Hot Cross Buns! (Yes, I chocolated these, you can go the traditional route!)

One of my favourite things about Easter was searching for treats with my sister. We established our own rules: no looking for eggs when you came out of your bedroom, you bee-line for the kitchen;  when the hunt was underway, you stick together, entering rooms and searching areas at the same time; no sampling the winnings during the hunt; when we finally felt like everything was found (to the best of our hunting abilities… apparently we often missed ones, much to the joy of our parents) we counted every last egg, bunny, marshmallow figure, and split it evenly. We took this fairness in hunting very seriously. We were serious about splitsies.

Our awesome mom kept hiding chocolate for us every Easter, straight through our teens. When my sister (who is three years older than I) moved away for school at 18, I was worried that my hunting days were over. Fortunately, dad got on board for Easter egg hunting… fortunately may not be the best word. Dad was ruthless! He was not part of the very structured system that Kellie and I had established. He was a competitive, chocolate-crazed Easter monster! He snacked on the ones he spotted on his way out of bed in the morning, then we ran from room to room, dad shoved me out of the way, stole candy from my basket, and gorged himself throughout the hunt. I remember at the end of that first year of hunting with dad I was defeated and bewildered, and I came away with a very dismal haul. I tried to explain to dad the “proper” way to conduct yourself at Easter but it was clear, the rules had changed! The next year I was much more prepared. I scouted chocolates on the bookshelves in front of my bedroom, snagged a couple in the bathroom and was much more aggressive as we made our way around the house. We had a lot of fun.


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Hot Cross Cookies!

With the excitement of both Gen and my new jobs I’ve been kind of in a mental flurry. I feel like I should be preparing for my first day next week but have no idea how to do that! I have organized my pens, gathered my schedule books, bought some new clothes and shoes, and have tried a bunch of casual work makeup looks. I’ve also signed off a stack of forms, giggled like a schoolgirl, and baked a lot of cookies. A LOT of cookies. We’ve been sending batches to Hospice Vancouver and that last batch (Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies) was perfectly timed as that very morning they received $950,000 to complete their funding drive! Now they can get on track, become fully staffed, and fill out the programs that mean so much to families like mine. Today’s cookies went to Gen’s work, as it was his last day at IGA! He starts his new supervisor position today!

An Easter favourite of mine has always been hot cross buns. I remember back when my sister was a newspaper carrier she brought home a batch of homemade hot cross buns from her supervisor’s house. They were fluffy, lightly sweet, with amazing spices. I am not in anyway a fan of currants, so the traditional buns have always fallen short on my enjoyment scale, there is only so much eating around those that you can do. Then! THEN! I few Easters ago I came across Cobbs’ chocolate chip hot cross buns and I was hooked! Add chocolate to pretty much anything and I am on board, AND they didn’t use currants! For the one Easter that I lived across from Cobbs I made a point to pick up few dozen of these amazing buns and haven’t had them since!


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Challah (Easter Bread)- Updated with proper photos and recommendations!

Well I am loving bread making, but I’ve only made savoury breads (no complaints about this) and wanted to try my hand at something sweeter. I thought that an Easter Bread would be perfect after seeing them everywhere. I will admit that I am a novice at yeast breads and this one did not come together as attractively as I would’ve liked it to but it was delicious and I made some outrageously delicious french toast from it, so no problems here.

UPDATE: Check out the new process photos. I finally made a pillowy-perfect loaf. I am thrilled. And check out the Kale and Feta Braid I made from this lovely dough!

I am going to try another similar bread soon and see if I can get my kneading technique down. As you can see here and in the finished loaf, the crumb was small and it was not nearly stretchy enough for my tastes. I will figure it out, it is sure fun trying things!

Easter Bread


  • 3 3/4 – 4.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp active dried yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk, just warmed
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs sugar
  • 1/4  tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom (my favourite sweet spice right now)
  • 1 beaten egg, sprinkle of sugar


1. Lightly stir the yeast with the milk and a large pinch of sugar, leave until it starts to foam. Whisk the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl then stir in the cardamom.
2. Melt the butter and sugar together until the sugar has disolved (or mostly). Let cool.

Getting ready for the full combination.

3. Whisk the eggs in with the yeast mixture.
4. Add the melted butter mixture and the yeast mixture to the flour. Mix to combine, until a dough has formed that pulls away from the bowl.
5. Knead the dough vigorously for 8-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. The dough is ready when it feels soft, springy, and smooth and leaves a thumbprint when pressed.
4. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean, damp cloth and leave to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
5. Knock back the dough on a clean surface by punching the air out and kneading for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces then roll each piece into sausages. Braid the dough and tuck the ends underneath.
6. Lift the braided loaf onto a parchment covered baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth then leave to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
7. Heat oven to 350 F. Brush the loaf with the beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with white sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a rack before slicing.

The dough is cleaning the bowl. Huzzah! Success!!!

Smooth and elastic, finally some wonderful success!

Golden loaf.

Mmm delicious and ready for french toast.