There are several different theories about why we eat chocolate eggs at Easter. In fact, this event has evolved into a celebration that combines lots of different elements of spring, Christianity and paganism – a moveable feast on every level! There are lots of traditional Easter recipes to look forward to at this time of the year, including hot cross buns and Simnel cake. But for many people, chocolate, in the form of an alluring egg, is the main attraction.
Our graphic designer Holly is renowned for baking in her spare time and she admits she’s a chocoholic! In fact, she loves devising new ways to incorporate it into mouth-watering desserts. We asked her to tell us more about the benefits of chocolate and read on to discover her favourite recipe for the Ultimate Filled Easter Eggs:
Our graphic designer Holly loves experimenting with different recipes – and she’s a huge fan of Easter and its associated chocolate eggs!
I love food and I love chocolate, so Easter is obviously one of my favourite holidays. And I think the reasons why we indulge in chocolate eggs at this time of year are super interesting, too. In the past, eggs weren’t eaten during Holy Week (the week before Easter). So any that were laid that week were saved and decorated, and given to children as gifts. Then, in the early 19th century, the tradition of giving (solid) chocolate Easter eggs began. It’s thought that the trend started in France and Germany, before making its way to the UK.
Fry’s is widely credited with creating England’s first chocolate egg, in 1873, although the company was quickly followed by Cadbury’s. Have you ever wondered why, even today, the shells of so many chocolate eggs feature that familiar ‘crocodile’ design? It was originally a clever way to hide any cracks or other imperfections. Genius!
Long before Easter chocolate existed, eggs were painted and decorated and given to children as gifts at this time of the year.
Lots of people see chocolate eggs as a guilty treat, but in moderation, chocolate is good for you. I comfort myself with this knowledge every year as Easter approaches – although I can’t promise my consumption is always that moderate! The right type of chocolate, in the right quantity, can boost your mood, lower stress, and even reduce your blood pressure. To maximise the benefits, however, you’ll need to choose versions with a high cocoa content – nothing less than 70%. This type of chocolate is usually lower in sugar and saturated fat. It tastes delicious, too!
Already feeling guilty at the prospect of your Easter chocolate consumption? Don’t! In moderation, dark versions especially have a lot of health benefits. They taste great, too.
Combining moreish mushrooms with a delicious dairy-free sauce, it’s warming, filling and takes just 20 minutes to make. Wilted baby leaves add extra vitamins – and a dash of colour. Choose a pasta variation that’s wide enough to ‘hold’ the sauce (I like pappardelle). Garnish with a drizzle of good-quality olive oil and lashings of freshly ground black pepper.
Eating chocolate eggs makes me feel happy – and not just because I enjoy the taste. There’s a scientific reason for mood-boosting benefits, especially when it comes to the dark version. This stimulates the production of endorphins like serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a compound that can also enhance happiness, boost energy levels, and is also considered to be a powerful aphrodisiac.
Unleash your imagination with my favourite Ultimate Filled Easter Eggs recipe. You can easily adapt it to include all your favourite ingredients. And I love the fact it takes just 30 minutes to prepare and serve!
With so many good reasons to eat chocolate, there’s no excuse not to indulge over Easter. I love experimenting with all sorts of different recipes featuring this key ingredient. But, time after time, I return to the masterpiece of the Ultimate Filled Easter Eggs. This is such a versatile recipe that can easily be adapted according to your personal preferences.
You can really let your imagination run wild with your choice of fillings. And because you use ready-made Easter egg shells for the base, it’s pretty speedy too. The prep time is just 15 minutes, plus 15-20 minutes for refrigeration.
Want to see how we created these indulgent filled Easter eggs? Click the video below.
My go-to chocolate eggs recipe can be made sweeter or more savoury, according to the toppings you use. Nuts are a great way to add some extra texture and crunch.
For eight single servings (or four greedier people!), you’ll need to choose four Easter eggs. Any type will do. Dark chocolate is better for you, but as this is a once-a-year treat, I sometimes use a combination of milk and white, too. I make two different fillings: a delicious ganache, and lemon & strawberry cheesecake.
The ganache filling is super simple. Just gently melt 200g of milk chocolate, then set aside to cool.
Then add 300ml of double cream, and beat with an electric whisk until the mixture is smooth. The lemon & strawberry cheesecake filling takes a little more effort, but it’s well worth it, I promise. In a bowl, mix together 250g mascarpone cheese, 300ml double cream, and 300g full fat cheese. Chop 300g fresh strawberries into small pieces, and add them to this mixture, plus the juice and grated rind of one lemon, and two vanilla pods. Fold everything gently but thoroughly.
Ta-dah! The finished article. I think both these fillings/toppings look amazing. Which one would you choose?
Next, halve your chocolate eggs, and fill the shells with your fillings. Refrigerate for around 15 minutes, so that they set slightly. Then decorate with your choice of toppings, and tuck in! Mini eggs, more fresh fruit and popcorn are three of my favourite toppings, but popping candy and pretzels work really well if you’re keen on a bit of crunch.
Bon appétit – and Happy Easter!
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