Easter Bunny Paper Candy Pouches

It’s time to fill up those Easter Egg string baskets I made for the kiddos last year.  Since I’m sure they will be covered in the chocolate bunny category, I wanted to give them another bunny filled with jelly beans.  And the Easter bunny paper candy pouch idea was born.  

I saw the concept of sewn candy pouches around Christmas time through a pin from Peppermint Plum.  See, how cute at these?  

But I wanted to make it Easter special.  So I found an image of a bunny I liked and cut out two bunnies.  It’s best to do cut both at once so all the edges match up. 

Then stitch up those bunnies. 

I left a generous opening in the fluffy tail region so I could stuff the pouch with jelly beans. 

Make sure to work them into the ears and feet.  Then just stitch closed. 

I went with a light green thread to coordinate with Jack’s light green basket, but it does draw attention to the stitching!  So OCD folks, beware.

I needed a final touch to top off my bunny and decided a little pom pom yarn tail was just the ticket.  I used the fork technique to create my pom poms.  You can find a good example of this technique here

Just a little dab of hot glue to stick the tail and I was done!  Love my adorable bunny and I’ve enjoyed eating the extra jelly beans that I just couldn’t fit in the bunny…..

–Martta

Linking Up Here:

Top Posts of the Year

Happy Blog-iversary!  It’s hard to believe we’ve been up to it for a year already.  We’ve loved sharing our projects and culinary adventures with you.  But which ones have been the most interesting?  Well, as voted by you, with the most number of hits, here’s our top ten parade:

10. Fabric Flower Hair Clip

7. Little Girl’s Tank Dress

6. Amy Butler Cosmo Bag

And last, but not least, running away with the top prize is………….

1. Gold Dusted Mini Chocolate Oscar Statues 

 What will the next year on the blog bring?  Who knows?  But I can’t wait to find out!

— Martta & Heather

Jelly Bean Bark

Do you find yourself needing just one more thing for the Easter basket? May I suggest the sinfully delicious, and super simple jelly bean bark?

Last week when I was visiting Vancouver, I happened upon Purdy’s in Gastown. While they had an astounding assortment of their signature candy, the Vancouver Cream, it was the jelly bean bark that caught my eye – because it was something that I could actually make at home! They did it up with dark chocolate and traditional jelly beans, but after a season of chocolate s’mores and brownies, I was ready for a chocolate break. So I’ve picked white chocolate (which doesn’t actually contain any chocolate) and sour jelly beans. The super sweet white chocolate is wonderfully balanced with the sour jelly beans!

The ingredients for this project couldn’t be easier:

Nestle’s morsels
Jelly beans (or freestyle it with whatever Easter candy you have laying around!)

The key to a solid bark is weighing your chocolate. Here I’m using a 24 oz bag of white chocolate, so I’ve pulled out 3/4 of the chocolate (18 oz.) for melting.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between heating sessions. You want to heat the chocolate until it is just melted – in my microwave it took one minute 10 seconds. Once the chocolate is just melted, pour in the remaining chocolate. Stir for several minutes until all the chocolate is melted.

Once you have a smooth chocolate-y combination, pour out onto a prepared pan. I use my Silpat because it’s the easiest to clean up, but you can pour this on to any flat surface.

Spread the chocolate out and get the party started with your jelly beans.

Once you’ve added the jelly beans to the bark, be sure to gently press them into the soft chocolate. This will ensure your jelly beans remain intact when you break the bark apart.

Allow the chocolate to cool and set and get to breaking it into bite sizes.

This really makes a surprising amount of candy!

Free form is the fastest method, but if you happen to have some cookie cutters laying around…why not pour the chocolate into those too?

You can make adorable bunny chocolate jelly bean bark!

This entire project took about 30 minutes – with only about five minutes of actual work time. You’ve probably got the ingredients to make your own bark variation in your cupboard right now, so get to work! Happy Easter!!

