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Sweet Easter Treats

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Eggs in Nests
Egg Garden Centerpiece
Easter Chicks

(Family Features) - Bring some colorful fun to your Easter celebration with family-friendly crafts and recipes from chef and party planning expert, Ingrid Hoffmann.

To add some spring cheer to the Easter brunch or dinner table, try the Egg Garden Centerpiece - it's easy to make and offers a great conversation piece during Easter get-togethers. "Kids will love making the flowers and scattering the M&M'S 'eggs' in the garden," says Hoffmann. "Using these pretty pastel candies will brighten up your recipes and crafts - they're perfect for Easter entertaining, whether they're in Easter baskets or as part of the decorations." 

For a simple yet sophisticated Easter dessert, try Hoffmann's Eggs in Nests. The creamy raspberry filling is a sweet surprise that adults and kids will love.

To share your favorite Easter recipes and to get more tips for Easter entertaining, visit www.brightideas.com.

Eggs in Nests

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 6 ounces fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 30 wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 quart plus 1 pint vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 bag Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Promises
  • 1 bag of coconut flakes colored green with food coloring*
  • 1 9.9-ounce bag Easter Almond M&M'S

Preparation
    1. Place cream cheese in medium bowl. Using a spoon, mash raspberries through a sieve (or use a food mill) so juice goes into the cream cheese, but seeds remain behind. Add sugar to cream cheese mixture, then mix thoroughly until smooth and completely blended.
    2. Pour oil into a deep saucepan and heat to 350°F over medium heat.
    3. While oil heats, set up a draining station with a rack set in a sheet pan or baking sheet lined with paper towels.
    4. To assemble wontons for frying, wet a fingertip with the egg-water mixture and rub all four edges of a wrapper. Spoon a generous teaspoon of filling into center, then fold wrapper to make a triangle, pressing the edges together firmly. Grasp the two corners at either end of the fold and bring them together, sealing with a bit of egg wash. (It's best to prepare one batch at a time, not allowing them too much time to dry before frying.)
    5. Fry wontons in batches of six until golden brown, turning once, approximately 4 minutes. Allow to cool and drain thoroughly.
    6. While wontons cool, unwrap the Dove Promises and place in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted.
    7. Dip one side of each cooled wonton into the chocolate, then sprinkle the colored coconut flakes on the outside and nestle M&M'S into the chocolate. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Serves
Makes 30

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*To color, place the coconut flakes in a large bowl and add 1 to 2 drops of green food coloring. Stir with a spatula softly. Lay out on a cookie sheet to dry.

Egg Garden Centerpiece

Ingredients
  • 4 florist sponge blocks (4 x 4 inches)
  • Green turf (available at craft stores)
  • 1 bag of pipe cleaners or twisty straws
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Rubber bands
  • 1 12.6-ounce bag of Easter Peanut M&M'S
  • White picket fence (approximately 6 inches high, 16 inches wide)
  • Multi-colored carnations

Preparation
    1. Join the florist sponge blocks by connecting with toothpicks, and cover the resulting "garden" with the green turf. Take one sheet of tissue paper, and continue folding into halves until you have a square about 3 inches in size. Cut the folded tissue paper into a 3-inch circle, producing 8 to 10 layers of circles. Leave them stacked on top of each other. If using pipe cleaners, poke the pipe cleaner through the center and make a knot so the pipe cleaner won't fall out. If using straws, bind the center of the flower to the end of the straw. Pinch each tissue paper layer upward toward center of flower to make petals. Insert paper flowers into the sponge blocks.
    2. Cut the carnations 4 inches below the bud and insert the stems into the sponge block, combining them with the paper flowers. Hide the candy "eggs" in between the flowers and set the picket fence around the block.

Easter Chicks

Ingredients
  • Mini cellophane bags
  • Eyes
  • Yellow fabric ribbon
  • Yellow pom poms
  • Webbed feet cut out from orange felt
  • Yellow feathers
  • Orange beaks cut out of orange felt
  • 1 12.6-ounce bag of Milk Chocolate Easter M&M'S
  • Glue gun or liquid glue

Preparation
    1. Fill your cellophane bags with seasonal pastel M&M'S and tie the bag closed with a yellow fabric ribbon.
    2. Using a glue gun (or liquid glue), attach the webbed feet to the bottom of the bag. Then attach the eyes and beak to the pom poms to create the chick's head. Let dry. Attach the head and the feathers to the bag. Let the glue on the finished chicks dry for 24 hours.

SOURCE: M&M's


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