A little chocolate thrown in

Chocolate easter bark. Photo: Emma Willetts
Chocolate easter bark. Photo: Emma Willetts

It is easy to like Easter. Hot cross buns, a long weekend, chocolate eggs and a story that resonates through the ages.

Despite the sanctity of the occasion, it can feel a little commercialised.

Sometimes the best way to take the power back and make that little bit of magic happen is to simply pause from the rush of life, reflect for a moment and make some homemade treats to share.

My kind of therapy.

Chocolate and Easter is pretty much a given, so go with the flow and my Chocolate Easter Bark will tick all the boxes.

Chocolate Easter buns, you say? No problem. Easy and delicious, what more could you want - a simple adaption of our focaccia dough and you will never buy hot cross buns again.

Hazelnut chocolate meringues are hard to resist, a great tin filler and also a fun way for the kids to practice their piping skills. Sticky fingers are guaranteed and getting to lick the bowl and spatula is compensation for services rendered.

Tartufo, or chocolate covered ice cream balls, are sure to be a hit!

Dip balls of ice cream (we chose plum), in melted chocolate, freeze ahead of time and simply hand around as you would chocolates. Kids of all ages will go bananas.

The rest of the holiday weekend is up to you, but the older I get, I’m finding that some of the best things in life happen when time is spent in good company, a surprise or two is thrown in and, of course, a little chocolate for good measure.

Happy Easter.

Chocolate easter bark

MAKES A 30cm x 20cm SHEET

500g dark chocolate, buttons or chopped, 53% or higher cocoa solids
1/2 cup mixed peel
1/2 cup raisins chopped
1/2 cup roasted natural almonds, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Place chocolate in a bowl and melt over a pot of simmering water, ensuring the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Place a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. Mix together the fruit, almonds and spices and scatter half of the mixture over the tray.

Pour melted chocolate over top and spread thinly with a spatula or spoon. Sprinkle the remaining mixture over the top and allow to set in a cool space.

Once firm, the bark can be easily cut into shapes or bars or simply broken into pieces.

Store in an airtight container until ready to wrap or serve. Keeps for several weeks.


Chocolate Easter buns. Photo: Emma Willetts
Chocolate Easter buns. Photo: Emma Willetts
Chocolate Easter buns


800g plain flour
10g dried yeast
15g salt
550g tepid water
1/2 cup mixed peel
1/2 cup chocolate buttons
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
50ml olive oil
1/2 cup plain flour (for crosses)
3/4 cup bun glaze (see below)

Place all ingredients in a mixing machine bowl, except the flour (for the crosses) and the bun glaze, and mix on low for 25 minutes using a dough hook.

Turn out into a large bowl, greased with a little olive oil or baking spray. Spray or oil the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size.

Turn dough out on a clean bench top and divide into 24 or 12 equal pieces depending on what size buns you prefer.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on a baking paper-lined oven tray with 1cm of space between each bun.

Cover buns with a tea towel, return to a warm place and allow to prove for a further 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

To make hot cross bun crosses, mix half a cup of flour with a little water to make a thick paste. Place in a piping bag and pipe a thin cross on each bun.

Place in oven at 230degC and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and brush with bun glaze and allow to cool before serving.

Bun glaze


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Place sugar and water into a small pot. Bring to the boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before using.

Chocolate hazelnut meringues. Photo: Emma Willetts
Chocolate hazelnut meringues. Photo: Emma Willetts

Chocolate hazelnut meringues

250g egg whites
500g caster sugar
2 tsp Dutch cocoa
1/2 cup crushed hazelnuts
200g dark chocolate, buttons or chopped
125ml cream
icing sugar and Dutch cocoa to dust

Heat oven to 100degC.

Whisk the egg whites to a soft peak in a mixing machine on two-thirds power before adding the sugar in three additions. Fold in the cocoa and hazelnuts.

Place the meringue mixture in a piping bag and pipe 25mm circles of meringue on two baking paper-lined oven trays.

Place in oven and cook for 1 hour before reducing the temperature to 80degC and leaving in the oven for a further hour before turning off the power and letting the meringues cool in the oven.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and stir in the cream until smooth and shiny to make a simple ganache.

Allow to cool before using a teaspoon to spoon a small amount of ganache on the bottom of half of the meringues.

Press the remaining meringue discs on the ganache to make a double-sided meringue kiss. Dust with a little icing sugar and Dutch cocoa, and serve or store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.   

Tartufo. Photo: Emma Willetts
Tartufo. Photo: Emma Willetts


2 litres ice cream of your choice
400g melted dark chocolate buttons

Place a baking paper-lined oven tray in the freezer for 10 minutes before starting to roll your ice cream.

Get a cup of boiling water ready and set to the side. Dip a teaspoon in the boiling water between each scoop and carefully roll your balls of ice cream as quickly as you can, so they don't melt and loose their shape.

Work with several trays if necessary and preferably leave the ice cream balls for several hours or even overnight to harden.

When ready to dip the ice cream, place a small bowl with the melted chocolate over a pot of hot water. You want the melted chocolate to be hot, so the excess can fall away quickly, leaving a thin shell of chocolate around the ice cream.

Using a fork, quickly dip one ball of ice cream at a time in the chocolate before removing it, shaking off the excess and placing on a wire cake-cooling rack.

Make as many as you can before the chocolate starts to lose its shininess.

Store in the freezer until ready to serve.

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