Easter: I think sunshine, yellow ribbons, bunnies, brunch and of course, I think chocolate. I wouldn’t dare show my ignorance of the religious aspects of this holiday by trying to reference them, but I will say this: Easter weekend is for feasting with friends and family and anything that encourages that kind of behaviour is worth honouring in my book. We are just beginning to enjoy the warming rays of spring sunshine and so an Easter weekend menu can be a lavish affair; showcasing the revitalization of fresh foods that begin to be on offer to us. Roast spring lamb with a watercress salad and mint coated new potatoes would make a glorious lunch, or lightly steamed asparagus, brushed with olive and oil and wrapped in fine, salty bacon is a glorious addition to a Sunday brunch. In fact, as I sit here now, with the sun streaming through my windows, falling in patches across my wooden floor and warming my toes like a blanket, I realise that the salad days are very nearly here again and it fills me with utter joy.
But, this is Easter, and Easter is all about the chocolate, or, to be more precise, all about the Easter Chocolate Muffins. These rather indulgent numbers are just what you would ask of a chocolate muffin: they are fat and round, belying the fluffy lightness of their interiors; their cocoa bean colour hinting at the sweet and powerful flavour contained in each bite. Truly, these are just the thing for a weekend; you can have them for afternoon tea, pudding or even for breakfast – it is Easter after all. Forget Easter eggs - however good quality - rustle some of these muffins up on weekend morning and not only will everyone around you love you for it, but your kitchen will smell like the kind of sweet scented, warmth of a fairy story. Magical.
EASTER CHOCOLATE MUFFINS
Makes 12 muffins or 6 extra large muffins
You will need 12 muffin cases for this recipe
200g/7oz golden caster sugar
120g/4oz butter replacement – Pure Sunflower Spread
4 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
2 eggs – 2 heaped tbsp Orgran egg replacer whisked together with 4 tbsp water
125ml/4floz rice milk
Preheat the oven to 150c (130c Fan). Add the flour, cocoa powder and caster sugar to a large mixing bowl and stir until combined. Cut the butter replacement into cubes and then add to the flour mixture. Rub together with your fingertips until you have a breadcrumb like consistency.
Pour over the egg replacer and rice milk and beat together until smooth and glossy. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, levelling the tops and leaving a little room at the top for each muffin to rise. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until risen and fragrant. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool before serving – if you can wait that long!
You can also find this recipe at Cybele Pascal's Allergen Free Cuisine