Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Bread

10,000 views! Thank you so much for all of the support over the past year. Happy Easter! This recipe comes from Pennies on a Platter and is my first time using yeast (yikes!), it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Just be prepared that the dough needs to rise twice so there's a lot of down time with this recipe.

-1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
-1 1/4 cups warm milk
-Pinch of salt
-1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
-2 eggs, lightly beaten
-1/2 cup sugar
-3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups flour
-egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water)
-6 dyed, uncooked, Easter eggs (will cook in the oven)

Mix together the yeast, salt, milk, butter, eggs and sugar.
Add two cups of flour and beat until smooth.
I don't have a dough hook attachment on my mixer so I kneeded by hand you can do either.
Kneed until dough is smooth.

Add flour as needed to make sure dough isn't sticky.
Once the dough is smooth and elastic, place into a well-oiled bowl, flipping once to make sure all of the dough is coated.
Cover tightly and let rise one hour. 

Divide into balls.

Form into ropes and braid together two at a time, closing the ends to form rings.

Place onto a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise another hour. 
When the dough is ready, place uncooked colored eggs in the center if desired.
The eggs will cook while in the oven so make sure they're uncooked!
Brush with an egg wash.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

After using yeast for the first time and waiting for the dough to rise twice I was surprised about how good this recipe turned out. The bread was a little sweet, I don't love sweet bread. J. thought that it turned out really good though and the rest of my family enjoyed it. This is a holiday recipe, so it makes a a nice presentation for a once a year event. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Crackle Eggs

This is the third in a series of Easter blogs. Our earlier blogs are Peep S'mores and Egg Nest Cupcakes. This is something I've seen a lot on Pinterest lately, and they looked really good so we wanted to try them. Ours did not really turn out as well as the pictures on Pinterest look at all. They weren't really messed up, you could still eat them like regular hard boiled eggs, but they just didn't come out with much color. A few were ok, and the inside of the shell had a really cool effect, but it just didn't really come through on the egg.

-hard boiled eggs

In each cup
-10 drops food coloring
-1 cup water
-1 Tbsp vinegar

Fill the cups with water and vinegar.
Add the food coloring.
I bought neon food color to use for this.
Crack the egg by rolling it on the table.
We found that the more cracked and the deeper the cracks,
the better the color got through.
Add the egg to the color.
Leave the eggs for about 10 minutes.
Just like regular Easter egg dying, the longer you leave them
the darker the color gets.
The inside of the eggshells looked pretty good, this is
what I had hoped the eggs would look like.

Multicolored egg shells.

In some of the pictures on Pinterest, it looks like only vinegar and food coloring is used. That might turn out better to get some of the color to go through the shell to the egg. The pictures of the shell turned out pretty good though, and the color on the eggs did not affect the taste.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Egg Nest Cupcakes

I've had a book of cupcakes for a few years, but all the cupcakes in it look so fancy that I've been afraid of how complicated they might be, so I've haven't really used the book much. But recently I've been doing a lot more cooking at baking, I thought I might be a bit better at baking now so I thought I'd try this really cute Easter cupcake. The book is just called "Cupcakes" and it is by Hamlyn. I also watched this great youtube video to learn to make the chocolate flakes for the top.

Check out our earlier Easter blog Peep S'mores, and look for other Easter recipes in the next two days.

This makes 12 cupcakes.

-1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp butter
-1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
-1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (I used all purpose flour plus 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt)
-3 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract

-3 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate
-2 Tbsp milk
-1/4 cup butter
-3/4 cup powdered sugar

- Extra chocolate to make the chocolate flakes for the top
-Chocolate eggs for the top

Mix the cupcake ingredients together with a blender for 1-2 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.
Make the chocolate flakes for the top.
Melt chocolate. Spread out the chocolate on a cold surface.
I covered my counter with saran wrap.
Spread out the chocolate pretty thin.
Once the chocolate hardens, scrape it up with a spatula.
It should break into small shards.
Make the fudge frosting. Add the chocolate, milk, butter
to a pot, and melt on medium heat. Once it has melted, take it
off the heat and mix in powdered sugar.

The book says to frost while the frosting is still warm, but I found
that mine was really thin, and it was much easier to spread after
I let it stand for 15 minutes or so. 
Take the cupcakes out of the oven.
Break up the chocolate flakes and add them to the top, leaving a hole in
 the middle for the eggs. It is best to do this before the frosting hardens
 so it can stick. Add two or three eggs to the center of the nest.
I tried to break up the chocolate to look like a nest.

These cupcakes were really cute for Easter, and everyone who tried them really liked the cupcake and the frosting recipe. They of course didn't look quite as good as the picture in the book, but they still looked like a nest with eggs. They definitely tasted goo though, all the chocolate on top was balanced out with the vanilla cupcake.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Peeps S'mores

This is the first in a series of blogs for Easter. I love both s'mores and peeps, so I knew this would be something I would have to try for Easter when I saw it months ago here. S'mores in the microwave aren't quite as good as making them at a bonfire, but this was still good. The color was really good in the s'mores, and they were really sugary. The peeps were also the perfect size to fit on one graham cracker square.

If you are strictly vegetarian and don't eat marshmallows, here are some ideas for substitutes:
You can buy vegan marshmallows, or
you can make your own.

-graham crackers
I bought 3 different colored peeps.
Add the chocolate to the graham cracker like you
would to make a normal s'more.
Top with a peep.
Put in the microwave for 15 seconds.
The marshmallows expand.
The marshmallows deflate when you get them out of
the microwave.
Top with another graham cracker.
Similar to regular s'mores.

These were easy to make a lot of, and lots of s'mores come in a pack. This would be a good way to use up all the s'mores you have for Easter. They are good warm, but they can also be stored and eaten for a snack later.