Paska – Ukrainian Easter Bread

As I mentioned in my “How to make Pysanky” blog post, my absolute favorite part of Easter – growing up – was Ukrainian Easter bread, called Paska. My grandmother’s neighbor would bake it every year and share it with us. After the egg hunt was over, I knew we’d be going to my grandmothers and this delicious, citrussy bread would be waiting for us. SO GOOD. It’s sweet, and almost like a cross between a cake and a bread, and she used to bake it in coffee cans. It’s traditionally served at Ukrainian Easter celebrations, and I think of it as a breakfast bread.

The memories of that bread were so vivid, when that Pysanky post brought them up, that I decided to get the recipe from my grandmother. It’s always interesting when you’re trying to get a recipe through a game of telephone – especially when the first two passes are through old ladies 🙂 As usual with my family, the recipe came as more of a formula – no instructions… and I adapted it a little (increased the flour, increased the zest, changed lard to butter, ditched the coffee can in favor of decorated style), figured out what the directions would be, and made it last night.

I had originally planned to make this as a blog entry only, pass the finished product off to my husband to share at work, and behave myself. Gluten allergy be damned, I dug into that sucker AS I was taking it out of the oven! Whatever fallout should happen as a result, it’ll be worth it!

I prefer this bread served warm, either fresh out of the oven or microwaved. It’s a very tender, moist bread, so be sure to keep it from drying out. Also, it makes a TON of bread, so be prepared to make some friends VERY happy. There seem to be some wildly different ideas of what Paska entails – many don’t have citrus, some have a frosting – but this is what I was raised on, and it won’t disappoint!

I’m thinking that this will make some AMAZING French toast this weekend. Oh yeah. With a little vanilla, orange zest, and a splash of OJ in the custard… MMMmmm…

Chocolate Zombie Easter Bunnies!

Last week, I was perusing my favorite online shop (Think Geek, of course!), when I happened upon a new offering of theirs: Chocolate Zombie Bunnies.

Chocolate. Zombie. Bunnies!

Seriously. click here to check them out.

They were out of stock, and I was still enjoying the memories of the fun evening I’d spend with my husband recently, creating easy Pysanky Easter eggs, and had an idea – we were going to make our own Chocolate Zombie Easter Bunnies, at home!

Seriously, this cost us under $20 for candy melts, molds, and everything. It’s something I enjoyed doing as a kid, and even made a great date night thing. Have fun with it!

Here’s how we did it:

What you need

Wilton Candy Melts*, variety of colors.
Candy melting plate (like this), optional
Small paint brushes
Bunny shaped candy molds*
Cups to hold melted candy

– Divide colored candy melts among cups – and/or melting plate, if using – following directions on the package.

– Use brush to paint colored details directly onto cavity of candy molds. If doing multiple layers, remember that the first color you put down will be the outermost color visible. Ie: paint the pupil first, THEN the rest of the eye:

– Allow each color of candy to harden before painting a different color on top of it:

– Once all of your detail work is finished and hardened, carefully pour your main color into the mold, filling to the edge. Place in the fridge or freezer until completely set.

– Once candy is set, remove from fridge and gently flex the mold to release your creation.

If using a 2 piece (3D) mold:

– Paint all details as noted above.

– For a hollow candy, fill one half of the mold. Attach the second half, secure with clips/clamps/elastic bands, and flip. Turn the mold several times, ensuring that the entire cavity is covered. Chill, release as described above.

– For a solid candy, fill both halves of the mold, carefully attach. Secure with clips (etc), chill thoroughly before releasing.

Yep, those are the basics for making any sort of candy mold creations. We’re not talking about “any sort” of candy creations though, we’re talking about Zombie Bunnies! Here are a few zombie-specific tips:

1. Red pupils. Yellow eyes. Oh yes!

2. We drew “stitches” with brown chocolate, let that dry, and then painted red candy “blood” around/dripping from them.

3. For a “Shaun of the Dead” style bunny, paint on a red tie. Allow that to dry before painting on a white “shirt” over that.

4. If doing a brown or green colored zombie bunny, draw on white fangs with red blood. Same goes for claws on the feet!

5. Take photos, and share them on our Facebook page!

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*Available at Joann’s, Michaels, cake decorating supply shops, and probably a lot of other places. Here are a few examples of the style of mold you want, available on Amazon: