I didn’t have as much time to make new Easter decorations as I wanted (I’m still in the middle of an embroidered cross and flowers piece I had hoped to finish by Easter), but I did what I could: egg decorating, candies, basket and cake!
- Shaving Cream Dyed Eggs. I wanted to try a new egg dying technique, and didn’t have much of a choice – egg dying kits haven’t been imported into Iraq yet… So I tried a method I’d heard of from some friends: spread out some shaving cream, swirl in some food coloring, and roll the eggs in the mixture. Let each egg sit for some seconds (I usually waited 30 seconds to be safe, but the colors set really quickly; 5-10 is probably enough). Wash off the shaving cream and, voilà! Enjoy your colored egg. If you have an artistic flourish when adding the food coloring, you can get a distinct marbled effect. I attempted, but there wasn’t a very clear difference between the shades… I’ll probably repeat this next year to fine tune the mixing of colors for different swirled effects…
- Easter candy! I know Easter is all about the Resurrection, but celebrating it without candy just wouldn’t be the same! The platters had peanut butter eggs, “birds’ nests” and chocolates filled with caramel and hazelnut crème (Nutella).
- The recipe I usually use for peanut butter cups or bars is a little too crumbly for molding the filling into eggs, so I tried this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker, with great results.
- There are many “birds’ nest” recipes floating around. Most use either chocolate and hard Chinese noodles, or chocolate and coconut. I use chocolate and coconut as the base, but add nuts and raisins to the mixture as well for added flavor. Melt the chocolate, mix everything in, place spoonfuls of it on to foil or wax paper and stick jellybeans or other small candies in the center, and you’re done!
- I didn’t have chocolate molds for the filled chocolates, so I used mini cup cake liners. One layer of chocolate, coating the bottom and sides, followed by a dab of filling and a top of chocolate is all it takes.
- It was my first try at making caramel filling from scratch. The first batch turned into tasteless nothingness, but a second try with a different recipe tasted delicious. I’ll definitely be making it again in the future, not just for chocolates, but also ice cream, pancakes and apple crisps!
- Easter baskets. I didn’t have time to make crocheted or woven Easter baskets, so I threw together paper ones at the last minute. I just used a basic paper box pattern to make a rectangle base, and cut the back of the basket taller than the front. I glued two baskets back-to-back to form a larger basket with two sections for different types of chocolate eggs (Iraq doesn’t have a special selection of candy for Easter, but it does carry some good chocolates that almost look like Easter eggs…). I liked the look of the paper baskets, but the sides drooped after I put filled them with eggs, so I’ll probably look for something else next year…
- Easter cake – I was trying to make it look like a bird’s nest, but the top of the cake was too rounded for me to build the frosting up for the sides of the nest. I should have hollowed out the center of the top layer, but didn’t think of it until it was too late. It tasted great, though! I found this frosting recipe a few months ago, and it has become our family favorite – smooth, creamy, flavorful, but and not as heavy or sweet as frostings that have powdered sugar as their base. Who would have thought that flour was the secret?
After a lot of work, with a few failures, but mostly successes, we had a nice spread of treats to bring in the Easter season. Now I’m blog hopping to see what great ideas other people came up with and start planning for next year!