Since I am traveling so much these days I was anxious to get this Easter post prepped well ahead of time. As in the very day after Valentine's Day I was already shopping at Walmart for my Easter supplies and wondering why they weren't done stocking yet! Lol. As I checked out, an employee made friendly conversation, talking about how as he's gotten older he doesn't celebrate Easter anymore (he was college-age) and feels like it's for kids. I nodded agreeably and didn't say much, as I was in a hurry, but in my head I disagreed!
I've always loved Easter. Not only because it's around my birthday, but also because it feels like the beginning of Spring and it's just a lovely holiday to me. When hubby and I first got married we made secret baskets for each other, trying to guess what the other would like. I think I recall him filling mine with Hello Kitty themed candies and 95% chocolate haha. He knows me well. Another year we decorated Easter eggs and he used a wax crayon to write "poop" on one and then dyed it brown. I think most boys stop maturing around age 12 ;) Either way, I definitely don't agree that Easter is only for kids, and I adore celebrating it.
Today my post is inspired by a group of young ladies who I teach. It's a small group, and I love to bring them homemade treats or treats from my travels, and we sit and discuss our lesson of the day while snacking. It's definitely not realistic to buy them each a huge Easter basket, and I highly doubt their parents would like that unless they're filled with vegetables and floss (lame), but cute little mini baskets filled with a few choice treats? That just might work.
My choice treats are M&M's® Easter Sundae, Starburst® Original and Strawberry Jellybeans, a DOVE® Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny which is too cute not to buy, but too huge to eat alone, and my Easter Surprise Cookies. The cookies are exactly what you see: sugar cookies filled with M&M's®. They were fun to make, and I was quite pleased with how they turned out. Recipe for them below, as well as a quick tutorial on these mini flower baskets.
Other great basket fillers: I got the 12 oz DOVE® Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny, but they have a 4.5 oz DOVE® Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny too. This 23.5 oz bag of Easter Mixed Brand Chocolates I used is perfect also, but unfortunately my bag is already half gone...oops. And there is also the pretty Easter M&M's® Milk Chocolate.
*Tips on the recipe: I used a doughnut hole pan and medium biscuit cutter to make the cookies, which worked marvelously. A brownie pop pan or anything at all similar will work just as well. Also, I decided that the pink color dough worked best because the golden brown that comes from baking is not so noticeable. And along those lines, I found that decorating the cookies with lines that are close together was much more attractive than having large open spaces (again, it appears more pink rather than golden brown and hides small blemishes).
So. What Easter traditions do you guys have? Share them with me!
Check out more Easter tutorials and recipes HERE. And before you go shopping, make sure you clip some of these Easter candy coupons HERE. You can save $1.00 on any TWO (2) M&M's® bags, DOVE® eggs (8 oz or larger), SNICKERS® or TWIX® Easter Minis (11 oz or larger).
Easter Surprise Cookies
Makes about 20
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp milk
- M&M's® Easter Sundae
- red food coloring
- 3-3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 6 Tbsp milk
- 2 Tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tsp extract
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and milk. Then add a few drops of red food coloring until you get a good pink color (make it more vibrant than you want because the dry ingredients will dull it). On low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Shape the dough into two discs, cover them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Heat oven to 375F.
Dust a clean surface with powdered sugar. Remove one disc from the fridge and roll it out to about 1/2cm thick. Use a medium biscuit cutter to cut out circles and gently press them into your doughnut hole pan. Bake for 7-9 minutes. The cookies will puff up a bit, so when you remove them, working quickly while they're still warm, use the handle of a small spoon or similar to gently push the dough back so that they're hollow in the middle. Cool on a rack and repeat for the rest of the dough. Let cool completely.
The edges of your half-circle cookies will be jagged, so use a grater to file down the bottoms of the cookies to make them flat. Set aside.
Make the icing by mixing together all of the ingredients. Fill a pastry bag mounted with a small round tip.
Take two cookies and see how many M&M's® you can fit between them. Set the M&M's® aside, and pipe a layer of icing on the edge of one cookie (see photos below). Refill with the M&M's® and attach the other cookie over top. Set aside to dry. Repeat for remaining cookies.
Once the icing has dried and the cookies are well-attached, decorate one side of each like an Easter egg. Use an old egg carton to let them dry.
*Sugar cookie recipe adapted from Alton.
Mini Flower Baskets
What You Need:
- 6 mini baskets
- 4 bunches of artificial baby's breath
- glue gun
Cut off the baby's breath flowers just under the petals. Use a glue gun to glue them close together in a row across the top of each basket. And voila! Just fill with plastic eggs full of your favorite treats and Easter surprise cookies.