Add timely oomph to all your Easter favourites.

A long weekend is the perfect time for a bit of baking and for long lazy brunches. Easter has usually involved whichever friends are still around, and a long lazy brunch, especially on Easter Sunday. French toast is an old favourite, here given a slightly Easter twist with fruit toast. If you were feeling game, you could use hot cross buns instead - if you have any left over that is. These cookies have a smattering of chocolate caramel Easter eggs mixed in with the chocolate chunks. It adds a decadent twist to my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. Whether you're a chocoholic, or if you just feel like spending your long weekend in the kitchen, they're an easy treat and a great gift. The dough freezes well too - just roll into balls and keep in a snaplock bag. Cookies will then be just 10-12 minutes away.

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL EASTER COOKIES

125g softened butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp golden syrup or maple syrup
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped
6 small chocolate caramel easter eggs, chopped

Preheat oven to 180C. Using electric beaters, mix together the butter and sugar. Add the golden or maple syrup, milk and vanilla, and continue beating until well combined and slightly pale.

Sift over the flour and baking powder, then add the chocolate and the chopped Easter eggs. Mix together with a wooden spoon then your hands, to form a soft dough.

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Roll out balls of dough, a little smaller than a golf ball. Place on a greased oven tray and flatten with a fork or spoon. If you have time, refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes before baking.

Bake at 180C for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.

EASTER FRENCH TOAST

Photo / Doug Sherring
Photo / Doug Sherring

4 slices extra thick fruit toast
2 eggs
½ cup cream
Knob of butter

To serve:
½ cup cream, lightly whipped
2 passionfruit
Maple syrup

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and the cream until well combined. Heat the butter in a frying pan to medium heat.

Dip each piece of bread in the egg mixture until well soaked through.

Fry each piece of bread in the butter until golden and crisp. You should be able to do two at a time.

Serve with the lightly whipped cream, passionfruit and maple syrup.

HOW TO USE UP BANANAS

Bananas! They're of the most versatile fruits out there, and an amazing source of energy but if you're not in the habit of snacking on them, they're often left to languish in the fruit bowl. My grandmother and my mother were always fans of eating them spotty, but for others the thought of eating one ripe is not pleasant.

At this time of year, my favourite way to eat a banana is in an autumn fruit salad, alongside chopped pear, chopped orange, and if you fancy it, chopped feijoa or a little passionfruit. The other way I like them is cooked with a little liqueur, a little brown sugar and a smattering of coconut. Nothing adds flare to your brunch (or your pancakes) like a bit of flambe.

However, if you're beyond that and yours are rotting, get them to the freezer. Most importantly, peel before you freeze! This tip is crucial, to which any of us who have frantically tried to peel a frozen banana and received nothing but freezer-burnt fingers can attest. Remove the blackened skin, mash slightly, and either scoop into ice cube trays or keep in 1 cup portions in snap-lock bags. Banana bread (Nigella Lawson has a great recipe) smoothies (the perfect breakfast) or no-churn icecream (simply blend with a little honey or dark chocolate) await you.