This is a special time of year for many as we prepare to celebrate Easter, Passover, or the beautiful transition to Springtime. It’s traditionally a time of gathering with friends and extended family members for Easter egg hunts, Seder dinners, brunches with mimosas flowing and celebrations of every sort.
April 2020 is different. Like everyone, I find myself and my family in the midst of a global pandemic known as Coronavirus, or COVID-19. We’re sheltering in place, and every day I’m finding new ways to keep myself centered, give my husband a sense of comfort, and maintain some semblance of normalcy and peace for my son.
How do we create that magic at a time when we’re cautioned against going to the grocery store and we can’t visit with our loved ones in person? I’m sharing some of the ways I’m preparing for Easter with my family in this new reality. I invite you to have a look, and customize these ideas based on your own household structure and traditions. Share with us using #cookiesandpunch.
ORANGE VANILLA SUGAR COOKIES (Approximately 3 dozen)
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups all- purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix butter and sugar.
Beat vanilla extract, orange extract and egg. Add to the butter and sugar mixture.
Combine the baking powder and flour in a separate bowl. Slowly add to the butter mixture, blending as you go along.
Roll the dough on a floured surface.
Cut with cookie cutters and place on a cookie sheet.
Cover cookies with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour. This will help them maintain their shape during the baking process.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool before removing from the cookie sheet.
GINGER PINEAPPLE PUNCH
5 ounces ginger beer
3 tablespoons pineapple juice
Rum to taste (Optional)
CHARLES’ DEVILED EGGS
1 dozen eggs
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 sweet gherkin pickles
6 crispy bacon strips
Paprika to taste
Boil eggs and cut in half.
In a medium size bowl, combine egg yolks, yellow mustard, mayonnaise, and kosher salt. Add approximately two tablespoons of pickle juice from the sweet gherkins.
Dice the sweet gherkins and add to the egg mixture. The gherkins should be thick and chunky so you can see them in the mixture.
Chill the egg mixture for at least 30 minutes. Chilling overnight is ideal for maximum flavor.
Fry the bacon strips until they are very crispy- nearly burnt. Drain the bacon grease, and tear the bacon strips by hand into large bacon bits.
Spoon the white mixture into the egg white halves. Garnish with deviled eggs with the bacon bits. The bacon bits should be large and chunky. Sprinkle paprika on top.
A note on consistency: Charles liked to make his yolk mixture very runny (almost the consistency of pudding or yogurt) and pour it into the egg whites and let it flow over the sides. To do this, he used considerably more mayonnaise and he didn't chill the mixture. This recipe maintains the flavor, but the yolk mixture is thicker- similar to thick chunky peanut butter- and chilled, making the deviled eggs easier to pick up and manage. Charles also prided himself on the crunchy consistency of the gherkins and the bacon. He didn’t use relish or chewy bacon.
EASTER BOOKS for TODDLERS
“E is for Easter” by Greg Paprocki
“I Am a Bunny” by Richard Scarry
“The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” A Story Board Book based on the original tale by Beatrix Potter