First of all, I probably shouldn’t have volunteered myself for this assignment. I’m not what you would call a “a good baker.” I don’t “measure accurately” or “read recipes.” My modus operandi when it comes to cooking is to read a bunch of recipes, take the gist of what the recipes are trying to achieve, filter the things I like, then fiddle around. It (usually) works out when it comes to savory dishes. But the creativity and inventiveness that make me a once-in-a-while great cook and a tigress in the boudoir make me a less than stellar baker. At least the dogs are happy eating the rejects!
My opinion of myself is also sometimes skewed. I hold Pinterest solidly responsible for filling me with confidence and ideas I have no right to have. A few years ago I was trawling Pinterest for bunny ideas. Not too much appropriate for the Fatal Attraction joke I was devising, but some cute Easter ideas. These were filed away in the “might be useful one day” part of my brain that makes up far too much of my memory cache.
Open on present day and I am listening to myself say I had seen some cute ideas for Easter snacks that I would like to write about. Googling madly does not get me back to the things I half remember, but never fear gentle reader, for I am far, far too comfortable winging it in the kitchen.
First on the list: Chicks in baskets. Well the baskets are friggin’ impossible to make, so let’s go with nests. Little marzipan chicks in rice crispie nests. I’ll just roll out the paste, colour it, fashion it into recognizable shapes…No, not marzipan. I like Peeps. Yeah. Good ol’ 12 for a dollar marshmallow chicks. Peeps on a pile of rice crispies. Nailed it.
Secondly, I had seen an idea for candy carrots topping cupcakes baked in mini clay planters. I knew the cupcakes were beyond my means, but I can spoon yogurt into cups, no problem. I love Starburst candies too much to risk buying a whole bag just for the orange ones (because I would gobble the rest), but I found some orange Nibs that worked well. The little pots we planted them in were super cute, and no one criticized. Actually, possibly, nailed it!
Next on the menu, avocado bunnies. My friend’s dad had once served us shrimp salad in hollowed out avocados to which he had added eyes, ears and a nose. It was whimsy and grotesquerie in a salad. Shrimp salad guts? Gah. I decided to replicate it sans shrimp.
The two little girls at our party stood in front of my platter of avocado bunnies, arms crossed in solemn four and five year-old judgement.
“They don’t really look like bunnies. More like mice?” the first one offers.
“Or RATS!” laughs the second.
“No they don’t!” I protest (they totally do) “Look at their adorable bunny tails!”
The girls snicker and run away. I carry the platter out to the dining room where I have gathered my mom’s group for the tea party. My elder son assesses the bunny/mouse debacle. “They don’t even have whiskers.” He shakes his head slowly and walks away. His shame is palpable. Nailed it.
As is the case with most of my path to hell paving intentions, it started with a good idea. My take away from the experience could be summed up thusly:
The avocado bunnies were a bit of a flop. I used dried cranberries for the noses, dried bluberries for the eyes, cantaloupe ears and whipped cream tails. I tried to do cheese string whiskers, but they kept falling out so I ditched them.
As disconcerting as the shrimp stuffing was the first time I had the dish, it was nice to have the complementary texture and flavour. Were I to do the bunnies again, I would add it and use mayo for the tails. And cut the ears longer!
The carrots in the garden were well received…especially the carrots. I used lime yogurt (greened up a bit with food colouring) in plastic cups that I placed in little starter garden pots. The carrots were peach licorice cut into carrot shapes, and poked sprigs of parsley in the top with a toothpick. Fiddly, but worth it.
Lastly, the Peeps. My supermarket only had rice crispies in gigantic warehouse sized boxes so I subbed with a bag of organic puffed rice. I actually feel this might have been an happy accident because they turned out pretty delicious. I pressed the rice crispie treats into lined muffin tins to approximate nests and let the kids help by adding the Peeps.
Regardless of my missteps in the kitchen, I have patient and encouraging friends and when it comes to judgement from the preschool set, I’ve developed a pretty thick skin…I haven’t learned my lesson, I’m already searching out ideas for Canada Day.
If you’re looking for some Easter treats you may actually want to recreate, like this one:
Then you should definitely check out Lisa’s post on Easy Easter Treats because these coconut mini egg cupcake nests look super yummy!