Tag Archives: Easter

Easter Basket Thumbprints

Easter Basket ThumbprintsIf you’re looking for something easy and adorable to contribute to this year’s Easter desserts spread, your search is over.Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket Thumbprints are just as festive as my Easter Egg Hunt Cake and only 1/4 of the work! Who can resist their pastel cuteness?! Not this lady.Easter Basket ThumbprintsThis recipe is simply an Eastered-up take on the Holiday Icing Thumbprints I posted last Christmas. They are meant to resemble little two-bite Easter baskets 🙂 Easter Basket ThumbprintsThey are simple to make, too. I don’t have children, but I definitely would have made these with my older kids back in my nanny days.Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket ThumbprintsThe sugar cookie dough bases are rolled in pastel sparkling sugar for color and texture (crispy edges!) before baking.Easter Basket ThumbprintsThen, immediately after baking, a well is pressed into the center of each cookie. These are the “thumbprints,” even though they’re made with the back of a 1/2 teaspoon. They’re filled with green icing…Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket Thumbprintsand topped with some coconut “Easter grass.”Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket ThumbprintsDot on a little extra icing and finish your cookies with a couple of Easter egg candies. I went with these candy-coated malted milk balls. Let’s not discuss how many I ate during this little photoshoot.Easter Basket ThumbprintsOr how many of these cheerful Easter Basket Thumbprints I ate in the days that followed.Easter Basket ThumbprintsNo regrets.Easter Basket Thumbprints

Easter Basket Thumbprints
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

Cookie Dough:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)

For Sugar Coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1-2 drops each pink, blue, and yellow food colorings (liquid or gel)

Coconut:
1 cup flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
3-5 drops green food coloring (preferably liquid)

Icing & Garnish:
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2-3 tablespoons (6-9 teaspoons) milk
2-3 drops green food coloring (liquid or gel)
1 package Easter egg candies (I like Whoppers Mini Robin Eggs)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the sugar coating. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar in each of 3 small bowls. Add 1 drop food coloring to each bowl (I used pink, blue, and yellow) and use a fork to stir in the color. If you use gel coloring, you may need a drop of water to ease the color onto the sugar. Add another drop of food coloring, if needed to reach desired color.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each into a ball. Roll balls in colored sugar before placing at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—this is okay.

Bake cookies 12-13 minutes. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer raw-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon into the centers again. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, coating, and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Dye the coconut. Place flaked coconut in a small bowl and add 3 drops green food coloring. Use a fork (or your fingers) to distribute the dye evenly. Add another drop or 2 of coloring, as needed to achieve desired color.

Make the icing. Place confectioners sugar in a small bowl. Stir 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons) of milk into each bowl. Add 2-3 drops green food coloring and whisk with a fork until combined. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icing is very thick, but pourable.

Transfer icing to a piping bag (or ziptop sandwich bag), twist it tight and snip off a very small corner. Fill wells in cookies as desired. Sprinkle/press on coconut.

Add a drop of icing to each cookie to adhere Easter egg candies.

Icing will set over time. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Place wax paper between layers for easiest storage.Easter Basket Thumbprints Easter Basket Thumbprints

Friday Favorites: Easter

Easter is just a couple of weeks away! I’ve got some festive new recipes coming up next week, but if you’re looking to plan ahead, why not try one of these treats from the archives?Friday Favorites: Easter
Hot Cross Buns

These are technically a Good Friday treat, but this blog has no feelings about liturgical specificity, okay? Okay. No matter when you choose to partake in Hot Cross Buns over the Easter weekend, you’re sure to love these spiced, iced, raisin-studded buns 💗 Friday Favorites: Easter
Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake is the queen of Easter desserts! Mine is made extra flavorful with the addition of dark brown sugar, along with the usual raisins, pecans, and spices. A thick coat of extra-fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting and classic piped carrots are the literal and figurative icing on the cake!Friday Favorites: Easter
Carrot Cake Blondies

All that said, not everyone loves the idea of making a layer cake over a busy holiday weekend. If that sounds like you, bake up a batch of Carrot Cake Blondies instead! They’re simple to make and have all the classic carrot cake flavor you love.Friday Favorites: Easter
Funfetti Petit Fours

