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Easter Bakes

With more time on your hands recently, you’ve no doubt been trying our hands at new hobbies, like home work outs and yoga, gardening or cooking to keep you entertained. Easter weekend presents long weekend of (home-based) family-filled activities that get everyone, young and old, involved and we think that cooking is one of the best ways you can achieve this. Today we’re serving up our Catering staff and students’ favourite Easter recipes.

Party Treats (Simple)

The following recipes are a great place to start; so whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or you just fancy a quick sweet treat that will still wow the family, look no further.

Flapjacks

Ingredients:

175g/6oz butter

175g/6oz golden syrup

175g/6oz muscovado sugar

350g/12oz porridge oats

½ lemon, finely grated zest

 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and line a 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking paper.

 

2. Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat. Dip a brush in the butter and brush the baking tin with a little bit of it. Add the golden syrup and sugar to the butter and heat gently. Once the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the porridge oats and lemon zest.

 

3. Pack the mixture into the baking tin and squash down. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

 

4. Once cooked, remove from the oven, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a chopping board and cut into squares.

(You can also pour some melted chocolate over the cooked flapjacks and then leave them to set before eating.)

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

225g (8 oz) butter, softened 

200g (7 oz) caster sugar 

225g (8 oz) dark brown soft sugar 

2 eggs 

1 dessertspoon vanilla essence 

375g (13 oz) plain flour 

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 

1 dessertspoon hot water 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

350g (12 oz) dark chocolate chips 

 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.

 

2. Cream together the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour and add chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonful’s onto ungreased baking trays.

 

3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.

 

 

Easter Bakes (Complex)

And if the above whets your appetite for something a little challenging, why not try your hand at making Hot Crossed Buns from scratch, and some luxurious Easter Truffles? Read on to find out more:

 

Hot Crossed Buns

Ingredients:

500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

75g/2¾oz caster sugar

2 tsp mixed spice powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 lemon, finely grated zest only

10g/¼oz salt

10g/¼oz fast-action dried yeast

40g/1½oz butter

300ml/10fl oz milk

1 free-range egg, beaten

200g/7oz sultanas

50g/1¾oz finely chopped mixed candied peel

oil, for greasing

 

For the topping:

75g/2¾oz plain flour

2 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing

 

Method:

1. Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them on opposite sides of the bowl.

 

2. Melt the butter in a pan and warm the milk in a separate pan. Add the butter and half the tepid milk to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).

 

3. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand incorporating the sultanas and mixed peel into the dough. Lightly knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball. The kneading can also be done in a food mixer with a dough hook.

 

4. Oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.

 

5. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into 12 balls. Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.

 

6. Slip each baking tray into a large clean polythene bag, making sure the bag doesn’t touch the buns. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.

 

7. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

 

8. For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml/3½fl oz water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into the icing bag.

 

9. When the buns have risen remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.

 

10. Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.

 

Easter Simnel Truffles

Ingredients:

For the ganache

200ml/7fl oz full-fat milk or double cream

1 cinnamon stick, crushed

half a nutmeg, grated

75g/2¾oz muscovado sugar

300g/10½oz dark chocolate (preferably with 62% or more cocoa solids), finely chopped

5 tsp brandy

100g/3½oz marzipan


For the coating:

100g/3½oz cocoa powder

100g/3½oz icing sugar

25g/1oz ground cinnamon

10g/¼oz ground nutmeg

400g/14oz dark chocolate, melted and tempered

 

Method:

1. For the ganache, put the milk or cream, spices and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Remove the spiced milk from the heat and strain through a fine sieve onto the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth, then add the brandy and whisk again. Pour into a plastic container and refrigerate for an hour, or until set.

 

2. Roll the marzipan into small balls the size of a hazelnut. Coat the marzipan balls in the set ganache and place on a tray.

 

3. For the coating, place the cocoa powder, icing sugar, cinnamon and ground nutmeg into a bowl. 

 

4. Melt and temper the dark chocolate by breaking the chocolate into small, even pieces and gently melting it in a bowl over a saucepan of hot, not boiling, water. Place a cook’s thermometer into the chocolate and continue to heat until it reaches 43C/110F. Remove from the heat and cool to 35C/95F. Now it is ready to use.

 

5. Using your fingers, dip each truffle in the melted, tempered chocolate and drop into the cocoa powder mixture, rolling until the truffle is completely coated. Set aside to cool on a plate. 

 

We hope that this has helped inspire some culinary creativity, and a big thank you to Canterbury College Chef Lecturer Victoria for the ideas! We can’t wait to see your creations, so make sure you tag us in your Easter Bakes on Instagram (@canterbury_college).