Homemade date nutella Easter eggs

chocolate eggs 1

Over the years, Easter has grown to be my favourite holiday. There is spring in the air, buds are bursting, the first spring produce are here, every thing is colourful and there is a tradition to eat a lot of chocolate. What could be better then that!
It feels as if the modern British Easter traditions are mainly about chocolate (fill me in if I am wrong). I have never seen so many different chocolate sweets as when I was in Manchester around Easter a couple of years ago. Chocolate bunnies, chickens and of course the chocolate eggs. How can there be so many version of chocolate eggs?! I am not complaining, I am just fascinated. Of course there is also the hot cross buns, which I adore, and the sinnel cake, which I am not a big fan of since I don’t like marzipan. The Easter lamb I attend to have my own vegetarian go at soon, so look out for that.
We have a lot of chocolate for Easter in Sweden as well, but the focus are more on sweets in general. Instead of Easter eggs made of chocolate we traditionally get these paper versions filled with assorted sweets, a little toy or money. Its a nice tradition that I still quite like. We also have the traditions of the kids dressing out as witches for maundy thursday, going from door to door handing out cards and expect sweets in return. A bit like our own Halloween.

My own version of Easter eggs is chocolaty, but they can still be said to be good for you. They contain no refined sugar and no fat except from the hazelnuts. It’s a chewy, rich nutella, with a hint of salt that makes it more exciting. If you like you can make them more decadent by dipping them in melted, dark chocolate. The batch is made in no time and with minimum work effort. So there is no excuse not to make them over and over again the next couple of days…

chocolate eggs 2

Home made date nutella chocolate eggs

Makes 8-10 eggs

1 decilitre hazelnuts

7-8 fresh dates

1 tbsp cacao

1 pinch of salt

For decoration:

Shredded coconut, cacao or chopped nuts.

Roast the hazelnuts in a dry pan. Let them cool and rub of as much of the peel that you can in a clean kitchen towel. Mix the hazelnuts finely in a blender. Soak the dates in water and rubb of the peel and take out the seed. While mixing, add the dates, the cacao and a small pinch of salt. Keep mixing for a few minutes. If the mixture doesn’t stick together, add a few drops of rapeseed or coconut oil.

Mould the nutella in to eggshaped balls. Roll them in shredded coconut, cacao or chopped hazelnut or other nuts. Chill or eat all at once.

chocolate eggs 3

 

 

Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack 1

When I lived in London I used to buy a flapjack at Holland & Barret almost every day on my lunch break. They were only a pound or so, and there were so many different kinds to choose from that I never got tierd of it.  After moving back to Sweden I forgot about them for some years, but recently they have been on my mind again. A flapjack is such a great snack! Crunchy and still soft, with that great oat flavour and the additional spices, chocolate or dried fruit to give it a bit more excitement. They might not be so healthy as we want to think, but they can easily be made with less sugar or with more natural sweeteners if one prefer. And it is really easy to make it vegan or gluten free, just use vegan butter and oats that are free of gluten.

For this Christmas season I have been experimenting with some traditional Swedish christmas flavours in my flapjacks. I made one that taste of “glögg” (mulled wine) and are planning a saffron one. But I think the one I like best so far is the gingerbread version, with some added pumpkin. The pumpkin gives it some floral and fruity flavours, that mixes up nicely with the warmth of spices like ginger, cinnamon and clove.

Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

(6 pieces)

50 grams butter

3 decilitre rolled oats

½ decilitre golden syrup

1 decilitre pumkin pure (the meat of about ¼ small pumpkin, boiled and mashed)

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

6-7 cloves

1 pinch of ground black pepper

(1 tsp black treacle or molasses)

Heat the oven to 200 C.

Melt the butter and let it brown a bit, until it smells slightly nutty. Let it cool for a moment.

Mix oats, syrup, pumpkin pure and spices. Add the butter and mix well until a sticky dough is formed.

Press the dough in to a tray in a 1 cm thick layer. Packing it tightly helps keeping the dough together during the baking.

Bake for 10- 15 minutes, until the surface feels crispy and has turned golden.

Let cool and cut into squares. Spread melted chocolate or any other preferred topping on the surface.

gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack 3

It feels as if flapjacks are the everyday snack for the brits. Not anything fancy, but still much loved. Not many contestants in the GBBO has been trying to impress Paul and Mary with flapjacks for example, although I was happy to see Howard have a go at it this season.

Trying to research the origin of the flapjack didn’t give me much, and no clues about where the name comes from. It seems to originate all the way back to the 17th century, but then it meant a flat tart or even pancake and is believed to come from the Middle East. Shakespeare speaks of flapjacks in his play Pericles, Prince of Tyre:

“Come, thou shant go home, and we’ll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo’er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome.”

I wonder if he preferred them with yoghurt or chocolate at the top?

1935 was the first time that the word flapjack meant a cake made out of oats (thank you Wikipedia).

If anyone has more information about the history of flapjacks please share it!

With this recipe I will for the first time take part of the Cooking with herbs blogchallenge at Lavender and Lovage, who this month has added christmas spices to the ingredient list.

Cooking with Herbs