April 1, 2015

A major part of many people’s Easter celebrations revolves around kids and candy. Children seek plastic eggs that are filled with candy while adults sneak the sugary items when the kiddos aren’t looking. Yes, you can hop to the store and grab a few bags of jelly beans and pastel chocolates, but wouldn’t it be way more fun to say you made the filling for the Easter baskets yourself?

Peanut butter eggs: Many of the candies eaten at this holiday come in egg shapes. A popular favorite is the foil-wrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg. These tasty treats are surprisingly easy to make at home. Cincy Shopper uses dark cocoa melting chips to create the perfect chocolate outside and Reese’s peanut butter for the inside. You can use chunky or creamy (and whatever brand you prefer), but the Reese’s one has the familiar texture found in the store-bought egg variety. You don’t even need to use the stove – just have a microwave and freezer on hand. Use parchment paper to easily transfer the peanut butter eggs and reduce mess. You’ll have your own eggs in less than half an hour!

Mint patties: The cool thing about mint patties is that they’re totally timeless. Everyone at your Easter gathering can enjoy them because they are gluten-free and can even be made vegan. Mom on Time Out uses blue, red, yellow and green food gels to color her pastel patties. You can make five dozen patties, enough to feed a good-sized group of candy-lovers, with her easy recipe. Simply mix the sugar and other ingredients together and then divide. Add coloring and shape the mix into balls. Here you can get creative and make little rabbits or Easter egg shapes, or simply press a fork into them for a lined look. Let the candies harden a bit for 24 hours before eating so they hold their form. You could also dip them in chocolate for the York peppermint patty taste.

Jello eggs: Kids aren’t always a big fan of deviled eggs. Something about the texture of the yolk and the taste of mustard are not often appreciated by the younger crowd. You can, however, make a kid-friendly version with Jello! Recipe By Photo’s version uses a gelatin mold that is shaped like eggs to create the outside of this treat. Use different colored mixes for a rainbow effect. Once the eggs have formed, cut them in half and use a spoon to remove a small portion for your yolk. Whipped cream or vanilla frosting make yolks. Lay the finished creations out on a plate and your guests will love this creative version of classic deviled eggs.

Peeps: An Easter basket tradition in many families includes little marshmallow chicks. Instead of buying a bunch this year, why not make Buttercream Blondie?’s recipe? You’ll need corn syrup, sugar, egg whites, vanilla extract and gelatin for the marshmallow bits. Choose food coloring in your favorite hues and you can even add fun sparkling sprinkles for an extra personal touch. If you want pastel chicks, be sure to add only a few drops of food coloring. A little goes a long way. The easy part of this recipe is making the marshmallow mix. The fun begins when you use a pastry bag or pipe to shape the little chickies. It can take some practice to get a shape similar to the name-brand kind, but don’t worry – no matter what they look like, these sugary sweets will be a hit.

Jelly beans: A colorful staple in many Easter baskets is a whole bunch of jelly beans. Many different brands create their own flavorful versions and you can too. You can even use booze and make special adult flavors for the older celebrants at your holiday get-together. This recipe posted by Susan Cutler requires exactly what you’d expect of the treat: cornstarch, food dye, gelatin, sugar and, of course, a candy thermometer. How will your beans get their shape? You’ll need a jelly bean mold. The flavoring for the beans comes from juice or cocktails, depending on what age group you are making them for. If you want to make multiple flavors, you can repeat the recipe with additional juice options. Citrus fruits like lemons, limes and grapefruit make for slightly sour versions. Cranberry, blueberry and apple are also delicious.