Carrot Cake is great and all, but my family’s traditional Easter dessert is a big box of petit fours (miniature cakes covered with a thin layer of poured fondant) eaten late on Saturday night. I tried my hand at these confections last Easter, adding a fistful of rainbow sprinkles in the process, and I couldn’t be happier with the cheerful, delicious results.Friday Favorites: Easter
Easter Egg Hunt Cake

If you’re looking for a showstopping finish to your Easter lunch, look no further! Easter Egg Hunt Cake is a towering, coconut-covered vanilla cake that’s filled to the brim with your favorite colorful Easter egg candy. How cute is that?!Friday Favorites: EasterHave you made these or any of my other Easter recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Funfetti Petit Fours

Funfetti Petit FoursHave you ever had petit fours? They’re tiny cakes that are coated in sweet poured fondant—somehow the perfect combination of cuteness and class. They’re often seen at weddings, baby showers, and brunches. In my family, we like to eat them on Easter Even (aka Holy Saturday).
Funfetti Petit FoursGrowing up, we’d forego Easter morning Mass in favor of the Easter Vigil service the night before. While choosing this service did allow us to miss the crowd on Sunday morning, it began at 8:30pm and lasted more than two hours. Luckily, if you’re into liturgical pageantry, the Vigil starts with candles in the dark, ends in the light, and has all sorts of incense, bell ringing, beautiful music, and probably another ten things I’m forgetting. Forgive me—I’m a lapsed Episcopalian.
Funfetti Petit FoursOnce the service was over, we’d race home in my dad’s Cadillac, put on pajamas, and reach for the box of petit fours in the fridge. There are few pleasures greater than a cold late-night petit four from Blue Bonnet Bakery (the place with the gingerbread men and florentines). The dense cake was flavored with vanilla and almond, coated in a layer of poured fondant, and topped with a flourish of crusting buttercream. These once-yearly treats border on sickly-sweet, but my whole family loves them.Funfetti Petit FoursI haven’t been home for Easter in many years now, but I always try to have petit fours on Easter Even. I’ve tried them at a few places around Brooklyn, but most that I’ve found are layered with jam. They’re delicious, but not what I crave this time of year.
Funfetti Petit FoursI know my petit fours will never quite live up to the almond-scented Blue Bonnet Bakery version of my dreams, so I’ve decided not to try to recreate those, and instead to make a version that celebrates one of my favorite things: rainbow sprinkles! Funfetti Petit Fours, y’all. They’re a thing now.
Funfetti Petit FoursFunfetti Petit FoursI’m positively in love with this combination of buttery Funfetti cake, vanilla frosting, homemade poured fondant, and rainbow sprinkles. It’s like having everything I love (including nostalgia for my childhood) in one perfect 1 1/2-inch bite.
Funfetti Petit FoursFunfetti Petit FoursI should say that this recipe is very long, but not too terribly difficult. In fact, as it has no layering or filling, it’s one of the simpler petit fours recipes you’ll find. With the exception of coating the petit fours with poured fondant (easier than it sounds), it’s a lot like making a regular frosted cake. But again, there are a lot of parts, and you will need to use three pans and at least three bowls. It’s a lot for one baker—this might be the sort of recipe you make with a friend.Funfetti Petit FoursNo matter how (or with whom) you choose to address this recipe though, if you follow the directions, you will be rewarded with the sweetest, tiniest, happiest, most colorful petit fours you’ve ever seen ❤ Happy Easter, y’all!Funfetti Petit Fours

Funfetti Petit Fours
makes about 2.5-3 dozen 1 1/2-inch petit fours

Cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon imitation butter extract, optional
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup rainbow jimmies (not nonpareils)

Vanilla Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Poured Fondant:
1/3 cup hot tap water
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 lb. confectioners sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

For Decoration:
rainbow sprinkles (jimmies or nonpareils)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating completely after each addition. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1 cup of the buttermilk. Continue alternating until all ingredients are used and batter is just combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in jimmies. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 30-32 minutes, rotating back to front at the halfway point. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for fifteen minutes. Remove cake to a rack to cool completely.

