Easter is a time of spring, hope and renewal -- and chocolate. Eating the ears right off your chocolate bunny is an Easter morning rite of passage for children everywhere. Easter treats don't have to begin and end in the candy aisle, however. You can whip up your own cute Easter snacks that your kids will snap right up -- as soon as they can put down that now-earless bunny, that is.
1. Sweet Treats
Whip up a batch of your favorite sugar cookies and cut them out in Easter egg shapes. If you don't have a cookie cutter, they are fairly easy to do freehand. Make some frosting by thinning powdered sugar with a few spoonfuls of milk until it's at spreading consistency and flavoring it with a little vanilla or almond extract. Divide the frosting into small containers and tint each one a different color with a few drops of food coloring. Use this to make different-colored Easter egg cookies, dressing them up with colored sugar, sprinkles or decorating icing if desired. Another fun Easter-themed cookie can be made by tinting coconut macaroon batter green and forming it into little nests. Bake each nest, and when cool, fill it with a few jelly bean "eggs."
2. Bunnies for Breakfast
Start off Easter morning in a festive style by making bunny pancakes. Prepare pancake batter from a mix or by using your favorite recipe, then create bunny face shapes by pouring a round head and then using a little extra batter to make two long ears. Use jelly, raisins or sliced berries to make cute bunny faces. Biscuits can also be shaped into bunnies -- use one round biscuit for the head, then cut another one in two pieces to make half-moon ears. Stick the ears onto the head, pinching to create a seal, and add raisin eyes and a nose. Brush the biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar before baking to turn them into instant cinnamon rolls. These can also be frosted with powdered sugar thinned with a little milk.
3. Healthy Holidays
Easter snacks don't have to be all about sugar. Use snap-apart plastic eggs to dress up a variety of healthy treats such as cheese cubes, mini wheat crackers, grapes, blueberries, raisins, dried apricots, nuts, apple chunks and granola. For another healthy Easter treat, you can cut whole-grain bread slices into egg shapes and top with peanut butter, lean ham or turkey or low-fat cheese. Squeezable mustard, ketchup or jelly can be used to decorate these Easter egg sandwiches.
4. Leftover Eggs
Make deviled egg baskets out of your leftover dyed Easter eggs. Peel the eggs carefully, and slice them in half crosswise to make two oval pieces. Cut a tiny slice off the bottom of each piece so they will stand flat. Scoop out the yolks and mix them with a little mayonnaise and any desired spices, such as salt, pepper, cayenne or paprika. Refill the egg whites with the yolk mixture and use a celery curl or a piece of green onion to make a handle for each basket. Top the baskets with pitted olives or shelled pumpkin or sunflower seeds to look like eggs.