Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ideas for Easter

14 days of class, 4 exams.
Next weekend is Easter and I thought I'd start my easter-baking-brainstorming early. Martha has some great ideas on her website and I plan on making these 3:
Chocolate Eggs

Photo and recipe courtesy of
Sorry, I'm not even going to copy and paste all of those details on here. Too long. But you can bet your butt I'm going to make these!
And if you want something cute on which to place those gorgeous chocolate eggs, look no furhter than....
Birds Nest Cookies
Photo and recipe courtesy of
To make these:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar.
2. In a large bowl, combine 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 cocoa powder. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on low speed just until a stiff dough forms, about 2 minutes. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Place 6 ounces of chopped chocolate, 1 cup heavy cream, and 1 tsp espresso powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted. Remove bowl from heat, and set the chocolate ganache aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out chilled dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/4-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out 24 cookies; place them on lined baking sheets. Chill cookies until firm, about 20 minutes.
5. Bake cookies until set, about 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. For colored coconut, combine a few drops of food coloring with 3 tbps water in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut; mix until evenly colored. Spread on an ungreased baking sheet; bake just until dry, about 12 minutes, being careful not to brown. Let coconut cool; transfer to a small bowl.
7. When the ganache has cooled to room temperature, whisk until it becomes stiff enough to pipe. Transfer ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch-round tip, and pipe around perimeters of cookies. Dip each cookie, ganache-side down, into plain or colored coconut. Fill "nests" with candy-coated chocolate eggs, 2 or 3 eggs per nest. Store cookies in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 3 days.
And these little darlings don't need to be Easter-specific. I love lemons and I love the lightness of souffles so I definitely plan on making these asap....
Little Lemon Souffles

Photo and recipe courtesy of

To make these:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Trim tip end from a lemon so fruit sits level. Cut stem end one-third of the way down, making cut parallel with bottom; reserve top. Repeat with remaining 7 of the 8 lemons.
2. Hold a lemon above a sieve set over a bowl, and scoop out the pulp. Squeeze the juice from the pulp, and reserve. Repeat with all lemons. Place shells on prepared baking sheet.
3. 3 Combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup reserved lemon juice, and 2 tbsp flour in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat mixture on medium speed until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until very thick, about 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat, and return to mixer. Beat on medium speed until cool, scraping down sides several times, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, and set aside.
4. Combine 3 egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in clean mixer bowl. Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water, and stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch. Remove bowl from heat, and return to mixer; beat on low speed until frothy. Gradually increase speed until meringue is shiny and holds soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to overbeat.
5. Whisk 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture. Gently fold in the remaining meringue. Carefully fill the prepared lemon shells to just below the rims.
6. Transfer baking sheet to oven, and bake until meringue is slightly golden and rises about 1 inch above the shell, about 14 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to serving plates. Garnish with the reserved lemon tops, and dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.

So I think those Easter ideas should keep you busy until the weekend AND should somewhat make up for my slacking-off on posting.

In other news - my diet seems to have gotten back on track ...with the exception of a burger and fries and a slice of key lime pie on Monday.

Whatever. I have until April 1st to indulge.

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