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Monday, April 9, 2012

Our Mostly Homemade Easter…

This was one of the most fun and rewarding Easter's I have prepared for my family! Yes it was some extra work but so worth it and well received. I can not tell you how empowering it was last week to walk out of Target only having purchased Starburst jellybeans (with a coupon of course!) and 1 small toy for each child. (the books were purchased from the school book fair) As I looked at the people around me with carts full of pre-packaged treats I just smiled to myself and had faith that my plans would workout.

** Disclaimer... I have nothing against prepackaged treats! I believe in choice. I wanted to try something new. My kids are already hoping the "Easter bunny" will make/bring these awesome treats for them again next year :) What can I say... I'm a lucky wife and mom!

I Love Easter!

Here is the list of things we made...
  Family traditions…
  Hopping Bunny rolls
  Easter Bread
  Colored eggs. I tried the bake in the oven method and was not super happy with it.

New to us…
  Homemade “Cadbury” Crème eggs
  Reese’s eggs with milk, semi sweet and white chocolate
  "Solid" milk and white chocolate eggs with the kids initials on them. I poured my leftover dipping chocolate onto Parchment paper and formed an egg shape. Then made their initials with leftover chips. The Kids LOVED them :)

Breakfast menu...
Easter eggs! I tried the bake in the oven method and was not super happy with it.
Easter Bread,
Hopping bunny rolls
Home made pork sausage

The Recipes…
Homemade Cadbury Crème eggs… These are seriously good!
·         1/2 cup light corn syrup
·         1/4 cup butter, room temperature
·         3 cups confectioner’s powdered sugar (I used ½ organic only because I had it)
·         1 teaspoon vanilla (I used a clear variety)
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         yellow food coloring (I made mine a bit more orange to look like farm fresh eggs)
·         1 (12 ounce) bag milk chocolate chips

I followed the instructions here. Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs
These were pretty easy. Here are my tips and things I learned…
When rolling out centers of eggs it was very helpful to keep my hands dusted with powdered sugar. It was still sticky work but it helped. 
              *Side note I Love my Flour sugar shaker(s) yes plural, I have 4 of them and use them all! What do I have in them? Let me tell you…  cinnamon/sugar blend, flour, powdered sugar & one has baking soda (I use this for cleaning sticky pots/and and for stained counter tops).
Definitely use parchment paper.
I thinned my chocolate with a bit of coconut oil.
I had to do the dipping method since I do not have any molds. 
A small 2 Qt Crockpot works great as a double boiler to keep your chocolate warm.
Take your filling/insides out of the freezer in batches of 5-6.  They get soft quick and the harder they are when you dip them the better!
Let them sit on the counter to set up as long as you can. I rushed mine back into the freezer so the kids would not see them. When I took them out later they had a lot of condensation on them and remained a bit sticky.
Here are some of my production pictures...


I followed these instructions here. homemade peeps how to tutorial and recipe
 Homemade Peeps Recipe:
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cups cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
MY Tips...
You definitely need a thermometer that goes to 238 degrees. Mine only went to 220 and I think I over cooked my sugar mixture a bit. I also slightly over whipped my sugar mixture. These set up quick and can be a bit tricky. Here is another good tutorial and I may do it this way next time. I also overfilled my small piping bag. Lesson  learned! Here is how mine looked… 
 I decided toward the end when the marshmallow was setting up fast to make "Peep Nuggets" 
As for taste I liked the blue peeps better because I covered these with sugar I dyed. It is much finer than the store bought Pink colored sugar.

side note... if you let these sit out they will dry out and get stale to the point where they taste a bit like "Circus Peanuts" Candy

 Breakfast Sausage , I’m still perfecting my blend of spices but this is a pretty good start… 
1 lb. ground pork
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 Tbs. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbs. brown sugar *
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 Tbs. kosher salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Form into eight 2" wide, 1/2" thick patties
*Leave out the brown sugar and it will taste a lot like Jimmy Dean Breakfast sausage 

the bread recipes will be posted in a bit... :)

How was your weekend? Did you do or make anything special or new?

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