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Archive for Easter

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Top: What a treat: Warm hot cross buns (photo King Arthur Flour). Bottom: You can substitute dried cherries or cranberries for the raisins (photo Ocean Spray).

 

Tomorrow is Good Friday, a traditional time for Hot Cross Buns. You can mix up the dough today, divide it into muffin pans, mix up the frosting…and have everything ready when you wake up tomorrow. In just 20 minutes, Hot Cross Buns will emerge from the oven: fragrant with spices, sweet with dried fruit.

from King Arthur Flour

And you don’t need to save these delicious breakfast buns for Easter. Although that’s why they have an icing cross, you can…

RECIPE: HOT CROSS BUNS

Prep time is 25-35 minutes, rise time is 1 hour, bake time is 20 minutes. You can prepare the dough in advance and refrigerate it overnight. See footnote*.

Ingredients For 12 To 14 Buns

For The Buns

  • 1/4 cup apple juice or rum
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
  • 1-1/4 cups milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, 1 separated
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • For The Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg white, reserved from above
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  •  
    For The Icing

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing
  •  
    ___________________________________
     
    *You can refrigerate the completed dough for the first rise (first proof), from a few hours to a few days. For loaves of bread, refrigerate unshaped dough; then shape it after removing it from the fridge. Refrigerate the dough immediately after mixing, not after a rise. After removing from the fridge, let it rise a second time on the counter. This can take one hour or several, depending on the yeast. Refrigeration actually yields tastier results because the yeast has more time to do its work. Allow the dough to warm up a little before baking.

    You can shape loaves before refrigeration, but it may produce an uneven rise because the center of a large loaf will warm much more slowly after removal from the fridge. However, buns are small enough to avoid this problem, so feel free to shape before you refrigerate. [Source]

     

    Preparation

    1. LIGHTLY GREASE a 10″ square pan or 9″ x 13″ pan.

    2. MIX the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just until the fruit and liquid are very warm and the plastic starts to “shrink wrap” itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. When the fruit is cool…

    3. MIX together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit. Knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, until the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid. Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though it may not double in bulk.

    4. DIVIDE the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces. That’s about 3-3/4 ounces each—about 1/3 cup, a heaped muffin scoop. Use greased hands to round the dough into balls and place them in the prepared pan.

     

    Good Friday Buns

    Originally, the cross atop Hot Cross Buns was a simple knife cut. The icing came later. Photo courtesy BBCGoodFood.com. Photo courtesy BBCGoodFood.com.

     
    5. COVER the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they’ve puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

    6. WHISK together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns. Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

    7. MIX together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe a cross shape atop each bun.
     

    THE HISTORY OF HOT CROSS BUNS

    The first recorded use of the term “hot cross bun” appears in 1733. A sweet yeast bun filled with raisins or currants, the cross on top was originally made with knife cuts. Over time, icing was piped over the cuts.

    The cross symbolizes the crucifixion, and the buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday.

    They are believed to predate Christianity: Similar buns were eaten by Saxons to honor Eostre, the goddess of spring. In their ancient pagan culture, the cross is believed to have symbolized the four quarters of the moon.

    “Eostre” is believed to be the origin of Easter. Many pagan holidays were ported into Christianity in its early days, to encourage pagans to convert to the new faith.

    You don’t have to wait for Good Friday to enjoy hot cross buns. They’re too delicious to save for one day of the year. You can variety the recipe with dried cherries or cranberries instead of raisins.

      

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    EASTER: Peeps Cupcakes With Hidden Surprise

    Who doesn’t love a surprise? Certainly, this Easter cupcake counts as one: In addition to an alluring Peeps chick on top, these cupcakes from Betty Crocker have a surprise in the middle—other Easter candies.

     
    RECIPE: PEEPS CUPCAKES WITH HIDDEN SURPRISE

    Ingredients For 24 Cupcakes

  • 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix (or your own yellow cupcake recipe)
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 1 cup assorted mini candy-coated chocolate candies, jimmies or confetti candy sprinkles (we used pastel M&Ms)
  • 1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy white frosting -or- make the easy (and much better-tasting) homemade buttercream*—recipe below
  • Green food color
  • Optional: green sparkling/decorating sugar
  • 24 Peeps marshmallow chicks (yellow or assorted colors)
  • Optional: Pastel cupcake wrappers
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.

    2. MAKE the cake batter as directed on box. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full). Bake as directed on box for cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

    3. SCOOP out the center of each cupcake, about 1 inch deep, using melon baller. Fill each with 1 heaping teaspoonful candies.

    4. SPOON the frosting into a medium bowl; stir in enough food color until you have your desired green color. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with colored sugar. Top with a Peeps chick. Store loosely covered.

