June 23rd, 2018

From Our Table: Cookies for Easter

By Medicine Hat News on April 11, 2017.

“Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, hippity hoppity Easter’s on its way!” Just three short sleeps until Good Friday and the beginning of Easter celebrations.

Believe it or not I still do Easter baskets for my four boys. I love all the holiday celebrations. I have decorations for all of them and thoroughly enjoy all the celebrations associated with the holidays. Time with family and friends, the fun and of course the delicious food.

I did an unofficial poll about Easter dinner and what most people cook for their main course. No. 3 was lamb, No. 2 was the traditional turkey with all the trimmings and No. 1 was baked ham with scalloped potatoes or another potato rendition.

Personally my family enjoys glazed ham done on the smoker. We cook it at a very low heat for a few hours and the outside gets crispy and delicious and the inside is mouthwatering moist and full of flavour. We also have scalloped potatoes and for some strange reason I just have to have corn with ham and scalloped potatoes. Just goes together like pizza and pickles — well that’s another of my must-have combos. If you think it sounds weird you’ve got to try it sometime.

Of course there are always a few special treats to enjoy at Easter too. A few years ago I put in a great recipe given to me by a fellow hockey mom, Lorelei Yanke, for a fun festive Easter cookie in the shape of a nest with little chocolate eggs in it. I couldn’t find that exact one but did find a couple different ones. This is such a fun idea to make at Easter. It’s also great to make with kids, especially the no bake cookies. Everyone will enjoy these eggsellent Easter cookies!

Have a wonderful Easter everyone!

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Easter egg nests

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla

6 cups sweetened or unsweetened long shredded coconut

1/2 cup coconut dyed green with a few drops of food colouring

Cadbury Easter eggs

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites with vanilla for 2-3 minutes then add sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Add coconut (unsweetened if you want your cookies not quite as sweet) and mix for 3-4 minutes.

Drop by Cookie scoop or use 2 tablespoons one to scrape cookie ‘batter’ off the other tablespoon into a mound onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Make a small indent on the top with the back of a teaspoon to form a ‘nest’. Sprinkle a bit of green coconut on the top.

Bake in preheated 325 F oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Can bake less for chewier gooier cookie or more for browner crispier cookie. It’s best to keep an eye on them as they brown fairly quickly.

Let cool a bit then carefully ‘lay’ 3 chocolate eggs into each nest. Let cool a few more minutes then transfer cookies to wire cooling rack.

Cocoa Easter nests – No Bake so perfect to make with kids!

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2cups quick-oats

1 1/4 cup chopped pretzels

1/8 tsp salt

Cadbury Easter eggs or egg shaped candy of choice

Note: These can make these gluten-free by using gluten-free pretzels and gluten free oats. Oats are naturally gluten free but most are made in facilities that also process flour.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add milk, sugar, and cocoa and stir to combine while bringing to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Add in peanut butter and vanilla, and stir until smooth. Stir in oats, chopped pretzels, and salt.

Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper and form into bird nest shapes. Press down the center with your thumb so there will be a place for the candies. Place egg candies in the center of the nests.

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