–Martta

Brownie Bunny Sandwiches with Dark Chocolate Buttercream

I was in the mood to make an Easter treat to share with the office, but I didn’t want to do anything too complicated. So I broke out my Mom’s tried and true brownie recipe, whipped up a bit of butter cream and voila! Brownie bunny sandwiches with dark chocolate buttercream.

I generally use Wilton’s chocolate buttercream recipe.  To make a dark chocolate version, I just substituted dark chocolate cocoa.  And I might have substituted real cream rather than milk because that is what was in my fridge and I might have made it with just butter because I was also out of Crisco (WHAT?!).  So that’s practically my own recipe, but we’ll have to have a long conversation about buttercreams and icings another time – we’re making brownies now!

For Jane’s Old Fashioned Brownies, you’ll need the following:
Ingredients:
4 Eggs
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Melted Butter (That’s two sticks y’all – in my head I’m saying that in my Paula Dean accent)
4 Squares Baker’s Bitter Chocolate, Melted
1 Cup Chopped Nuts
1 Cup Cake Flour
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Not listed in my Mom’s ingredients, but she adds it every time: 1/4 Cup Nestle’s mini chocolate morsels

Ingredient Notes:

  • I generally use walnuts in this recipe, but you can easily substitute pecans or another nut
  • Cake flour?  I reserve it only for my cakes – this brownie turns out fabulous with AP flour
  • Not listing an ingredient is a hallmark of my mother’s recipes – I don’t think she does it to sabotage you, it just sort of happens that way
On to the cooking!  Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees because this isn’t going to take long! In a medium sauce pan over low heat, melt your butter and chocolate.  Ok, Ok, so that’s not Baker’s chocolate.  I was out (Gasp!  What is going on with my baking cupboards?!?  To the grocery store….but not tonight) so I substituted 4 oz of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate.  This was not enough chocolate, if you make this substitution be sure to add at least an extra two ounces of chocolate, if not four.  I compensated for the lack of chocolate-y goodness by making the dark chocolate buttercream for the sandwiches.  If you are making these brownies as a stand alone dessert either use the Baker’s chocolate or six to eight ounces of Ghirardelli.

In another bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until combined. You’ll have a yellow grain-y soup. Mmm, doesn’t that sound delicious?

Once the chocolate is completely melted, slowly mix it into the egg mixture. Whisk throughly until fully incorporated.

I hope you got all your stirring out of you in the last step because this step involves the minimal amount of stirring possible. Add the flour, nuts and mini morsels to the chocolate egg mixture. Stir only until the last bit of flour is gone. Sometimes my Mom even leaves a bit of flour in there. Over mixing at this stage will give you a tough brownie and all you really want in life is tender goodness.

As you can see, my Mom thinks I always over-mix, honestly, there’s some flour still in there! Pour the mixture out into a pre-greased pan. For regular brownies, that’s a 9×13, but for this application I went with a jelly roll pan.

Bake brownies for 30 to 35 minutes if you’re using a 9×13 pan, bake for 20-25 minutes if you’re using a jelly roll pan. Allow the pan to cool before slicing your brownies or you’ll end up with a gooey mess. Since it’s the Easter time of year, I’m using a bunny cutter to cut out bunnies.

And aren’t they adorable? Don’t forget to make bunnies that face both directions for proper sandwiching later. Since bunnies aren’t square there are all kinds of brownie scraps left. These are excellent over ice cream.

Whip up your favorite buttercream icing and get to sandwiching

Hi cutie!

A whole pile of bunny sandwich goodness.

I hope you enjoy!

–Martta

Easter Bunny S’mores – Williams Sonoma Knockoff

When I saw these in the Williams Sonoma catalog, I knew I had to have them.  But there is no way that I’m $25 plus outrageous Williams Sonoma shipping to get them.  They are just graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow – I can make that!

So I scoured the web to find some recipes for graham crackers (Did you know you could DIY those?) and marshmallows.  I found a lovely write of of graham crackers at 101cookbooks.com and marshmallows at smittenkitchen.com.  So I set to work.  Surprisingly, I had almost all of these ingredients on hand, the only thing I had to buy was the bunny cookie cutter.

this graham cracker recipe makes a wonderfully tender dough.  It is a bit sticky, but not overly so.  Just have plenty of flour on hand for rolling it out.

