Tuesday, March 31

5 Easter gifts for those who can't eat or like chocolate or just as an alternative to chocolate!

First of all, let me say I looove my chocolate but there are some out there for whatever reason can't or won't eat it... and let me say - there's nothing like variety so even if you can eat chocolate, you can mix it up a bit!  I don't like my kids having loads of chocolate either - and prefer to give them lasting gifts so here's some alternatives to food presents too...

Bunny Poop - jelly beans with printable topper
How adorable are these?  You can make them in bulk quite easily and hand them out at parties or at school.  Great alternative to chocolate overload.  In the link there's also a printable topper, taking the pain out of how to package them :)

Bunny Tails - Marshmallows with printable topper
If you have food colouring aversions these are perfect - or if you don't, mix it up with multi-coloured marshmallows - this also has free printable topper

Coloured Popcorn Carrots
These are so easy to make - and can be made in bulk.  Make it sweet or salty - your choice!

If you have little ones who love books, and even big ones, books are a lasting gift that can be set as an Easter Tradition.  Easter bunny loves good readers!

These are our Easter Tradition, as it's heading into winter, Flannelette or warm pyjamas for Easter are always a welcomed, practical gift.  These cute ones are from Target:

Here's some other ideas:
50 things to put inside plastic easter eggs
Easter egg coupons
Make your own Easter bunny crayons
Cookie Easter Baskets

Sunday, March 29

Choc-chip Cookie Slice!

These have literally been on my 'to bake list' for a year.  As much as I'm a fan of choc-chip cookies rolling many of them can get a bit on the tedius side and the number of batches in the oven can take forever.... so these are a great alternative for those with no time to lose!

I think these are great for school parties or 'take a plate' type deals.  I can also vouch these are perfect for freezing (already baked) in your freezer and reheat in bar style to serve with vanila icecream.

They don't need to be slices either - for our girls I did cut some into squares.

Makes 24 bars or 48 squares
300g butter at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
230g milk choc chips

Preheat oven to 190 degrees c
Grease a cookie baking tray generously with butter, ensuring you get into the corners and all the way up the edges and tops.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla extract.

Then add two cups of the flour with 1 tsp of baking powder and mix well.  Add final two cups of flour and baking powder until fully combined and then add 3/4 of your full packet of choc-chips and mix a final time until combined.

Spoon out onto the cookie sheet and press into the edges.  Make sure it's as evenly flat as possible.

Then sprinkle over the remaining 1/4 packet of your chocolate chips on top. Press them in slightly.

Bake on middle shelf for 25 minutes then sit out on a cooling tray (still in the cookie sheet for one hour.

Slice up and leave for another 30 minutes before moving the pieces to cool down on the cooling tray.

At this point, if you wanted to have some with icecream, I wouldn't only blame you, I'd join you.

These can be stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer.  Store in the fridge for 2 weeks or the freezer for 3 months.

Here's some othere choc-chip cookie recipes I love:

Necarine and lemon cake

This time of the year is great for a number of reasons... firstly the weather is cooling down and the days are gloriously sunny (mostly).  Secondly Easter is on it's way and there's time to slow down, have some time off and spend with the family.  Food-wise there's a the glut of the summer fruit available at good prices and the winter produce is starting to creep in and be more affordable.

I got 2 kilos of beautiful white necatarines this morning for $6 and although we'll enjoy eating them, I wanted to make a cake with them also.  This recipe came from epicurious but had cinnamon in it also... now it's never like me to omit cinnamon but today I did because these necarines were so delicious and I wanted them to be the star of the cake.

You can use plums or peaches, or even apple if you like but if you were going to use apples I would add the cinnamon, and it's just a teaspoon mixed with the sugar on top.

125g butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
3-4 nectarines, cut into 8ths
Sugar for top of cake (about 3 tb)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees c
Grease a 9 inch springform pan generously with butter

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy
Add egg one at a time then zest and lemon juice.  Mix well

Lastly add the self raising flour and mix for a minute until lovely and smooth.  At this point you want to eat it.  You're only human after all...

Spoon into your tin, I pile mine into the centre and smooth out to the edges.

Place your nectarines in any arrangement you like.  I've started from the edge in a circle and then the centre.

Sprinkle sugar evenly over the top.  Pop in the oven on the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 1 hour.

Test with a skewer and if it comes out clean, take out of the oven.  If it isn't clean, pop back in and check ever 5 minutes until it comes out clean.

Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before unlodging any sticky bits from the sides with a knife and then unlocking your springform to let the cake cool further.

Serve warm or cold - and enjoy!


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