easter candy baskets

By Mary Heyl

Anyone with young children has probably been asked: Why does the Easter bunny bring eggs, even though bunnies don’t lay eggs? In many cultures around the world, the egg is a symbol of new life and rebirth. The traditional Christian celebration of Easter symbolizes the resurrection of Christ with the Easter egg: the hard shell represents the sealed Tomb of Christ and cracking the shell represents Christ’s resurrection. Historically, Christians would abstain from eating eggs and meat during Lent, and Easter was the first chance to eat them after 40 days. Even if you don’t plan on cracking a few hard boiled eggs this Easter, surely you will enjoy a candy egg or two. Why not give the Easter bunny a hand this year and make your own candy eggs?

Get started by making Crunchy Chocolate Eggs with Taste of Home’s easy test-kitchen verified recipe! In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 cup of packed brown sugar, 1 cup of light corn syrup and 1 cup of peanut butter (low fat variety is not recommended). Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in 2 cups of cornflakes, 2 cups of crisped rice cereal and ½ cup of finely chopped peanuts.

When the mixture is cool enough to handle, drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Form into egg shapes and refrigerate until firm. In the microwave, melt 3 ¾ cups of semisweet chocolate chips and 1 ½ teaspoons of shortening in a bowl; stir until smooth. Dip the eggs in the chocolate mixture; allow excess to drip off. Place the eggs on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Decorate with candy sprinkles and let stand until set. This recipe makes about 4 ½ dozen eggs to share…or eat!

So much Easter candy, so little time! Who can make it out of the grocery store without a few bags of pastel-colored chocolate candies or eggs? Put these candies and your imagination to good use with these easy edible Easter Egg nests! Find your favorite sugar cookie recipe or a pouch of sugar cookie mix and mix according to the recipe or package instructions while the oven is preheating. Shape the dough into 36 (1 ¼” ) balls or more and place in ungreased mini muffin cups.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown. Immediately, press an indentation into each with the end of a wooden spoon (not your thumb—cookies are hot!). Cool completely in the pan for about 30 minutes. Remove the cookies to a serving plate.

Make your own frosting or scoop some ready-made frosting into a plastic bag. Cut off the corner and squeeze about 2 teaspoons of frosting onto each cookie cup. Fill your mini baskets with whatever mini candies you like! Add a few drops of green food coloring to shredded coconut for Easter grass and fill with mini chocolate eggs, gummy worms, and more!

For many candy lovers, Easter isn’t complete

without peanut butter eggs! Why not make your own this year and enjoy to your heart’s content—this recipe makes more than 5 dozen eggs! In a mixing bowl, beat 1 package (8 oz) of softened cream cheese, ½ cup of softened butter, 1 jar (17.3 oz) of creamy peanut butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth. Beat in 1 package (2 pounds) of confectioners’ sugar. Form rounded tablespoonfuls into egg shapes and place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill for 30 minutes.

In a microwave-safe bowl or heavy saucepan, melt 6 cups (36 oz) of semisweet chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of shortening; stir until smooth. Dip the eggs until coated; place on waxed paper to harden. For more decorative eggs, place about ¼ cup of melted chocolate in a small plastic bag. Cut a hole in the corner and pipe chocolate over the tops of the eggs. Store the eggs in the refrigerator (if you can make them last that long!).