For some, the Easter holiday — which arrives this Sunday — means a particularly poignant church service and the end of 40 days' worth of Lenten sacrifices. For others, it mainly means a basket stuffed with plastic grass, gooey "eggs" encased in chocolate shells and row upon row of colorful marshmallow chicks.
Whether you observe Easter as a sacred holiday or not, it's hard not to get a kick out of those pastel-hued seasonal treats. And you don't have to buy them at the store.
When I owned my restaurant, Salt, I had a penchant for crafting homemade versions of items that are usually processed or manufactured — think onion soup dip, toaster pastries and s'mores fixings. I even learned to replicate the goodies I used to find inside garish pink and green plastic eggs scattered in the yard.
Here are my versions of the famous holiday candies, with a few unusual flavor variations. The process may be messy, but the results are delicious.
Not into the DIY deal? You can also make delectable Easter baskets by filling them with goodies from Vermont confectionery companies. See the list below.
This recipe is dependent on the texture of the candy mixture. If it's too gooey, you won't be able to shape it properly. Luckily, the fix is easy: Just add more powdered sugar.
Prepare to get marshmallow all over your kitchen and your body. But it's worth it: Once you master this recipe, you can make homemade s'mores and all kinds of other wonders. Note that candy is fickle. If your marshmallows don't puff up as much as expected, it may have to do with the humidity of the room or a slight miscalculation in the temperature. However, they'll still taste delicious.
*You can buy colored sugar (look for "sanding sugar") or make it by mixing food coloring into granulated sugar. I use all-natural food coloring made from things like sea vegetables.
Plenty of local candy companies make treats perfect for stuffing into your Easter basket (or your mouth). In Burlington, Lake Champlain Chocolates offers a full Easter line, ranging this year from peanut-butter-and-chocolate "eggs" to an organic chocolate bunny with almonds and sea salt. Here are three more options outside the city.
The toffee is made with Belgian chocolate, roasted almonds and cultured butter from Vermont cream. Try the classic honey nougat or the one flavored with raspberry.
Winner of several national awards for its caramels, Big Picture Farm makes them from the milk of its own goats, plus other local and organic ingredients. Flavors include roasted raspberry and rhubarb, brown-butter bourbon and wild chocolate mint.
LMC is serious about chocolate rabbits. The company's candy bunnies are depicted riding tractors, taking hikes, cycling and pushing wheelbarrows. For something different, try the coconut-covered "bunny tails" or white-chocolate "carrots."
The original print version of this article was headlined "Bunny Business"