Easter Sunday always involves plenty to eat, between the chocolate bunnies, colored eggs, Easter ham, and a plethora of delicious spring vegetables. But if you plan to have a houseful this Easter, don’t forget to provide some festive desserts, too. While you can never go wrong with classics like fresh-baked pie and hot cross buns, here are a few ideas that are as whimsical as they are delicious!
Gingerbread Easter Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Simple Cookie Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat each down to 1 1/2-inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least three hours. Preheat oven to 350° F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into festive Easter shapes (bunnies, chicks, eggs, flowers) with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
While the cookies are baking, combine all icing ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Scoop into a piping bag to draw designs on cookies. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When cool, frost the cookie edges with icing. Alternately, add food coloring to the icing and frost the entire cookie in the color of your choice. Use multiple colors if desired.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting:
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 18-oz. bag Cadbury Mini Eggs candies
Preheat oven to 350° F and line a muffin pan with pastel-colored cupcake wrappers. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture, about 1/3 cup at a time, alternating with about 1/4 of the milk, and beat well until combined. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Leave the oven on after removing the cupcakes.
While the cupcakes are baking, beat the cream cheese and butter together in a mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream. Beat in the salt, coconut flavoring, and vanilla extract and continue beating until the mixture is smooth and spreadable. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut. Spread the remaining coconut out on a baking sheet. Bake in the still hot oven, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool.
When the cupcakes are cool, spread a generous layer of frosting on each, then cover with toasted coconut. Place a divot in the center of each frosted cupcake and drop three Mini Eggs into each divot.
Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.