Do you know, over ninety million, 90,000,000 chocolate Easter eggs are sold in the UK? Every year they become more fantastical, complicated unusual – and sometimes quite weird!
The idea of giving or eating eggs at Easter is an ancient one, and probably was a pre-Christian spring-time tradition before that. The idea of decorating eggs goes back to the earliest times of mankind – back 60,000 years so it must be an idea which is almost built into us! It’s thought that commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by giving eggs arose early in Christian history, the eggs would have been stained or painted red – and I seem to have some memory of going to a Greek church at Easter and receiving a red egg.
About three hundred years ago egg gifts were becoming more interesting – not just stained or painted shells, but shells with design on, or empty shells with a gift inside, or a pretended shell made from paper with a little something inside it. In Germany solid chocolate eggs were made and given as gifts, but it was in the last part of the nineteenth century, right near to where I am now, in Bristol, that the firm of J.S. Fry (taken over from his parents company by the Quaker Joseph Storrs Fry in 1795) began to make hollow chocolate Easter eggs. And the rest… as we know and love, is history!
So it’s Easter and today I made a chocolate brownie cake with concealed mini-eggs, Smarties, and halves of Cadbury’s creme eggs (why were originally Fry’s creme eggs). Just before it finished cooking I pressed some Galaxy golden eggs into the top… and it does look jolly splendid!
The recipe I used is my son’s:
RORY’S CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
- 4 oz butter
- 7 oz caster sugar
- 3 oz dark muscavado or similar brown sugar
- 5 oz dark chocolate
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 eggs,beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 oz plain flour
- 2 tbsps cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- gently melt butter, caster sugar, brown sugar, dark chocolate and syrup together
- let the mixture cool slightly
- beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, slowly at first but then to make sure they are completely mixed in
- fold in the sifted flour, cocoa powder and baking powder
- pour into a lined baking tin and cook 20-25 mins at 170º C, 325º F, gas mark 3, until still gooey but cooked
Here is an interesting link to an article about the history of chocolate Easter eggs:
PS… the cake was as squidgy and delicious as you might imagine – I don’t often boast about my cooking even when I’m pleased with it… but I’m having a bit of a boast now!!