Easter baking is colourful, fun, and reminiscent of spring. It also has a lot to do with eggs...
by Chynna Hamm
Easter really snuck up on me this year, as all holidays seem to lately. Holidays mean food, and food means sweets and treats and tons and tons of baking. To me, Easter baking is colourful, fun, and reminiscent of spring. It also has a lot to do with eggs.
A care package from my grandma inspired my day of Easter baking. She had sent a package filled with chocolate Mini eggs, Cadbury crème eggs, KitKat eggs, Smarties eggs, cookies and cream Eggies, and a cute card wishing us a happy Easter.
I must admit that I ate more than my fair share of these treats before they even made it into my mixing bowl, but I also knew that this meant I could spend a Friday afternoon baking my little heart out. So, I turned on my kitchen TV, pulled out my KitchenAid mixer, and got to work.
Mini Eggs Cookies
I am absolutely obsessed with Cadbury Mini Eggs. I can eat those things like popcorn and have to be stopped from buying the bag that is roughly the size of a small child. I’ll already be buried in pastry cream at my funeral, so just throw a few dozen bags of Mini Eggs on top as decoration.
My one free afternoon was certainly brightened by popping these sweets in my mouth, and to make them more delectable I decided to bake them into cookies. My favourite thing about this cookie recipe is that you can add absolutely anything that you want into the mixture and they still turn out good. I was giddy when I added about a cup and a half of the original Cadbury Mini Eggs. I wanted the eggs to maintain their crunchy shells and colours, so I threw them into my food processor and just barely crushed them before adding them to the dough.
To make my cookies even more festive, I added blue food colouring and put Hershey’s Cookie and Cream Eggies to the top of the cookies to give them a “nest” look.
In hindsight, this addition of colour and weight is probably what made my cookies a little flatter than I would have liked. I’ll admit, they turned out fairly ugly, but still sinfully delicious. I’ve messed with this recipe multiple times, and it’s pretty hard to make BAD cookies.
These bad boys only take about 5 minutes to whip up and another 10 minutes in the oven. They expanded quite a bit (probably from the aforementioned use of food colouring, but also from too much whipping of the dough) but were so tasty. I think next time I’ll opt for no colouring, but more Mini Eggs.
These turned out pretty chewy, and the crunch of the Mini Eggs was so delightful. The cookies were great to munch on during the afternoon and I had more than my fair share. I guess you could say my baking afternoon turned in to a snacking afternoon. Paired with a glass of milk, they are the perfect sweet to have around, even if they don’t make it past Good Friday.
Cadbury Crème Egg No-Bake Cheesecake
I must admit that Cadbury Crème Eggs kind of gross me out. They taste decent, but just the thought of them brings me back to my days of working at McDonald’s over Easter weekend.
I had to pump out ultra-thick, gelatinous, bright orange fondant syrup (the “yolk” ingredient in the eggs) for hours into the featured Easter McFlurry. This gave me perpetually sticky hands to go along with my hatred of working there. However, I rest my case.
This recipe looked good, and I wanted to give it a shot, even though I have never made a cheesecake before.
The crust was a simple Oreo crumb and butter mixture, which, to my surprise, I didn’t have to purposely bake. However, I set my springform pan on the stove and smelled burning butter five minutes later. The burner was still warm from my morning eggs (the chicken kind) and managed to semi-cook the crust. I quickly moved the pan to the fridge and finished up the cake innards.
Lots of cream cheese and whipping cream is the basis for the inside – but no eggs (the chicken kind again), which I understand are put in baked cheesecake. here you simply throw in some chopped up Cadbury Crème Eggs to the mixture and pop it into the crust.
I refrigerated it for the allotted amount of time and took my sweet time decorating it, which was a highlight of my relaxing afternoon. And it looked beautiful if I do say so myself. I even invited my cheesecake-loving boyfriend over to try it and he said that it was gorgeous looking.
A few hours later I cut into it and disaster struck. My gorgeous cake collapsed in on itself. We could barely get the crust out of the pan. My whipped cream details and Crème Eggs decorations fell in too. The recipe claimed it would hold up, so I’m really not sure where I went wrong.
It tasted delicious, but I might as well have traded my plate in for a bowl because it was like I was eating 1000 calorie yogurt. I knew that if it had held up it would have been perfect. The crust was a wonderful contrast to the creamy inside, and the Crème Egg flavour was subtle, and not too overpowering
. I really wish I could have enjoyed it more, but I was utterly disappointed. I think next time I’ll attempt a real bake-in-the-oven cheesecake, or better yet, I’ll leave the cheesecake to the professionals – I know countless bakeries to try, such as La Boule.
Now here is a recipe to write home about! My most successful baking of the day was my Easter Bread. I found this recipe after looking for something more traditional to attempt. This bread is a brioche and something that I have never tried to make myself.
You need lots of time to make this bread, as the total rising time is about 6 hours. I started at noon and took the final product out of the oven around 6:30 pm. The wait was totally worth it. I was able to work on my other baking during rising time, laugh along to my sitcoms on TV, and even did a class lecture during the final rise.
The thing that weirded me out the most about this recipe was the addition of a whole, shell-on, raw egg placed in the centre of the dough before baking. You dye it like an Easter egg in vinegar and water.
After some research I realized that the egg is more symbolic than anything, but you CAN eat it if you’d like. Actually, the main design of this bread is symbolic too. While the egg represents new beginnings and the coming of spring, the two designs pictured above have to do with Christianity. The twisted circles are representative of the crown of thorns that Jesus wore on the cross, and the braids represent the Holy Trinity. The sprinkles are just for fun and add a splash of colour.
Once you have done the rising, kneading, and design prep for these loaves, they only take about 20 minutes in the oven. They are also ready to eat, as the individual loaves aren’t too big and the light, airy texture of the brioche makes them cool fast. My boyfriend and I ate this bread with dinner, and it was a perfect complement to the roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and peas that I had also made. I even melted some butter in a bowl, and we used it to dip our bread in.
Bread is one of my favourite foods, and just the smell of it makes me happy. This was the perfect end to a lovely afternoon of baking.
I had so much fun baking and experimenting with these Easter recipes.
I was happy with my cookies, a fun twist on a classic treat. After my dad chastised me for being too hard on myself about the cheesecake, I will now call it a “good learning opportunity.” The Easter Bread was definitely my favourite and something that I look forward to making again.
Baking is just such a joy for me, and I appreciate whenever I get to do it. Happy Easter my friends, and happy baking!