       

    peeps-surprise-cupcakes-1-bettycrocker-230

    peeps-Chick-Surprise-Cupcakes-2-230

    Peeps Easter cupcakes with a hidden surprise. Photos courtesy Betty Crocker.

     
    ____________________________________
    *All you need to make buttercream is a stick of unsalted butter, a cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup whole milk and the flavoring of your choice, such as 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. You can tint it any color you like. Here’s the recipe for chocolate buttercream and other flavors.

     

    Colored Peeps

    Easter Cake

    Top: The original Peeps were made in yellow and white. Today there’s a rainbow of colors (photo courtesy Pioneer Press). Bottom: This Peeps Easter Bunny Cake recipe is from FoodySchmoodyBlog.com.

     

    PEEPS HISTORY

    In 1920, confectioner Sam Born opened a small candy store in Brooklyn, New York, selling fresh confections made daily. In 1953, he introduced Peeps marshmallow chicks in yellow and white.

    It used to take 27 hours to make a single Peep: Each one was hand-squeezed from a pastry tube. Now it takes six minutes on a mechanized line. Sam Born’s son, Bob, mechanized production in 1954 with a special machine still used today. The business, the Just Born Company, is still family owned.

    An average 5.5 million Peeps are made every day. That’s 2 billion Peeps a year, enough to circle the Earth three times.

    Peeps bunnies were added in 1973. The chicks way outsell the bunnies: 4 of every 5 Peeps purchased are chicks. But chick or bunny, Peeps are the number-one selling non-chocolate Easter candy.

    Beyond Original Marshmallow Peeps, there are now flavored Peeps (Blueberry Delight, Candy Cane, Candy Corn Dipped Peeps, Cherry Cordial, Chocolate Mousse, Fruit Punch, Lime Delight, Mystery Flavor, Orange Delight, Raspberry Delight, Strawberry Creme, Sugar Plum, Vanilla), as well as Original in blue, green, lavender, orange and pink colors.

    There are chocolate-dipped Peeps, Peeps atop sugar cookies, Sugar-Free Peeps, Peeps Marshmallow Eggs, Peeps Lollipops, gift sets and wearables (headbands, slippers, socks, etc.), all sold at Peeps & Company retail stores and online.

    And there’s more: Peeps Snowmen, Peeps Jack o’Lanterns, Peeps Witch Chicks, Green Marshmallow Christmas Trees and Chocolate Mint Christmas Trees.

     
    You can see them all here.

    Google “Peeps recipes” and you’ll find Peeps fondue, Peeps sushi, Peeps pizza, Peepsicles, even Peeps pots de crème.

    Just Born also makes Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, Hot Tamales, Mike & Ike and Teenee Beanee jelly beans.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Easter Candy Apples

    M&Ms Caramel Apple

    Easter Chick Chocolate Apple

    Easter Candy Apples

    TOP: Roll a caramel apple in M&Ms (photo Amy’s Apples). Center: Turn the apple into a chick with yellow sprinkles (photo Amy’s Apples). Bottom: You can make a hard candy coating like the red Halloween apples, switching the red food color for pastels. Photo courtesy Rose Bakes.

     

    Candy apples have a strong association with Halloween. But the treat, which adds a good-for-you apple to the candy components, can be embellished for any occasion.

    It’s the first full day of spring and a week from Easter, so what are you waiting for?

    Join confectioners across the nation who make seasonal apples, typically caramel or caramel coated with chocolate. White chocolate can be used as is or tinted in Easter and spring colors.

    You can also use a milk or dark chocolate coat, but some decorations look better against white. However, if you’re totally covering the apple with coconut or M&Ms, the color of chocolate underneath doesn’t matter matter.

    You can also make a hard candy apple coating like the red Halloween apples, but with pastel spring colors instead of red. Here’s how.

    You can use any candy apple, caramel apple or chocolate apple recipe.

    The apples of choice are sweet-tart varieties: Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith.

    If you’re using chocolate, you can melt baking chips; but if your palate is sensitive to the difference, spring for Lindt bars or other well-priced “premium” brands.
     
    WHERE TO BEGIN

    Click the links to take a look at different approaches to decorating Easter apples. Most are very easy to make; adding bunny ears does take some technique.

