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Simnel Brownies - the goddess, the bird, the hare, and the egg!

Updated: May 28, 2020

By Lea Harris

thing about having a grown daughter who has Asperger’s is that she still has the enthusiasm of a child making the various holidays throughout the year fun. Easter is no exception. There is the same look of wonderment and glee as she discovers the eggs as when she was five or six. She’d ask if the Easter bunny had been and would rush into the garden hunting down the eggs.

Talking of the ovum dispensing rabbit had me think of its origins. Apparently, it hails from Germanic mythology. Ostara found a wounded bird and healed it by turning it into a hare, and it thanked the goddess by laying eggs.

I much prefer the ancient pagan festivals to the modern adaptations. To me they are more relatable to the seasons than the Christian versions. Besides, I’ rather like the more fanciful stories mainly because most are food-related and that suits me just fine.

Simnel Brownies

9oz dark chocolate, chopped

9oz unsalted butter, cubed

4 eggs

3oz caster sugar

3oz marzipan, grated

1tsp mixed spice

1tbspn cocoa powder

2½oz plain flour


  • Put chocolate and butter into a bowl, pop over a pan of simmering water, but don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.

  • Beat eggs in another bowl with the sugar until thick and pale, fold in the chocolate and grated marzipan.

  • Sift in the dry ingredients and fold through the wet.

  • Plop into a 9 inch square baking tin lined with parchment and throw into a preheated, oven 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Bake for about 20mins, it should wobble gently in the middle.

  • Cool in the tin and then put in the fridge to firm up.

  • Makes 9 large squares for greedy-guts or cut into 12 for a more dignified portion

Lea writes and is @BakersBunny on

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