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[Photograph: Donna Currie]

Can you imagine these little birdies peeking out of a bread basket? Or on the edge of a salad plate? Pretty adorable, right?

Like any shaped bread, you'll never get two that look exactly alike, but that's part of the charm. They'll rise differently before baking, and they'll rise differently in the oven. It's unpredictably fun. And every once in a while, you'll get one that looks just plain weird. Hey, not all birds are born the same, right?

The hardest part is getting the eyes and beak to behave. The rising dough wants to push them out, so you need to insert them a lot farther in than seems right. And then give them another little push right before they go into the oven.

I wanted to use completely edible items for the whole birdie, so I used slivered almonds for the beaks and chocolate pearls for the eyes. I was a little concerned the eyes might melt and make a mess, but it actually worked. The pearls are chocolate-coated crunchy cereal, so they had some substance. Something more solid, like a peppercorn, would probably work better as an eye, but most folks don't want to bite into a peppercorn. A piece of black olive or a bit of dried fruit could also work. Just look around your kitchen and see what you have that would be edible and suitable!

The bread is just slightly sweet; not like a sweet breakfast roll, more like a slightly sweet dinner roll. They're great with spicy food, barbecue, or just a simple dab of butter. Or really just any meal that needs some adorable bread.

Like cute animal-shaped bread? Bunny Bread, in case you missed it!

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie or @cookistry.

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