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Hot Cross Buns

Fill your kitchen and your home during this Easter time with the spicy aroma of the very best home made Hot cross buns, made with real ground spices and baked with love for your family and friends!   One of the highlights on the calendar of worldwide annual baking traditions are these buns. A feeling of expectation arises when the pervasive spicy aroma of flavourful yeast-risen buns fill the air in many home kitchens.   Be sure to also try the recipe for Hot Cross Hybrid (Pain Au Chocolat), an Easter-themed pastry.

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Hot Cross Hybrid

This recipe is a cross (excuse the pun!) between a Hot Cross Bun and the popular French pastry, pain au chocolat, which is made with yeast-leavened dough and filled with chocolate.  “Pain au chocolat” literally means chocolate bread.

Be sure to also try the traditional recipes for traditional Croissants and Hot Cross Buns.

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Choc-chip Chocolate Cupcakes

These double chocolate cupcakes were requested by my daughter Mia for Valentines Day.  Thank goodness I baked and decorated them yesterday morning!  With the frequency of load shedding these days it would not have been possible to make them today!

125 ml sugar
2 large eggs
140 g/250 ml cake flour
60 ml cocoa powder
5 ml baking powder
pinch salt
30 ml oil
5 ml vanilla extract
50 g chocolate chips (optional)

Buttercream Icing
100 g butter
500 ml icing sugar
60 ml cocoa powder
2 ml vanilla extract

To decorate
heart-shaped sprinkles

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Line a medium muffin tin with paper cupcake wrappers and grease them with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Beat the sugar and eggs together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour the batter into the cupcake wrappers and bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until the cupcake are firm to the touch and thoroughly baked if tested with a skewer.
  6. Remove the muffin tin from the oven and cool the cupcakes in the tin for 5 minutes.
  7. Beat the butter with an electric hand mixer until fluffy.
  8. Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract and beat well.
  9. Transfer the buttercream icing to a piping bag fitter with a star nozzle and pipe the icing decoratively onto the cupcakes.
  10. Sprinkle the cupcakes with heart-shaped sprinkles.
  11. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

12 servings.

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Authentic Panna Cotta

This classic Italian dessert Panna cotta is made of sweetened cream which is thickened with gelatin and usually moulded. The cream may be flavoured with vanilla, coffee, rum, etc. Although the name does not sound appetizing at all (it means ‘cooked cream’ in Italian), panna cotta is silky smooth with a melt-in-the-mouth texture and is as close to perfection as it gets!

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Easter 2018

The origins of hot cross buns may go back as far as the 12th century. There are several myths about these popular fruit-studded yeast-risen buns.  One of the more well known stories is that an Anglican monk baked the buns and marked them with a cross in honor of Good Friday.  At some point in history the buns was commonly known as Good Friday Buns. During the 1730s in Europe the buns were sold on the streets, and it was here that the name as well as the popular rhyme emerged, as the sellers would shout out ” One-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot cross buns “…   This tradition was still in practice as little as eighty years ago.

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Easter Chocolate Bark

Although bark doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, this rustic looking sweet treat is quick and easy to make and can be customised to any occasion.  It is the ultimate home made gift!  In its simplest form, it is a thin sheet of chocolate studded with anything from candy to nuts, dried fruit, seeds and even spices.  The chocolate is then broken up into uneven pieces or shards.  It is called “bark” because it resembles tree bark.

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