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Chocolate Recipes for Easter

by Daphne Lambert

Cacao, (Theobroma cacao) is a tree native to the tropical rainforest of Central and South America. To the Mayans, whose culture flourished nearly 2000 years cocoa was the food of the gods and was an important sacred plant.. The Mayan priests made a rich, thick, bitter beverage from cocoa beans. The roast cocoa nibs were crushed to form a powder and mixed with ground maize meal, vanilla, chilli, honey and flowers and consumed at all ceremonies.

Chocolate has long been associated with Easter mostly in the shape of an egg. The first chocolate Easter eggs were likely crafted in Germany & France near the beginning of the 19th century. These were made of dark chocolate and were usually bitter-tasting; because there was no process at this time for moulding chocolate, they were also solid and hard new methods of processing allowed, in 1873 the first hollow eggs to be made in Bristol, by chocolatier JS Fry & Son.

A staggering 80 million chocolate eggs are sold annually in the UK, they are integral to our modern day Easter celebrations. Worldwide the most popular chocolate egg is the Cadbury’s crème egg. The factory at Bournville can make a rather alarming 1.5 million crème eggs a day!

There are lots of other ways of enjoying chocolate over Easter, if you are lucky enough to have some chocolate in the cupboard, here are a few of my favourite recipes.

Easter Chocolate Cake

350g soft butter + extra

350g rapadura sugar

6 eggs

300g ground almonds

50g cocoa powder

350g dark chocolate

175g soft butter

Spring flowers (violets, primrose, comfrey)

Butter & line a 25cm (10”) round cake tin with parchment paper.

Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, almonds and cocoa powder together until very light. Very easy with an electric mixer. Put the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 mins on 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 or until firm.

Turn out and cool

Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring often, until melted. Cool slightly then briskly stir in the soft butter.

Pour over the cake

Decorate with the spring flowers just before serving so they are really fresh

Chocolate-Honey Hearts

makes about 10/12

320g honey

2 egg yolks

200g rice flour

120g ground almonds

1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

200g bitter chocolate

Very gently heat the honey to make it runny. Beat in all the other ingredients except the chocolate. Turn onto a working surface and gently knead into a smooth dough. Wrap up well in greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge overnight.

Remove the dough from the fridge and preheat the oven 170C/gas mark 3.

Dust the dough with rice flour place between 2 sheets of baking parchment and roll out to thickness of 1.5cm. Peel of the top sheet of paper and cut out heart shapes repeat to use up the dough.

Place the hearts on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for approx 12 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire tray.

Gently melt the chocolate. Using a wooden skewer pierced into the biscuit lower the biscuit into the chocolate (you could use a fork) submerge in the chocolate, you may have to tip the container to totally coat the biscuit; remove, let any excess chocolate drip off then carefully place on parchment paper remove skewer and leave to set.

Chocolate Hemp Sorbet

100g bitter dark chocolate

250 ml water

150g sugar

60g raw cacao powder

100ml hemp milk (strained for smoothness)

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and dissolve over a low heat, bring to the boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool slightly then stir in the chocolate and dissolve. Whisk the cacao powder into the hemp milk then add to the syrup mixture. Place the mixture in a container suitable for freezing and freeze until slushy. Remove the mixture from the freezer and whisk until smooth Place back into the freezer and repeat the process 2 more times then freeze until ready to use. Alternatively if you have an ice-cream maker, churn and then freeze until ready to use.

Chocolate Mousse

8 small servings

110g cashew soaked an strained

6 soaked dates

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

rose-hip, crab-apple or damson syrup

Blend all together until creamy, divide between 8 shot glasses and chill. Put a teaspoon of damson syrup on each one before serving.

Chocolate Hemp Milk

50g shelled hemp

175ml water

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon raw cacao powder

Blend well. Store in fridge for up to 3 days

Spiked & Spicy Hot Chocolate

200mls milk

50g milk chocolate

25g semi-sweet chocolate

1 tbsp. light brown sugar

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of salt

good splash of rum

Add the milk, sugar and chocolate to a small pot and cook on a low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate and sugar have dissolved. Whisk in the spices. Remove from the heat, stir in the rum and pour into a mug or glass.

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