I chilled according to directions and then rolled out and started with my bunnies.

Here are my crackers docked and covered with cinnamon sugar.  Yum!  If you choose not to dock your crackers, you will have a few puff ups here and there.  These crackers don’t spread too much so I actually ended up baking with 8 to a tray after this first batch.

OK, what are you the chilling police?  So I only chilled my crackers for 10-15 minutes rather than the 30-45 recommended.  Who has time for that kind of chilling!?  I also baked these on the center rack rather than rearranging my oven.  Here they are at 25 minutes….can you tell I was in the other room working on a blog post and didn’t smell them burning until there was smoke in my kitchen?  Hmmm, I recommend 10-12 minutes of baking time on these crackers.  You want them to be firm and not soft when they come out of the oven so you can get that great graham cracker crunch.  Don’t forget, half your bunnies need to face left and half your bunnies need to face right so they can pair up later….I didn’t think about this until about two batches of left facing bunnies had already been baked!

As you can see, I recovered from the burnt bunny incident to create a whole wonderful batch of crackers.  Gather up your chocolate, it’s time to take a dip! You can temper your own chocolate, but for me Wilton’s candy melts are just faster and my friends and family enjoy the taste.

I used a pie plate for my chocolate because there is plenty of room for the bunnies.  As I went on, I switched to a smaller bowl and just used my offset spatula to cover the graham crackers.  Send your bunny for a swim in chocolate.

As you can see, smoothing with the offset spatula gives is a “delightfully homemade” look rather than the smooth chocolate enrobing of WS.  After making a couple of batches of these, I’ve found it’s better to cover the back side of the cracker, let it set and then cover the front and sides.  You’ll end up with smoother coverage overall.  Don’t forget, half your bunnies need to face left and half your bunnies need to face right so they can pair up later.

On to the guts!  It’s time to make marshmallow.  I was a bit intimated by the the  notion of making marshmallows at first.  But after finding out how easy and delicious they are, I might never buy them from the store again.  To give you an idea of time commitment, I could match a batch of marshmallows and graham cracker dough in about an hour.  Not too bad really.  Again, I’ve got all these ingredients on hand in my house.

This is what happens when your camera gets to close to the steam when you are taking pictures of the candy thermometer.

I’m absolutely fascinated by the marshmallow process.  In minutes it goes from a liquid sugar mess to….

fluffy marshmallow goodness.

You’re not going to get it all out of the mixing bowl, don’t try.  But work quickly and you’ll get most of it into the pan.  Then enjoy quality control testing of the remainder.  Plus, since it’s mostly just sugar, it cleans up in a snap with a bit of water.

Mmm lovely pan of marshmallows, I must wait for you to chill.

Once set, you are going to have to persuade the marshmallow out of the pan.  Just go slow and be prepared to get your hand sticky.

Let the cutting begin.  Oil your cutter with canola oil before you get started and in between every bunny.  It make it easier to pop the marshmallow from the cutter.

Dust with a bit of extra sugar and shake in the pan to cover the edges.

Before marrying up with your chocolate covered graham crackers, dust off the extra sugar.

Add a bit of chocolate glue and make your sandwiches.

One left bunny and one right bunny later and….

Mmmm one giant bunny s’more!

But I didn’t stop there.  A lot of my taste testers said that there was just too much chocolate and it overwhelmed the graham cracker.  So I did a few where I only coated the backside with chocolate.  This leaves the front open to all kinds of personalization!

Perfect for gifts, here they are all wrapped up with Hoppy Easter labels!

–Martta

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Hoppy Easter Printable

Just a quick printable to get you in the Easter mood! I’m working on another Easter goodie for the Easter basket and it just calls out for a cute little label. So I whipped up this sheet of labels. The Hoppy Easter is a bit off center so you can punch a hole and tie to something adorable with a ribbon! Happy crafting!

Here’s the link to the PDF version: Hoppy Easter: Freebie Printable Labels

–Martta

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Tidy Mom

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