All the golden-wrapped chocolate bunnies going hippity-hoppity on the shop shelves for Easter also remind us that this is also the lunar year of the rabbit. Said to be a symbol of hope and quiet optimism the rabbit bodes well - Peter Rabbit was certainly always hopeful he wouldn’t be caught by Mr McGregor. It’s with this positive spirit that we plan to tackle the improbable problem of post-Easter leftover chocolate, to make the most of what we have in the kitchen, letting nothing go to waste. So, in the very unlikely event of having chocolate left over after Easter, here are some ideas of how to put it to good and varied use.
Chocolate brownies or leftover Easter egg chocolate fudge (see our recipe below) can make delicious gifts if popping by to a friend for a cuppa.
Like many of the best things in life, chocolate occupies a broad spectrum of flavour - from sweet to bitter, very dark (100% cacao!) to extreme milkiness depending on what it is mixed with. Some cultures have been using cacao beans in their rawest form in drinks and food for millennia. Chocolatiers have been pairing different textures and flavours with chocolate forever. Now an abundance in variety of flavours of bars is widely available. It proves how chocolate is a versatile ingredient that can go with almost anything - rhubarb, rose, violet, lavender, cardamom, orange, lime, berries, salt, chili, even whiskey and Guinness!
Don't hide the chocolate! Chocolate can have a place in every meal. Pictured: Sheepies and Lawn Light Blue Large Mugs.
With all this in mind, I can’t think of a meal where chocolate can’t find a place, can you? This is the key to using up surplus chocolate – spreading it out over different meals. Many European countries already have chocolate at breakfast covered – taken to an extreme level, I once lived with a student from France who used hot chocolate instead of milk with her morning (chocolate-flavoured) cereal. Too chocolatey to handle? Take it down a notch and mix in grated chocolate to porridge as it cooks, or, add the gratings as a garnish that will melt into the steaming oats – like Dutch hageslag (chocolate sprinkles) that melt into freshly–popped hot toast. You can grate chocolate eggshells, parts of a slab or bar, or even individual chocolates from a selection box. As an alternative to Spanish-style chocolate-covered churros, dip toast soldiers into an egg cup full of melted chocolate egg.
For lunch we can take inspiration from the ‘idea’ of pain au chocolate and plate up a no-nonsense and not unnutritious chocolate sandwich - I survived off them during my youthful travels. Broken up chunks of chocolate that’s not too bitter and not too sweet stuffed into a warm baguette is the best. If you’re feeling bold and also need to offset the chocolate with something vegetable it goes well with juicy grated beetroot, courgette/zucchini, carrot or slices of pear.
While dinner might seem a slightly trickier meal in which to incorporate chocolate, it’s ripe for invention. Chocolate, or rather the rawer form cacao, is a well-established ingredient in some global cuisines - namely spicy South American mole and chili sauces. It also features in drinks too. There’s room here to experiment with what you normally cook by adding some chocolate shavings to tomato and vegetable sauces and seeing what happens. Darker chocolate is preferable for dinner. It will add depth to flavour, richness to texture and that little something of umami that makes all the flavours interact and sing together.
Leftover Easter Egg Chocolate Fudge recipe
This is a super simple recipe to make so the kids can help. The third ingredient is very open, so you can swap in whatever you like or have to hand such as dried fruits or chopped nuts.400g solid chocolate (leftover Easter eggs) – broken up/chopped into smaller pieces
1 can condensed milk (397g)
150g mini (solid) chocolate eggs, dried fruit, nuts…
- Grease and line a standard size baking tray.
- Put the chocolate and condensed milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir over a low heat until the chocolate has melted and they have mixed together.
- Add two thirds of the eggs or other ingredients you’ve chosen – reserving the final third as a garnish – and combine.
- Pour your mixture into the baking tray and sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the top.
- Leave to cool to room temperature before refrigerating for 4 hours.
- Cut the slab of fudge into squares or rectangles and serve, or package up as presents.