Tea Time Snacks
Mona With Spanish Hot Chocolate

In Catalunya, one of Spain's most delicious tea time snacks is called the Mona: A sweet bread that is fashioned into a ring and cooked with a whole egg baked into it.



Traditionally served at Easter, Mona is a huge family tradition. All over the region, kitchens waft the wonderful aroma of baking bread and the sound of laughter and families working together to make this unusual treat.

It is not too time consuming. A large part involves the proving of the dough. It is loads of fun to make the breads. My friends fill them with jam or chocolate spread – or another great Spanish delicacy – angel hair, which is a sort of marmalade.

Like all Catalan tea time snacks, the method relies on a good eye and cooking time is ‘when they are ready!”


Tea Time Snacks #1:
Mona

tea time snacks

This recipe makes enough for a whole family (about 15), so you may want to reduce ingredients, however they keep well in the freezer. This recipe is from my friend Cristina’s family.

Prep time: 20 minutes, then another 30 mins

Baking time: Approx 25 minutes (or until golden)

Equipment needed: Large mixing bowl (washing up bowl), smaller mixing bowl, wooden spoon, saucepan, scales, measuring jug, baking trays (greased), wooden board, rolling pin, basket and cloth

Ingredients

6 eggs (plus 2 more for the glaze)

500 ml of an infusion of star anise (make with boiling water and leave to cool a bit, strain out the star anise)

750 ml of warmed milk

250 ml olive oil

500g sugar

Grated peel of a lemon

75g yeast

2.5 kg flour

(Filling – Nutella, jam, marmalade, sprinkles to top them – or even cinnamon sugar, which is delicious)

How to make them

Step 1: Beat the eggs. Set aside.

Step 2: Into a washing up bowl, add the warm star anise infusion and the yeast and mix well.

Step 3: Then add the warm milk, the oil, the grated lemon peel and the sugar and stir in the beaten eggs.

Step 4: Using your hands (this is messy), gradually add the flour and work into a dough that doesn’t stick.

Step 5: Put the dough gently into a large container – I rest it on an old sheet and put in my laundry basket, wrap it up and put by the fire or a radiator to prove for at least an hour.

Step 6: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Step 7: Then when the dough has grown, cut off pieces the size of a large orange and roll out into long strips, about 30 cm long and 10 cm wide.

Step 8: Fill with the filling of your choice – or no filling at all and roll up like a sausage roll. Then make into a ring shape and join using the extra beaten egg. At this point you can push an egg into the dough (not really necessary as it is thrown away after!).

Step 9: Place into a greased baking tray, cover with egg wash and either cinnamon sugar or colored sprinkles and bake until golden.

This tea time snack is great served with traditional Spanish hot chocolate.


Tea Time Snacks #2:
Spanish Hot Chocolate

Prep time: 5 minutes

Equipment needed: Sturdy saucepan, wooden spoon

Ingredients

Family sized bar of good chocolate

500 ml cream

How to make it

Step 1: Heat the cream gently in the saucepan.

Step2: Add the chocolate, broken into tiny pieces.

Step 3: Stir until melted and mixed well.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

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