The church biscuit: 82. Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs

Bunny biscuits for Easter

Bunny biscuits for Easter

I could get used to Easter this early, in late March rather than half way through April and, although the change to British Summer Time was a bit of a shock, I enjoyed the fact that it happened on Easter Day. Skylarks high in the sky – and all but invisible as usual – set the tone and made me hopeful that it might get a bit warmer later on. Faint hope as just as the vicar was urging us to enjoy the sunny weather a whole flotilla of dark clouds sculled over to the church and hung  there, waiting to discharge their load until the very moment that  we left Ipsden Church to descend to North Stoke Church by the Thames for the second service. Liz, who teaches riding, trains horses, does dressage, sings in the choir and for 50 % of time is the organist had created the prettiest and tastiest of sponge Simnel cakes – I meant to take a photograph but it being a 3 giant cafetière day to be spun out over 40 plus adults (thank heavens for children being happy with a biscuit) desire wasn’t mother to the action this time.

We experimented with daughter No 2 bringing the grandson into church just for the very last part of the service which worked for about a nanosecond until he burst out of his handlers’ arms like Titian’s young Bacchus swirling out of his chariot, swooped down the aisle and eyes gleaming made for me shouting ‘Granny Mary’ triumphantly. That cost me 3 bunny biscuits. Nobody at all minds his piratical approach to services but at the moment he’s just a bit too maverick,  unpredictable and somewhat shouty which means his poor beautifully mannered father tends to spend half the service in the churchyard. He will not be thus for ever.

Bunny and Egg biscuits for Easter

Bunny and egg biscuits for Easter

Bunny and egg biscuits for Easter

225 g butter softened

140 g caster sugar

1 egg yolk lightly beaten

2 teasp vanilla extract

250 g plain flour

25 g cocoa powder

white chocolate for icing

Preheat oven to 190°C/ 170°C for a fan oven/375° F/ Gas Mark 5

Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper.

Put butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Sift flour and cocoa into the mixture. Mix until combined. Gather the mixture up with your hands and divide it into two. Flatten these, cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 or so minutes.

Remove dough from the fridge and roll between 2 sheets of baking paper. Cut out with fancy cutters. I always find the mixture warms up very quickly and then sticks to the cutters and pulls apart. At first I used quite small balls of dough and kept the rest in the fridge until I needed it. But then I had a stoke of  luck. Nearby, defrosting for the next day was a pyrex dish of stuffed chicken thighs which had a firm plastic lid. I found if I rolled my dough  and then left it for a few seconds on the top of this dish the cutters came away from the dough cleanly and the shape was near perfect. (Baking paper made ensured the dough did not make direct contact with the lid.)

Bake for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

When completely cool decorate with melted chocolate. You could gently melt about 80 g of white chocolate in a bowl over simmering water (making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and then fill a forcing bag with the chocolate – much of which tends to solidify in the nozzle in my experience. Or you could use one of the useful  icing devices shown below. I’m sure purists would find the chocolate not of the best quality but I have to say, it tasted just fine. (Sainsbury’s is the only place I have ever seen these but you can probably get them online.)

Life saver icing pen with white chocolate

Life saver icing pen with white chocolate

Easter Day provided yet another surprise for we were not expecting the Boat Race. Surely the first time Easter day, British Summer Time and the Boat Race have fallen on the same day we all wondered? We used to live very near the river in Chiswick and were regular viewers from Chiswick Mall or from above Chiswick Steps (passing the church where Hogarth lies buried). Later as daughter No 1 rowed for Latymer Upper we migrated downstream to Latymer’s boathouse in Hammersmith which provided the best sort of spectating as we could enjoy the minute or so you could actually see the boats on the river and then turn round and watch the rest on the television and probably with a glass of something nice in your hand. Perfect. Daughter No 1 went on the row for Cambridge and only narrowly missed the Blue Boat. But those were the days when the Women’s Race took place on a different day and in a different place from the Men’s and when the boats  didn’t come equipped with PUMPS. Pity the grandson, with mum and dad and one set of grandparents (plus a great grandfather and great uncle) all at Cambridge and the other set of grandparents both at Oxford (plus an uncle who I’ve just remembered about). Who will he support?

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  1. Posted April 1, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    If the piratical behaviour is anything to go by, grandson will find his own way through that particular difficulty!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 1, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      In St Ives at the moment for a week’s holiday, awaiting the grandson and his handlers who come tomorrow. Tonight we are conserving our energy.

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