Breads and Pastries perfect for Easter morning

Easter is approaching fast which means we need to dig out those aprons and get to work making a fantastic menu for brunch on Easter Sunday. Nothing quite screams Easter like some wonderful home made breads and pastries right out of the oven, you know to munch on while the kids are hunting for Easter eggs.

Here are some great and easy recipes to try out for Easter this year around.

Lemon-Thyme Biscuits: These biscuits have the perfect amount of spices and sweetness to go with your morning cup of coffee. The biscuit is lighter and softer then a scone but not too heavy where it will ruin your brunch.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons wheat germ

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, wheat germ, salt, lemon zest and thyme in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it is in pea-size pieces. Gently stir in the buttermilk with a wooden spoon until just moistened. The dough will be loose.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 3 to 5 times, just until it comes together. (Don’t over knead or the biscuits will be tough.) Roll out to 1/2 inch thick, then cut out biscuits using a floured 2-inch-round cutter. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more biscuits. Brush the tops with water and sprinkle lightly with salt and thyme.

Bake the biscuits until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Berry Scones with Orange-Honey Butter: When making these it may be hard to resist to urge to eat one fresh out of the oven. This sweet scone is perfect for Easter morning, especially with the special home made butter that goes with it.
Ingredients:
Butter:
1 quart heavy cream
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup honey
Pinch of salt
Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups fresh mixed berries
3/4 cup buttermilk
Instructions:
Butter:
In a food processor bowl add all the ingredients and turn on high. The liquid will slosh, whip and then separate after about 4 minutes. When the mixture separates, (these are the butter solids and buttermilk), stop processing and strain out the buttermilk – there will be just under a cup. Reserve the buttermilk to make the scones. Strain out the butter and squeeze dry. Work the butter a couple of times to bring it together to form a nice ball. Refrigerate butter until ready to use.

Scones:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a food processor bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cold butter cubes and pulse until you have the texture of coarse bread crumbs. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, then add 3/4 cup of buttermilk and stir to combine. As it comes together add berries and fold dough to incorporate berries but not break them up too much.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Using a pastry brush, paint the tops of each scone lightly with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until golden brown, and nice and puffy, about 17 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.

Serve warm with the Orange Honey Butter.

Hot Cross Buns: This is an Easter classic and pretty simple to make.

Ingredients:
Buns:
2 ounces fresh yeast
2 cups lukewarm milk
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 eggs
4 1/2 cups high-gluten flour
Spice mix
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
Glaze
Spice Mix:
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
Directions:
Buns:
Crumble the yeast into a large mixing bowl and add 1 cup of the warm milk (the milk should feel just warm to the touch but not hot). Using the dough hook attachment, gently mix together.

Add the honey, butter, 2 eggs, flour, spice mix, salt, and raisins. Start the mixer and gently pour in the remaining 1 cup of milk while mixing. The dough should come together as a soft ball after a few minutes of mixing. If it is too sticky add a few sprinkles of additional flour; if it is too hard add a few more drops of cold milk.

Turn this soft dough out directly onto a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until about doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When it has double in size, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half and each half in half, etc. until you have a dozen pieces. Shape these pieces into rounds with your hands. Place these rounds equally spaced apart on a floured piece of parchment on a sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until almost doubled in size. (If you press gently with your finger on a bun it should bounce back but your fingerprint should remain a bit.)

Beat the remaining egg with a fork in a small bowl. Very gently brush this mixture on each of the buns. Using a sharp knife cut a cross shape in the top of each bun. Besides being decorative this allows the bread to rise nicely as it bakes.

Bake in for about 15 minutes or until browned. Let cool.

When cool, ice each bun with the glaze in a cross shape, following your cuts and using your spatula to drizzle icing on.

Spice Mix:
Mix together all the spices.
Glaze:

Put the sugar in a large bowl with the milk. Work the sugar and milk together until combined, adding additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time, until you have a nice smooth thick glaze.

These are just a few simple recipes to get a jump start on your Easter celebrations. Keep checking back for more fun and easy Easter recipes to help make your Easter a spicy and tasty one.

**All recipes provided by the Food Network
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