It wasn't so very long ago that I publicly proclaimed my love for Betty White and her lifelong work with animal rescue efforts. Shortly after that interview I received an email from Grandma's Molasses, and to my surprise they were not asking me to promote their product per se, but a worthy cause. Grandma's Molasses supports The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee by donating a hefty amount of their product yearly. It is used to entice the elephants to take their medicines by concealing the tastes with molasses. (Elephants LOVE molasses. Who knew?!) After reading The Elephant Sanctuary's mission statement, I immediately wanted to help the effort.
"The Elephant Sanctuary exists for two reasons:
- To provide a haven for old, sick or needy elephants in a setting of green pastures,
dense forests, spring-fed ponds and heated barns for cold winter nights.
- To provide education about the crisis facing these social, sensitive, passionately intense,
playful, complex, exceedingly intelligent and endangered creatures."
The awful truth: many of these animals have faced physical abuse, torture, and forced incarceration prior to their forever home at the sanctuary. And just like people, some elephants suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Elephant Sanctuary does an important job of rehabilitation and creates a safe place for these animals to roam free, but they need resources! As you can imagine it is very expensive to provide food and shelter to their 14 resident elephants - $133,000 a year for just one elephant!
The awesome part: you can help! Visit ElephantsLoveGrandmas.com to “adopt” an elephant! With each donation of $10 or more comes a certificate of “adoption,” a subscription to The Elephant Sanctuary’s Trunklines newsletter, a coupon for a free jar of Grandma’s Molasses, and a recipe card for Grandma’s Elephant Bread (a recipe developed by me!). With each donation of $30 or more comes all of this, plus photos and bio information about the “adopted” elephant.
Anyone who may doubt the intelligence or emotional connectivity of these animals should watch the video below. It captures the beautiful -albeit strange- relationship between the sanctuary's own Tarra the elephant and her canine companion of many years.
Now, I've been given full permission by the folks at Grandma's to share the recipe, but please don't let that deter your donation. Give a little bread to the elephants.
This is a deliciously sweet pastry with ground pecans, brown sugar and generous smothering of molasses glaze. The technique for shaping this bread is easy, and when cut and unfolded it reminds me of two elephant ears.
Yield: 2 coffee cakes, 12 servings [click for printable recipe]
2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
¼ cup water, 110-115 degrees F
1 cup whole milk, 110-115 degrees F
¾ cup butter melted and slightly cooled, divided
2 eggs room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup finely ground pecans
1 tbsp. cinnamon
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. Grandma’s molasses
2 tbsp. butter, room temperature
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. whole milk
- Place yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl; stir briefly to combine. Add warm milk, ½ cup melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt and 2 cups of flour. Stir until a sticky dough forms. Add extra flour a little at a time until a soft dough forms (you may not have to use all the flour). Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and with a timer set, knead for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 ½ hours).
- Gently punch down dough and let stand for 10 minutes. Divide dough in half, and place on a well-floured surface. Roll each piece of dough into a 10x15-inch rectangle. Coat the rolled pastries with the remaining butter using a pastry brush.
- Place filling ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. Sprinkle mixture over buttered pastries. Roll them up, jelly roll style, starting with a long side. Pinch together the seams to seal in the filling.
- Place each rolled pastry on a baking sheet, seam-side up and fold in half so that the seams are touching and half the dough is resting on top of the other half. Cut folded pastries with a pair of clean kitchen scissors lengthwise and down the middle within 1.5 inches of the open ends. Open cut pastry and lay flat so it resembles a heart shape (or two elephant ears). Cover pastries with plastic wrap and allow them rise in a warm area for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and bake for 20 minutes. Remove pastries from oven and allow them to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, stir together molasses and room temperature butter; add confectioners’ sugar and milk. Stir well. Mixture should be thin enough to drizzle. If mixture is too thick add additional milk 1 tsp. at a time. Generously drizzle glaze over pastries and serve.
*No monetary compensation was provided for this blog post.