper knight in battle. Perfect for eating before a test, before having to do something that is a little daunting, or simply to give you a little extra energy to get through the day. Of course, you may find that your children carry them around for a while before eating them,. but that is fun too!
These biscuits were inspired by some research I did on the Michaelmas festival in the UK. St. Michael was the angel who hurled Lucifer out of the heavens, a classic story of good conquering evil. Because Michael was the conqueror of evil, they call him a DRAGON SLAYER. But we all know that the year 2012 is the Year of the Dragon in Asia, so rustling up a bunch of dragon biscuits would be a great way to celebrate this Dragon Year.
I call them biscuits, but these are actually rolls. "Biscuit" sounds better, don't you think? But they are made of bread dough. Please don't be afraid of making them from this recipe for bread dough. This recipe is so easy you will be shocked. Or if you are really pressed for time, you can make them from pre-made roll dough from the store. Or try pizza dough!
If you want to see more about the history of the original Harvest Festival in the British and Celtic traditions, you can go to Harvest Festival Fun - Old Traditions and New Ideas and have a look. If you are looking for information on the Year of the Dragon, you can go to Chinese New Year of the Dragon page.
All photos by Elyn MacInnis, if you use them, please link back.
Dragon Biscuit Recipe
Get creative with bread dough!
Beware. If you make this with younger kids, they may want to keep the biscuit as a pet!
You make dragon biscuits from stiff biscuit dough, bread dough, or even biscuit mix from the supermarket. The only thing you need to watch is that the dough is not too soft and won't expand so much that the biscuit goes completely out of shape. This recipe is a snap. I recommend it highly. Don't forget that you can add flavors to the dough if you like by adding fennel seeds, rolling in raisins, caraway seeds, or any other creative idea you might want to try for filling.
Once you have formed the shape (make your dragon thin so that he can grow into the right shape) you can add sliced almonds sticking out of their backs to give them spikes on their backs. You can also add pine nuts as teeth, or an almond sliver for a tongue. Be creative with eyes. I tried pieces of citron for green eyes, 1/4 of a large red-hot cinnamon candy for another, and bits of raisins for the rest. If you use an egg glaze or baste them with a little butter, you can also add interesting texture to them with sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or even dried garlic flakes (to add the additional aspect of "garlic breath" if you dare...)
If you don't want to make bread, you could also use gingerbread cookie dough and cut out dragon shapes using a sharp knife. Or you can use a dragon cookie cutter which you can order down the page a bit. But please try shaping a few by hand. When you do it this way, the biscuit is more like a "creature" and not just a shape. There is a difference.
This recipe is from a Waldorf school site called Our Little Nature Nest at http://naturenest.wordpress.com which they use during their autumn part of their curriculum. This is a wonderful site I discovered in my search for Michaelmas food, and it has other Michaelmas projects to do with children.
DRAGON BREAD DOUGH
1 cup water
1 TBS honey
2 tsp yeast (a packet will also work)
2 TBS melted melted butter or healthy oil
3 1/2 cups flour (half whole wheat & half white is fine, but all whole will work just as well, or any combination of the 2)
1 tsp salt
Warm the water to about "baby bottle temperature"
Add the honey, and mix
Add the yeast
Allow the yeast to "bloom", and get bubbly
In another bowl mix the salt with 3 cups of the flour (save 1/2 cup for later)
Add the yeast/water mix, and the melted butter/oil to the flour/salt
Mix until it starts to come together
Dump the dough out onto a well floured surface
Knead the dough for a few minutes, adding the remaining 1/2 cup flour if needed a bit at a time until the dough is no longer sticky
Place in a bowl,cover with a towel & allow it to rise 30 minutes
PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees F/ 200 C
Once risen you can shape into a dragon, or rolls, or a loaf
Let rise for another 20 minutes
Bake for approximately. 20 minutes at 400 degrees. You can baste them towards the end of the their cooking time with some egg that has been beaten with a little water added to make them shiny and brown. Just be careful not to break the almonds that are sticking up in the "spine" of the dragon.
They recommend serving it with "dragon's blood," which is really ketchup! This morning we ate them with strawberry and raspberry jam, and slayed a few dragons. It was very delicious.
Things you can use for eyes
small chocolate chips
candy or pieces of candy
peas, for the green eyes effect!
small pieces of other veggies
Watch how to shape dragon biscuits by hand
Dragon cookie cutters - aren't they cute? - Oil up this cutter and use it to cut out the bread dough if you like
Cookie cutters can save a lot of time. Here are some from Amazon. If you use my link to Amazon I get a small commission which I am using to help support the Peng Cheng Special Ed school in a poor coal mining town in China. I live in China, and go to the school to do eeg biofeedback with the kids once every three weeks or so. Please consider ordering your supplies from my page - every little bit helps.
Dragon Biscuits on the way to the oven - These biscuits rise fast, so make sure you preheat your oven
If you don't preheat your oven, your dragons will puff up into fat balloons that you barely recognize as dragons. The first time I made them, they had too much rising time. Fortunately my oven is a fast heater, so it didn't wreck them.
This is what they looked like on the way into the oven. Near the end I basted them with some egg that had water blended in, and that is what gave them their shiny look. You could add some seeds on top when you do this, or if you baste them before you put them in the oven, you can add seeds then. This recipe is a wonderful excuse to get creative and try new ways of shaping and adding seeds, nuts, and other ingredients. And in fact - you could shape anything, sharks, dogs, horses, or even pumpkins for Halloween.
Dragons are not the same around the world
A Chinese dragon is not a bad creature...
A Chinese dragon is not an evil thing that steals princesses or terrorizes villagers in China. A Chinese dragon is actually the symbolic representative of the Emperor, the "Son of Heaven." Yes, he is fierce and not to be ignored or dismissed, but he is not "evil." I think these dragon buns look more like a Chinese version than the Western one, since the roundness of the bread dough makes them look more gentle and friendly. Dragons are very flexible in Chinese tradition, and can shrink up to the size of a bug, or expand until it fills the space between heaven and sky. (Now that is impressive!)