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Easter and DDTC

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Easter means spring! And even though the weather has warmed up and most of the snow is gone, on the long walk we took with the dogs today I could have happily worn earmuffs thanks to a strong, cold wind.

Easter also means that we are at our off-site storage location, aka my parents, so though the selection is plenty, it is heavily red and riesling. @WineGuyTO dug around and found a 2007 Flat Rock Twenty Mile Bench Chardonnay that complemented both the fish for Good Friday and the ham for Easter dinner.


The colour was light straw but very buttery, somewhat lighter than what @WineGuyTO was expecting.  The nose showed some butter and the evidence of oak barrels.  The flavours definitely balanced nicely with some acidity to complement the fruits and alcohol.  I found a note of toasted wood on the palate, with a medium finish that was pleasant.

**I have decided to amalgamate all DDTC posts in a monthly post going forward.  So stay tuned for the rest of April at the end of the month!


Pinterest inspired Easter Treats

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Originally published April 2012

I don’t think I am alone in the craze that is pinning on Pinterest.  Most of what I have pinned/liked have been recipes.  I was inspired by two pins this Easter, mainly because I am addicted to Cadbury Mini Eggs and needed to use up the kilogram bag I had.  Also being a 4 day weekend for me, I actually had some time to bake.

First up was the easy recipe from The Happy Baker: Mini Egg Shortbread cookies.  I only had one problem with the recipe, it did not give  an idea of how much one batch would make, so I doubled the recipe.  75 cookies later…..

Everyone at work loved them, and because it is shortbread, I can easily freeze them to eat throughout the year. They were the right texture and the chocolate was a nice crunch without  overwhelming the cookie.

Next up was a picture I saw, and after some digging, found out it was from the Peeps website; a cake made to look like a sunflower.  I did a chocolate fudge double layer cake with chocolate buttercream (real butter!) and raspberries in the middle.  This did not turn out quite how I hoped as I thought that having the Peeps upside down would look better.  Unfortunately, I could not secure them and turned them right-side up (which is actually how they were supposed to be once I looked back at the website again). This made the end result messy, and being just a little bit of a perfectionist at times, did not make me feel that I had done a good job.

That being said,  there was just enough left at the end of the workday so that @WineGuyTO could have a slice 🙂

Easter: then and now

When I lived in France, Easter meant a trip.  Off to Ile Ouessant we went!  The trip wasn’t so great. I got sick on the ferry ride and it rained the whole weekend.  It also became a scary trip for me personally.  You see, cars are not allowed on the island, so we rode bicycles everywhere.  That wasn’t the scary part: the rain and lack of streetlights were.  My bicycle brakes almost failed as I was riding downhill, and I fell off rather than hit a wall.  I survived, but unbeknownst to me, my host family thought it would be funny to hijack my postcard to my parents and draw out me actually hitting a wall!  A panicked phone call the next week ensued to explain that I was in fact fine.   On the upside, I played with spring lambs in the fields any chance I could 🙂

What I do (fondly) remember about France and Easter is the great chocolate I was given.  Coloured, dark, milk, all in great seashell shapes and creamy.  Oh, and Belgian! Mmmmm.  I hoarded that chocolate for a month, doling out small amounts every day as a treat, it was so good.  That was about the only similarity between Easter there and here, because here there are egg hunts, hard-boiled coloured eggs, more chocolate (but not as good) and family dinners.

To celebrate this year, I decided to be baker-ly.  Hot cross buns (2 flavours) and some cute M&M cupcakes were to be made.  And for Passover, meringues with lemon curd filling.

Hot Cross Buns

I cut this recipe out from the now defunct President’s Choice Food magazine they published years ago, hoping one day to have a kitchen big enough to make these in.  Ironically, I now do, but ended up making them at my parents’.  WineGuyTo wanted chocolate chips (like Cobs Bakery), so the dough got divided up; one traditional, one chocolate chip.

Recipe (its long!)


1/3 (75ml) cup plus 1 tsp (5ml) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water

1 tbsp (15ml) dry active yeast

2 1/2 cups (625ml) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp (2ml) ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp (2ml) mixed ground spices (such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice) ***I cheated here and just did cloves, adding a little more cinnamon and nutmeg overall

1/4 tsp (1ml) freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp (1ml) ground ginger

1/3 cup (75ml) milk

2 tbsp (25ml) melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (125 ml) currants ** I used raisins

3 tbsp (45ml) candied mixed peel

2 tbsp (25ml) each milk, water and granulated sugar

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tsp (5ml) granulated sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast.  Let stand 10 minutes until frothy.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/3 cup (75ml) sugar and all the spices.  Make a well in the middle.  Add yeast, milk, melted butter and egg.  Combine well.  If dough is sticky, add a little more flour **If dividing, do it as it is JUST combining.  Stir in currants and mixed peel (or chocolate chips|).  On a lightly floured surface, knead 10 minutes or until dough is smooth, shiny and slightly elastic.  Place dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

***Side-note, my mother tells me that as a child they would leave the bowl on the radiator.  We put ours in the oven at 125° F.

Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead 1 minute.  Roll into a long cylinder, then cut into 12 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a small bun: Bring together the tips of your thumb and forefinger in the shape of an O.  Using your other hand, push a piece of the dough up through the hole to make a smooth ball.  Pinch together the bottom of the ball to seal.  Place pinched side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with all dough pieces.  For soft-sided buns place 1/2 inch (1cm) apart.  For crusty buns, place 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) apart.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425° F( 220° C).  Just before baking, remove plastic and use a sharp knife to slash a cross into each bun, if desired.  Wait until the crosses open slightly, then place pan in oven and bake buns 15-20 minutes or until browned.  Remove the buns to a wire cooling rack.

Prepare Glaze: in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp (25ml) each milk, water and sugar.  Stir until sugar has dissolved and glaze is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.  Brush glaze over still warm buns.

Chocolate on left, traditional on right

Unfortunately I don’t think the yeast was quite fresh enough (was borrowed) and they didn’t rise to the consistency I wanted.  Will still enjoy them though!

M&M cupcakes

I totally went quick on this.  Saw the recipe from my M&M newsletter (yes I get one, those who know me well know I LOVE M&Ms) and decided to make for the family dinner.  Box of french vanilla cake mix, some green dye in vanilla pre-made icing, and voilà!

so cute!

Meringues with Lemon Curd

I hate eggs.  An allergy as a child meant that I really never acquired a taste, so no scrambled, hard-boiled, over easy eggs for this girl.  But meringue; meringue I love.  So the Jewish connection: those who know Passover, know that there isn’t anything leavened allowed.  So out goes a traditional lemon meringue pie and in comes meringue with lemon curd!

Everyone has their own meringue recipe.  I found that piping out into a cup shape worked, or using a wet finger to make a well is just as good.  I used a lemon curd recipe from Alton Brown, and I don’t put it in until almost ready to serve, or the meringue gets too soft.  I did use the modification in the comments by MRubenzahl and it turned out great!

At the mushy stage, but so delish!

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