A chocolatier’s DIY guide to Easter

Callebaut Chocolatier and Founder of Josophan’s Fine Chocolate’s Jodie Van Der VeldenForget big plastic boxes and cheap compound chocolate this Easter. There’s much more fun (and deliciousness) to be found if you grab some quality chocolate and make your own sweet treats for family and friends.

Award-winning chocolatier Jodie Van Der Velden, founder of Sydney’s Josophan’s Fine Chocolate, has given us five of her favourite Easter chocolate recipes, including caramelised white choc rocky road and her decadent dark chocolate cake with bunny ears, a gorgeous decorative addition to any Easter spread.

Our favourite is the peanut buttercream frosted cupcakes with bunny ears, combining two of life’s greatest pleasures – chocolate and peanut butter. Kids of all ages will love’m.

Jodie is a chocolatier working with the legendary Belgian chocolate maker Callebaut, and recommends using their chocolate in her recipes.

  1. Caramelised White Chocolate Rocky Road with Salted Popcorn

    1. white chocolate popcorn
    2. Ingredients

      500g white chocolate buttons (Jodie uses Callebaut white chocolate callets)
      150g vanilla marshmallows
      25g coconut flakes
      10g salted popcorn
      100g roasted macadamia nuts

    3.  Method

      Preheat oven to 110-120C.
      Place white chocolate on baking tray, and roast whilst stirring with spatula regularly. Ensure chocolate doesn’t burn on base, by stirring at regular intervals, approximately every 5 mins or so. Chocolate will be a little lumpy, continue to stir until chocolate is a light caramel colour. This may take around 30 mins, but simply judge by the desired colour, rather than specific time.
      Remove chocolate from oven when desired light caramel colour is reached, and simply keep stirring the chocolate, until the temperature is 30C.
      Combine chocolate with other ingredients, mix thoroughly and place on tray in fridge for 5-10 minutes until the chocolate is set. Keep sealed in airtight container, at cool room temperature.

  2. Dark Chocolate Cake with Bunny Ears

    1. Jodie Van Der Velden
    2. Ingredients

      For the cake…
      300g dark chocolate (Jodie uses Callebaut Dark Couverture Fairtrade Callets 54.5%)
      250g unsalted butter, chopped
      300g caster sugar
      6 large free range eggs, room temperature
      100g plain flour, sieved

      For the ganache topping…
      260g dark chocolate (Jodie uses Callebaut Dark Couverture Fairtrade Callets 54.5%)
      100g unsalted butter
      3 tbs thickened cream

    3. Method

      For the cake…
      Combine chocolate and butter in large microwave safe bowl, and melt on high heat, stirring every minute until melted (about 3 mins). Alternatively, melt the chocolate and butter in bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring.
      When completely melted, use a whisk to mix in sugar until combined.
      Add lightly beaten eggs until combined.
      Fold in flour.
      Portion cake mix into two 20cm round cake tins, greased and lined with baking paper on base.
      Bake at 160C until cooked (skewer comes out with some sticky crumbs on it when poked into centre, but is not liquid). This might take 45 mins to one hour (more or less, depending on your oven).
      Let the cakes cool in the tins.

      For the dark chocolate ganache topping…
      Heat chocolate, butter and cream together in microwave, or in bowl over simmering saucepan of water, stirring regularly.
      Let cool, giving a stir every few minutes, until ganache thickens enough to handle. Place some ganache on top of first cake, then place second cake on top, upside down so the base of the second cake becomes the top of the finished cake. Cover in remaining ganache, on top and sides, finishing with pallet knife.

      For the bunny ears…
      Thinly spread tempered chocolate on acetate (overhead projector plastic sheets or similar) using a pallet knife. Cut shaped ears from acetate.
      Shape if desired, by placing each  in slightly curved surface to set (like a bowl) and or curling over top of one ear before set and using sticky take to hold down folded section until it is holding its own shape.

  3. Peanut buttercream frosted cupcakes with bunny ears

    1. Jodie Van Der Velden
    2. Ingredients

    3. For the cake…
      300g dark chocolate (Jodie uses Callebaut Dark Couverture Fairtrade Callets 54.5%)
      250g unsalted butter, chopped
      300g caster sugar
      6 large free range eggs, room temperature
      100g plain flour, sieved
      For the frosting…
      375g unsalted butter
      375g smooth peanut butter
      2 tsp vanilla extract
      500g pure icing sugar, sieved
      ½ tsp sea salt flakes
    4. Method

      To make the cake….
      Combine chocolate and butter in large microwave safe bowl, and melt on high heat, stirring every minute until melted (around 3 mins). Another option is to melt the chocolate and butter in bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring.
      Use a whisk to add sugar to the completely melted chocolate butter mix. Whisk until combined.
      Add lightly beaten eggs until combined.
      Fold in flour.
      Portion cake mix into greased or patty cake paper lined cupcake tin.
      Bake at 170C, until cooked (skewer comes out with some sticky crumbs on it when poked into centre, but is not liquid). This might take around 1/2 hour or more or less, depending on your oven.
      Let cool in tin.
      For the peanut buttercream icing…
      Beat very softened (but not melted) butter briefly, until creamy. Add peanut butter and beat until combined and smooth. Add icing sugar 1⁄2 cup at a time, and beat well between each addition, to avoid graininess. Add sea salt flakes.
      Pipe using start nozzle on top of cooled cupcakes.
      Enjoy at room temperature, but keep in sealed airtight container in refrigerator.
      To make the bunny ears…
      Cut shaped ears from acetate (overhead projector plastic sheets or similar). Thinly spread tempered chocolate on acetate using pallet knife. Shape if desired, by placing ear in slightly curved surface to set (like a bowl) and or curling over top of one ear before set and using sticky take to hold down folded section until it is holding its own shape.
      NOTE: Add an extra flavour note to cupcakes by scooping a melon ball size section from cupcake before frosting, and fill with raspberry jam, or salted caramel! Yum!