    Popular decorations include:

  • Colored chocolate shavings or baking chips.
  • Himalayan pink sea salt. For a sweet and salty apple you can use 100% pink sea salt or blended with pink sparkling sugar), lavender sparkling sugar, etc.
  • Mini candy Easter eggs or jelly beans, placed around the stick end of the apple. First add with other decorations like sprinkles or green tinted coconut.
  • Pastel candy pearls.
  • Pastel sprinkles and confetti. Wilton has a nice Easter mix.
  • Pink or mixed color sparkling sugar (a.k.a. decorator sugar and sanding sugar).
  • Something exotic, like pink bunny sprinkles, or an actual marshmallow Peep sitting atop the decorated apple (the stick is pushed through it).
  •  
    CANDY APPLES HISTORY

    The practice of coating fruit in sugar syrup dates back to ancient times. In addition to tasting good, honey and sugar were used as preserving agents to keep fruit from rotting.

    According to FoodTimeline.org, food historians generally agree that caramel apples (toffee apples) probably date to the late 19th century. Both toffee and caramel can be traced to the early decades of the 18th century. Inexpensive toffee and caramels became available by the end of the 19th century. Culinary evidence confirms soft, chewy caramel coatings from that time.

    Red cinnamon-accented candy apples came later. And, while long associated with Halloween, they were originally Christmas fare, not a Halloween confection.

    According to articles in the Newark Evening News in 1948 and 1964, the red candy apple was invented in 1908 by William W. Kolb, a local confectioner.

     
    Experimenting with red cinnamon candies for Christmas, he dipped apples into the mixture and the modern candy apple was born. The tasty treat was soon being sold at the Jersey Shore, the circus and then in candy shops nationwide.

    Later, coatings evolved to include caramel and chocolate, along with candy decorations ranging from simple to elaborate.

     
      

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    EASTER CANDY: Easter Chocolate From Our Favorite Chocolatiers

    You can’t enter a food or drug store without facing down all the chocolate Easter bunnies and other candy. Thank you very much, but when we eat chocolate, it’s got to be really good chocolate.

    Here’s a sample of what are favorite chocolatiers are featuring this Easter. The candies are all natural (no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives) and handmade in small batches. All are beautifully packaged. Each company has other Easter choices as well.

    Since they don’t contain preservatives, artisan chocolates should be eaten within 10 days of receipt. (That’s not a tall order!)

    BURDICK CHOCOLATE:
    SIGNATURE BUNNY BOX

    This keepsake wooden box contains our favorite Burdick Easter candies, embellished with a gold wax seal and a beautiful ribbon. It includes:

  • Five hand-piped White Chocolate Bunnies with an orange-flavored hazelnut chocolate interior and almond ears
  • Two sets of Marzipan Eggs
  • Two sets of Chocolate Truffles
  •  
    The Signature Bunny Box is $26.00 at BurdickChocolate.com.
     
    CHARLES CHOCOLATES:
    EDIBLE CHOCOLATE BOX OF BONBONS

    A signature item at Charles Chocolates, the Easter Edible Chocolate Box has a white chocolate lid with a smiling Easter bunny. The bottom of the box is dark chocolate. Yes, it’s 100% edible.

    Inside the box are the chocolatier’s chocolate-enrobed caramels—Classic Fleur de Sel and Bittersweet Chocolate Fleur de Sel Caramels—with chick and bunny designs. The total weight of the box and contents is 17 ounces.

    The Easter Collection Edible Chocolate Box is $65.00 at CharlesChocolates.com.

     
    JOHN & KIRA’S:
    CHOCOLATE COTTONTAILS

    You’ll have to provide your own grass, because these adorable Chocolate Cottontails arrive in a charming keepsake box made of heavy pink paper. The label is removable so the box can be repurposed as you like.

    Three of the Cottontails are filled with peanut butter praline, three with coconut ganache and three with salted honey caramel. The outer shell is white chocolate, with a dark chocolate shell underneath.

    The box of 9 bonbons is $29.95 JohnandKiras.com.

       

    Gourmet Easter Chocolate Assortment

    Gourmet Easter Chocolate

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/2016 chocolate cottontails johnkira 230s

    Top: Signature Bunny Box from Burdick Chocolate. Center: Edible Chocolate Box from Charles Chocolates. Bottom: Chocolate Cottontails from John&Kira’s.

     

    Recchiuti Easter Eggs

    Gourmet Chocolate Easter Eggs

    Z Chocolat Easter Candy

    Top: Recchiuti’s Easter Eggs are filled with burnt caramel and chocolate ganache. Center: Speckled Robin’s Eggs from Woodhouse Chocolate are filled with brown butter ganache. Bottom: Classic French pralines in a mahogany box from Z Chocolat.

     

    RECCHIUTI CHOCOLATE:
    CARAMEL & CHOCOLATE EASTER EGGS

    This special box of chocolate Easter eggs divides the treasure between Recchiuti’s beloved Burnt Caramel in milk chocolate shells and his Force Noir Ganache (dark chocolate laced with vanilla) in dark chocolate shells.