Cake may be made up to a day in advance.

Place cake on a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to even out the top.

Line a jelly roll pan or quarter sheet pan with parchment. Place cake on prepared pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla. Add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.

Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with parchment and place a cooling rack over the top. Set aside.

Remove cake from freezer and return to cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice off crispy cake edges (about 1/4-inch on all sides). Slice cake into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Use an offset icing knife to crumb coat squares on top and 4 sides. Place on prepared rack/pan. Chill for 15-30 minutes.

Make poured fondant. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together hot water, light corn syrup, and vanilla.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Place white chocolate chips in the heatproof bowl. When water simmers, place bowl back over the water. Whisk until melted. Alternate adding confectioners sugar and liquid ingredients, whisking constantly until smooth. Whisk in salt. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes (it works best around 100F).

Remove cake squares from refrigerator. Working quickly, spoon poured fondant over the top and sides of each square. Use an offset icing knife to adjust sides as necessary. Top with another dot of poured fondant and more sprinkles. Re-warm poured fondant as needed.

Let poured fondant set for at least an hour. Serve.

Leftover petit fours will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

Funfetti Petit Fours

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns“Hot Cross Buns…Hot Cross Buns…”

I know the song, but I am not sure I had ever had one of the actual buns before last week. That seems fairly par for the course until you find out that I was raised by a fairly devout Episcopalian, and attended Episcopal church, school, and camp until I was well into my twenties. You’d think I would have had a hot cross bun sometime in all those Good Fridays.Hot Cross Buns

Alas, no soft cinnamon-raisin treats for me 😦 Well, I mean, until I started testing these last Friday 🙂 I’ve now made five batches of Hot Cross Buns and am definitely a fan of their soft, chewy texture and the touches of spice and fruit. Oh, and the icing. Of course, the icing!Hot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns go back centuries, with each of the main ingredients being a religious metaphor. Some even used to believe that these buns had healing powers. I don’t buy into any of that, but I will take any excuse to bake.

Hot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsMy Hot Cross Bun dough is made with both yeast and baking powder. Adding a leavener on top of the yeast may seem like overkill, but it makes the dough nice and puffy and ensures that the finished buns will be super soft. The dough comes together in about fifteen minutes. Once it’s been kneaded, it needs a ten minute rest.Hot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns

Next up, fold in the raisins and spices. Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness, scatter some warmly-spiced sugar and plump raisins over the top, and fold it in thirds. Repeat this twice before gathering the ends and placing the dough in an oiled bowl for an hour-long rise.Hot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns

When the hour is up, punch down the dough. Pull off golf ball-sized hunks and form them into boules by tucking under the scraggly ends. It’s okay if they’re not all perfect—my motor skills leave something to be desired, so mine are always a little, uh, rustic. After you’ve formed all the buns, give them another hour-long rise. This recipe isn’t quick, but I promise you that the results are worth the wait!Hot Cross BunsHot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns

After the second rise, give the buns a brush with an egg yolk glaze and pop them in the oven for twenty minutes. They’ll be glossy and golden when they’re done.Hot Cross Buns

Let the buns cool while you prepare a simple icing. It seems antithetical to cool something with “hot” in its name, but it’s mandatory if you want the icing to stick properly. If you want warm Hot Cross Buns, there are plenty of recipes online that involve crosses made out of flour paste that are put on before baking. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take icing over flour paste anytime.Hot Cross Buns

Once the buns are cool, pipe on the icing. This is the easiest piping you will ever do, I promise. Let the icing set for a few minutes before serving.Hot Cross BunsHot Cross Buns

Whether you’re a Hot Cross Bun connoisseur or this is your first time having one, you’ll love this take on the classic festive treat. They’re soft and buttery with the perfect amounts of warm spice and dried fruit, and the icing takes them from being everyday buns to a memorable yearly tradition. Make a batch to share this week!Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
makes 15 buns

1 cup raisins (or currants), not packed
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons orange zest, from about 1/2 medium orange
6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Glaze:
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk

Icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
5 teaspoons whole milk

Combine raisins and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 60-90 seconds, or until hot. Set aside to cool a bit while you prepare the dough.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour and bread flour. Whisk in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, allspice, orange zest, 3 tablespoons sugar, and salt. Add instant yeast and baking powder.

