Last Easter I was busy packing all of our belongings into cardboard boxes as we prepared to make the life changing move out of London. Our new destination was Kent, where I grew up and where my Mum and brother still live. We had only been in one week when we packed more bags and set off up to Cheshire to see my in-laws for the Easter weekend. Something we do most years. At the time it seemed crazy after just moving house, but once we got there it was lovely to relax, have meals made for us and not unpack any boxes. The weather was fantastic and on Easter day we were spoilt with an Easter egg hunt and plenty of chocolate. This year without having to plan for a house move, I have been able to try making one of my most favourite things ever…hot cross buns. I actually love and hot cross buns and would be thrilled to eat them all year round. The way I like them is toasted, spread with unsalted butter and a cup of tea to wash it all down.
I have to say though that I’m not great at making bread items. I truly believe that it is something that takes a lot of practice, so I continue trying in the hope that my next effort will be better than my last. It’s a good job I think like this as my first attempt at hot cross buns were only just passable, but my second attempt was pretty near to perfect in my eyes, (picture below). I would have liked to know what Paul Hollywood thought of them! I digress. The most delightful thing about homemade hot cross buns are how much better they taste in comparison to shop brought which makes them totally worth the effort, even if they do take a few attempts to get right.
The basic hot cross bun recipe I followed can be found on the Baking Mad’s website. A few things I have done differently that might be worth trying as well include:
- Substituting 50g of plain flour for wholemeal flour
- Adding chopped dates and dark chocolate chips instead of raisins
- Using a 100g strong white flour, 25g butter, 125ml water and a pinch of sugar to make a paste. Then put this in a small freezer bag, snip the end and pipe crosses
The Baking Mad website also have a number of other Easter recipes that are worth having a look at, they include simnel cake, cake pops, Easter cake and Easter cupcakes.
Another wonderful thing about Easter is of course Easter Eggs. I love to look around the shops each year to see what temptations have been created. I’m always drawn to eggs that are a bit unique or have something special about them. Hotel Chocolat, who are fast becoming a firm favorite of mine have a marvelous Easter egg selection and I was lucky enough to be allowed one to review (or scoff which ever way you like to put it). I picked the ‘You Crack Me Up‘ egg with extra thick shell because I loved the look of the chocolates that came inside.
Little happy faces, chicks, fried eggs and soliders all appeal to child in me and I thought it was likely that my own children would be wanting some of this egg too! I was not disappointed. All (and that is saying something) the chocolates were lovely. If anything there could have been more! The shell was indeed extra thick and gave the egg a real feel of quality. I loved the packaging too. It came in a gorgeous box and the egg itself was wrapped in the most lavish looking light gold foil.