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Whole Wheat Sugar Bears

Recipe provided by Jean Hixson, a Kansas Wheatheart from WaKeeney

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 packages active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups milk
1 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water

In large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast, 1-cup all-purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour. In 2-quart saucepan, slowly heat milk and butter until very warm (120-130 degrees F).

With mixer at low speed, beat liquid into dry ingredients until blended. At medium speed, beat 2 minutes. Reserve 1 egg white; beat in remaining eggs and 1 cup of each of the flours; beat two minutes more. Stir in remaining whole wheat flour and enough additional all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups) to make soft dough.

On floured surface, knead dough about 10 minutes, adding all-purpose flour while kneading. Place in a lightly greased large bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough; turn onto a floured surface. Cover; let rest 15 minutes. Grease 2 large cookie sheets. In cup, combine egg white with water.

Divide dough into thirds. Cut one dough piece into 1 half and 2 quarters. Shape the half piece and one of the quarter pieces into balls for the head and body of the bear.

Slightly flatten body on cookie sheet. Brush side of head with egg white; tuck slightly under body. Roll remaining quarter piece into a 7-inch rope. Cut a 2-inch piece of rope for the snout and a small piece for the nose. Brush both with egg white. Place on head.

Cut 2 1/2-inch pieces for ears and 4 1-inch pieces for legs. Tuck under bear; pinch to seal. With scissors, snip fingers, toes, eyes, and belly button. Repeat for other 2 bears.

Cover; let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush with egg white. Bake 25 minutes until brown.