Combine whole milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Let sit, swirling occasionally, until hot to the touch (about 115F). Pour into dry ingredients and fold together with a silicone spatula. Fold in beaten eggs.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and cardamom. Drain water from raisins. Grease a medium mixing bowl with oil.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a long oval that is 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle with about 1/3 of the sugar mixture and about 1/3 of the raisins. Fold in thirds and turn 45 degrees. Re-roll and repeat sprinkling processes two more times. Tuck loose ends under to form a ball/boule shape. Place in oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour. Dough will be puffy, but may not fully double in size.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

When an hour is up, peel off plastic and punch down dough. Lightly grease your palms. Pull off pieces of dough that are slightly larger than a golf ball. Tuck loose ends under to shape into buns. Place 1-2 inches apart on prepared pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375F. Make glaze by whisking egg yolk and milk together in a small bowl.

Remove plastic wrap from pan. Gently brush glaze over buns. Bake 20-22 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Make icing. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar and milk until smooth. It should be very thick and pipeable. Transfer to a zip-top bag and snip off a very small corner. Pipe a simple cross onto each bun. Let icing set for about 15 minutes before serving. Icing will fully set after several hours.

Hot Cross Buns are best the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.

Hot Cross Buns

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Baked OatmealIt feels like I’m jumping the gun by posting a carrot cake-flavored recipe in the middle of March, just after the third nor’easter in twelve days, but Easter is on the early side this year, so I suppose I’m right on time.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealI get that Carrot Cake is popular around Easter because of the whole Easter Bunny/rabbits + carrots thing but, like, is there ever a bad time for carrot cake?!Carrot Cake Baked OatmealI think not. I could eat it any day, anytime, on a boat/plane/train/any other Seussical place without complaint. Except for the whole general health and well-being and needing bigger pants thing. But if those obstacles weren’t standing in my way, let me tell you, it’d be all carrot cake all the time. That and things made with malted milk powder.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealAs it stands though, I just bought a pair of Levi’s 501s that make me feel like a supermodel and I am trying to eat well (outside of the occasional pie, kolaches, and Oreo-stuffed treats—job hazards, you know). So, I made a little compromise and put all the flavors of carrot cake in a delicious and deliciously easy baked oatmeal that works just as well as a make-ahead weekday breakfast as is does as part of an Easter weekend brunch.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealCarrot Cake Baked OatmealThis Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal comes together quickly and easily, and has huge flavor thanks to warming spices, the classic additions of raisins and chopped pecans, and maple syrup.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealIt bakes up in just half an hour. You could certainly serve it on its own, but I like an extra drizzle of maple syrup, just for kicks. A dollop of yogurt couldn’t hurt either.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealAnother great thing about this breakfast? It’s high in protein, so you won’t be starving two hours after you’ve eaten. Oh, and if you use certified gluten-free oats, it’s gluten-free too 🙂 Yep. This is the sort of everyday indulgence I can get behind.Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
makes one 9-inch square pan

2/3 cup raisins, optional
1 cup water
2 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
2/3 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts), optional
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk of choice
1 1/2 cups grated carrots

For serving (optional):
pure maple syrup
plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish. Set aside.

Place raisins in a small bowl. Bring water to a boil and pour over raisins. Let sit while you prepare the oatmeal.

When oven is heated. Place oats and chopped pecans on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Let toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Pour into a medium-large mixing bowl and stir in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Mix in vanilla, maple syrup, melted butter, and milk. Pour over dry mixture and fold together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Fold in carrots. Drain raisins and mix them into the oatmeal.

Transfer oatmeal to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake uncovered for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes before serving with a drizzle of maple syrup and/or a dollop of yogurt, if desired. Oatmeal scoops best initially, but may be sliced after it cools.

Leftover baked oatmeal will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat individual portions before serving.

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal