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For Goodies in the Easter Baskets, Try Sweet Treats Made at Home

March 31, 1985

Since candy is an anticipated Easter gift, it's likely that we cannot talk the Easter bunny out of bringing the sweet treats again this year. But at least we can feel better about what goes into our children's baskets by making the goodies at home. Here are some recipes for chocolate confections to fill your children's Easter baskets on Easter Sunday.

The secret ingredient to the Easter egg-shaped bonbons is a moist and tangy pitted dried plum--a prune. Stuff the prune with walnut pieces, candied orange peel or ginger, small jelly beans or candied violets, then dip in white or dark chocolate. Decorate the bonbons with chocolate sprinkles or silver dragees for pretty presentation.

Quick and Easy

Chocolate Marron Bunnies is another quick and simple Easter basket treat that features a paste made up of chestnut puree, flaked coconut, chocolate syrup, vanilla, sugar and graham cracker crumbs rolled into balls for each bunny's body. Cat's tongue cookies create adorable ears, and marshmallows make attractive eyes, noses and tails. To complete the plump little critters, tiny strips of angelica can be used for whiskers. Keep in mind that any oval-shape butter cookie can be substituted for the cat's tongue cookies.

Rounding out the suggestions for Easter confections is Milk Chocolate Easter Eggs, made simply by pouring melted milk chocolate pieces into a plastic egg carton. When the chocolate is set, use packaged frosting to "glue" the egg halves together and decorate with your favorite holiday message for treats that taste as good as they look.

SWISS SUGAR PLUM BONBONS

6 ounces semisweet, milk or white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup pitted prunes

Walnut pieces, candied orange peel or ginger, candied violets, small jelly beans

Chocolate sprinkles or silver dragees

Melt chocolate in bowl set in pan of hot (not boiling) water over low heat. Stir occasionally until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Chocolate should be fluid but barely warm.

Make small hole in top of each prune and stuff with choice of fillings--walnut pieces, candied orange peel or ginger, small jelly beans or candied violets. Holding 1 prune at a time on fork, swirl in chocolate, drain excess and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Swirl tops with tip of fork or decorate with additional walnut pieces, candied orange peel or ginger, candied violets, small jelly beans or with chocolate sprinkles and silver dragees. Refrigerate until set. Makes 12 to 24 bonbons, depending upon size of prunes.

CHOCOLATE MARRON BUNNIES

2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans natural French marron (chestnut) puree

1 (3 1/2-ounce) package flaked coconut

1 (16-ounce) can chocolate syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 (1-pound) package powdered sugar

2 (1-pound) packages graham crackers, crushed

20 langues des chats (cat's tongue cookies)

Large marshmallows, angelica strips, Jordan almonds

Combine puree, coconut, syrup and vanilla in large bowl. Stir in powdered sugar and graham cracker crumbs and mix until thick. Knead several times to make large smooth ball. Cut off 1/3 of ball and cut into 20 pieces. Roll pieces into balls to shape heads of bunnies. Cut remaining 2/3 dough into 20 pieces and roll into balls to shape bodies. Place small balls on top of larger balls.

Break cat's tongue cookies in halves and press, rounded side up, at back of head to resemble ears. Press tiny pieces of marshmallow into head for eyes and nose. Place angelica strips at either side of nose to resemble whiskers. Place large marshmallow at back of bunny to make tail. Repeat for all bunnies. Place bunnies on serving platter or in individual baskets and surround with Jordan almonds. Makes 20 bunnies.

SOLID MILK CHOCOLATE EGGS

1 (11 1/2-ounce) package milk chocolate pieces

2 tablespoons shortening

1 empty plastic egg carton

Vanilla ready-to-spread frosting

Combine chocolate pieces and shortening in top of double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. Stir until morsels melt and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat but keep over hot water.

Pour into 12 individual cups in plastic egg carton. Chill 1 hour or until firm. Peel off egg carton. Seal 2 egg halves together with frosting to form whole egg. Decorate chocolate eggs with piped frosting, if desired. Makes 6 chocolate eggs.

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