    The Combo Egg Box, 28 pieces (10.75 ounces of chocolate), is $45.00 at Recchiuti.com. Note that the eggs are halves (the backs are flat).
     
    WOODHOUSE CHOCOLATE:
    SPECKLED BROWN BUTTER GANACHE CHOCOLATE EGGS

    These beautiful Speckled Robin’s Eggs are delicately hand colored in pastels and filled with Woodhouse’s signature Brown Butter Ganache. The box can be given as is, or added to an Easter basket.

    A box of six pastel eggs is $15 at WoodhouseChocolate.com.

     
    Z CHOCOLAT:
    EASTER PRALINES

    How about an elegant gift sent directly from France? Virtually no one will have received such a special box of chocolate.

    Z Chocolat, known for its elegant packaging, offers its Easter pralines—miniature chicks, bunnies, and other critters—in stunning black boxes.

    But even more stunning are the two fine wood boxes: the Easter Diamond box, handcrafted mahogany that’s embellished with an artistic egg motif and a gold metal latch; and the white basswood box.

    No matter which box you choose, it’s filled with pralines and solid chocolates in dark, milk and white.

  • The Easter Diamond (Mahogany) Box is $189.48 for 76 pralines.
  • The Easter Sunshine (Basswood) Box is $148.87 for 52 pralines.
  • Three sizes of heavy black paper boxes are $39.47 for 26 pralines to $136.46 for 62 pralines.
  •  
    Prices were converted to dollars from Euros at a $1.13/euro conversion rate.

    Head to ZChocolat.com.

     

      

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    EASTER: Speckled Egg Malted Milk Cake

    Easter is early this year: just 10 days after St. Patrick’s Day, on March 27th. This year we’re passing on our beloved coconut-covered lamb cake in favor of this elegant caker. Who knows: Next year, maybe we’ll make one of each.

     
    RECIPE: SPECKLED EGG MALTED MILK CAKE FOR EASTER

    Wow guests with this impressive cake inspired by malted milk candy eggs. It was developed by Heather Baird for Betty Crocker.

    Prep time is 40 minutes, baking, frosting and assembly time is 2 hours. You’ll also need a new, stiff-bristle paint brush to “fling” the chocolate speckles. (It’s fun!)
     
    Ingredients For 10 Servings

    For The Cake

  • 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  •  
    For The Frosting

  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • Liquid blue food color
  •  
    For The Speckling Chocolate

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  •  
    For The Phyllo Nest

  • 1/3 cup kataifi* (kah-TAY-fie, shredded phyllo dough)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 speckled candy-coated malted milk egg candies
  •  

    speckled-egg-malted-milk-cake-2-230

    Athens Foods Kataifi

    Top: An Easter cake delight by Heather Baird for Betty Crocker (photo courtesy Betty Crocker). Bottom: Make the nest with kataifi, shredded phyllo dough (photo courtesy Athens Foods).

     
    ________________________
    *Shredded phyllo (fillo) dough, kataifi, looks like shredded wheat. In addition to Greek pastries, it is often used to make edible bird nests. Look for it in a Greek or Mediterranean market or wherever Athens Foods products are sold; or buy it online.

     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside.

    2. WHISK together in large bowl the cake mix and malted milk powder. Add the remaining cake ingredients; beat with electric mixer on low speed until well combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans.

    3. BAKE for 22 to 28 minutes or until the layers spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool the cakes in the pans on cooling racks for 5 minutes. Turn the layers out onto cooling racks and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Level the cakes using a large serrated knife or cake leveler, as needed.

    4. MAKE the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and beat 1 minute longer. Add the blue food color, 1 drop at a time, beating until a light blue color is achieved.

    5. FILL and and frost the cooled layers. Refrigerate the frosted cake 1 hour or until the frosting is dry to the touch.

    6. MIX the baking cocoa and vanilla in small condiment bowl. Load a new (unused) stiff-bristle paint brush with the cocoa mixture. Using your fingers, flick the loaded brush bristles toward cake, creating a splatter pattern. Re-load the brush and cover the entire cake with chocolate speckles. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.

    7. MAKE the phyllo nest: Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter 1 muffin cup in regular-size muffin pan. Tear off 1/3 cup portion of kataifi and place it in the muffin cup in a circular nest shape. Gently brush the phyllo nest with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes or until the phyllo is golden brown around the edges. Gently remove the nest with a fork; cool on a cooling rack.

    8. ATTACH the cooled nest to the cake with a dot of frosting. Place the 3 speckled egg candies inside nest. To serve, bring the cake to room temperature. Store the cake loosely covered with plastic wrap.

      

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