Choco­lates and other sweets just in time for spring

Times-Record - - News - By MARIE SAV­AGE Food Colum­nist

The Easter sea­son is ex­cit­ing for kids since they are out of school and need some projects to do to stay oc­cu­pied. Dye­ing hard boiled eggs and dec­o­rat­ing with stick­ers and mark­ers are fun. Mak­ing flow­ers from tis­sue pa­per is also fun, as is drawing them on col­ored pa­per, cut­ting them out and stick­ing them on Pop­si­cle sticks to dec­o­rate the din­ner ta­ble. Maybe put a name on each flower for the din­ner guest. My fa­vorite project with the grand­chil­dren is to make cards from col­ored or white sheets of pa­per, dec­o­rate, write a mes­sage and send to our troops over­seas, our lo­cal po­lice and first re­spon­ders, the nurs­ing homes and shut-ins who would love a home­made card. Just a small piece of pa­per with a drawing can make some­one’s day and put a smile on a face.

An­other Easter tra­di­tion is mak­ing home­made Easter eggs. For many years I made choco­late­dipped peanut but­ter eggs. I would put names on them us­ing frost­ing and dec­o­rate with bun­nies and flow­ers. Make some Easter eggs and mem­o­ries this year with your chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

Peanut but­ter Easter eggs

In­gre­di­ents: One 16-oz. pack­age con­fec­tion­ers su­gar 1 cup creamy peanut but­ter 1/4 cup but­ter 1 tbsp. milk Eight 1-oz. squares semi-sweet choco­late 1 tbsp. short­en­ing In a mix­ing bowl, com­bine con­fec­tion­ers su­gar, peanut but­ter, milk and but­ter. Blend well. Shape mix­ture into a bunch of small eggs. Freeze eggs for about an hour. While the eggs are freez­ing, cut semi sweet choco­late into small pieces and place in top of dou­ble boiler with the short­en­ing. Melt over medium heat, stir­ring fre­quently un­til smooth. Stick a long-tined fork into top of each peanut but­ter egg, dip it in melted choco­late to cover and then drain on waxed pa­per. When the eggs are cooled and set, dec­o­rate them to your de­sire.

Choco­late-cov­ered eggs

This is a great recipe that you can add dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents to that will make four dif­fer­ent kinds of eggs, all yummy. In­gre­di­ents: 1/2 cup soft­ened but­ter 1 tsp. vanilla ex­tract One 8-oz. pack­age soft­ened cream cheese 2-1/2 lbs. con­fec­tion­ers su­gar 1 cup flaked co­conut 1 cup unsweet­ened co­coa pow­der 1 cup creamy peanut but­ter 2 cups semisweet choco­late pieces 1 tbsp. short­en­ing In a large bowl, mix the but­ter, vanilla and cream cheese. Stir in the con­fec­tion­ers su­gar to make a work­able dough; for best re­sults, use your hands. Di­vide the dough into four parts. Leave one of the parts plain. To the se­cond part mix in the peanut but­ter. Mix the co­conut into the third part and the co­coa pow­der into the last part. Roll each type of dough into egg shapes and place on a wax pa­per-lined cookie sheet. Re­frig­er­ate un­til hard, at least an hour. Melt the choco­late chips in a heat proof bowl over a pan of sim­mer­ing wa­ter. Stir oc­ca­sion­ally un­til smooth. If the choco­late seems to be too thick for coat­ing, stir in 1 tsp. of short­en­ing un­til it thins to your de­sired con­sis­tency. Dip the chilled eggs in the choco­late and re­turn to the waxed pa­per lined cookie sheet to set. Re­frig­er­ate for 30 min­utes to har­den. Then dec­o­rate as you wish.

It’s hard to be­lieve spring ar­rived yesterday, March 20, and Easter will ar­rive in 11 days, April 1.

En­joy mak­ing these candy eggs and next week we will cook our Easter din­ner for fam­ily and friends.

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