  4. Chocolate pancakes with spiced maple syrup

    1. Chocolate pancakes by Jodie Van Der Velden
    2. Ingredients

      For the pancakes…
      145g (1 cup) SR flour (sifted)
      Pinch salt
      20g (1 tbs) caster sugar
      30g (2 tlsp) cocoa powder
      250g (1 cup) buttermilk
      1 free range egg
      40g melted butter
      25g finely grated dark bittersweet (Jodie uses Callebaut 54.5% bittersweet chocolate)
      Optional – I like to add another 100g of Callebaut chocolate buttons

    3. For the syrup…
      250ml maple syrup
      ½ tsp ginger (powdered)
      2 cinnamon sticks
      1/2 vanilla bean
      Tiny grating of nutmeg
    4.  Method

    5. For the syrup…
      Bring maple syrup to gentle simmer, remove from heat and add ginger, cinnamon, vanilla bean seeds scraped plus pod and a tiny grating of nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate over night for more intense flavour, or leave at room temperature and let infuse for 1 hr.
      Pass syrup through sieve and discard infusion ingredients.
    6. For the pancakes…
      Combine flour, salt, caster sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl.
      Combine buttermilk, egg and melted butter together, whisk until combined.
      Pour wet ingredients into the centre of the dry ingredients and whisk gently to combine, being careful not to overbeat or you’ll toughen the batter. When combined, stir in grated chocolate, and if you like, the extra chocolate buttons!)
      Pour desired amount (I use about 1/3 of a cup) into no stick frying pan and cook until bubbles appear, then flip and briefly cook the other side.
      Serve drowned in spiced syrup.
  5. Easter Gianduja, hazelnut, brownie & cocoa soil

    1. Jodie Van Der Velden
    2. Serves
    3. Ingredients

    4. For the hazelnut cocoa soil…
      35g cocoa powder
      85g hazelnut meal
      85g caster sugar
      50g plain flour
      40g unsalted butter (melted)
      Pinch of salt
    5. For the Gianduja mousse…
      425g Gianduja diced
      300g thickened cream
      300g lightly whipped cream
    6. For the chocolate brownie…
      Note: This recipe makes 1 x tray pan of brownies – scale down ingredients to reduce quantity if desired, but you may as well make tray of brownies and freeze left overs for another dessert – or enjoy as brownies.
      375g dark chocolate buttons
      375g unsalted butter (chopped)
      250g caster sugar
      100g brown sugar
      6 large eggs (free range always)
      1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
      250g plain flour
    7. For the caramelised hazelnuts…
      90g sugar
      1½ tbs water
      175g hazelnutsExtras…
      Block of gianduja to peel ribbons
      Gingerbread cookie to crumble on top (if desired)
      Easter eggs for decorations for top
    8.  Method

    9. Cocoa soil…
      Preheat oven to 175°C.
      Combine all dry ingredients, then add melted butter, and stir through.
      Place on lined baking tray, and bake 175C until not longer soggy, around 15 mins. Stir once or twice during cooking. Cool on tray.
    10. Brownies…
      Preheat oven to 180°C.
      Melt chocolate and butter together in microwave or in bowl over simmering pan of water.
      Add caster sugar and brown sugar, gently whisking til combined.
      Add eggs, lightly beaten, gently whisking til combined.
      Add vanilla.
      Fold through flour til combined.
      Pour into baking paper lined baking pan, (around 24cm x 35cm)
      Cook at 180C, for around 30 mins, or until top is starting to set, when a skewer is inserted into the middle, it comes out with sticky crumbs on it, not just liquid). Cool in pan.
    11. Caramelised hazelnuts…
      Heat water and sugar in a saucepan, over medium high heat, until dark amber colour, stirring only at start to combine sugar with liquid, then just letting the liquid bubble.
      Pour over hazelnuts, that have been spread over a baking tray that has been sprayed with neutral flavoured oil like canola oil.
      When set and cool, blend in food processor until fine crumbs are achieved.
    12. Gianduja mousse…
      Bring first quantity of thickened cream to boil, then pour over diced gianduja, and stir in spiral motion from centre of bowl to outside of bowl, then reverse motion and back to centre, until gianduja is melted.
      Repeat until creamy mixture is created with no lumps of gianduja. Cool slightly, to around 35C.
      Gently stir in lightly whipped cream.
      Pour into glasses, on top of soil.
    13. Gianduja ribbons…
      Using a vegetable peeler, drag along corners of block of gianduja to create thin ribbons.
    14. To assemble…
      Place cocoa soil in base of glass.
      Pour/pipe gianduja mousse over the soil.
      Place cubes of brownie onto the mousse, and press down into the mix.
      Refrigerate.
      When ready to serve, sprinkle caramelised hazelnut crumbs on the mousse and brownie, top with gianduja ribbons, and add Easter eggs.
      Crumble a little powdered gingerbread cookie (blend in food processor or crumble by hand) on top for some extra zing.
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A chocolatier’s DIY guide to Easter