Spring Ideas From Our Kitchen

These delightfully simple and inexpensive table decorations are sure to charm your guests on Easter Sunday.
Mary Allen Perry

Enchanted offerings
 Create a magical woodland centerpiece by filling a moss-covered basket with fresh flowers and sugared white chocolate rabbits, or use mismatched eggcups to display miniature eggshell vases and candy dishes. We used small cell packs (four to six plants per pack) of pansies, violas, and variegated ivy, but any assortment of fresh flowers and foliage will work equally well. Plus, they can all be planted outdoors after the holiday. Just select a color scheme that will complement your china and table linens, and then follow the easy directions below.

Sugared Rabbits 
Whisk together 2 tablespoons of water and 2 teaspoons of meringue powder until light and foamy. Brush a thin, even layer over white chocolate rabbits, and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Let dry completely on waxed paper. Tie with bits of colored ribbon, if desired. Note: Meringue Powder is available at many crafts stores and Wal-Mart stores that carry cake-decorating supplies, or it may be ordered online from the Wilton Web site. We use it often in dessert recipes such as chilled soufflés or mousses that call for uncooked egg whites. Made from pasteurized powdered egg whites, it is free of salmonella. After opening, it can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to two years and used as an egg-white substitute in cakes and candies as well as royal icings and frostings (2 teaspoons of meringue powder whisked with 2 tablespoons of water equals 1 egg white). Meringue powder also contains small amounts of cornstarch and cream of tartar that work as stabilizers, creating exceptionally crisp baked meringues and pie shells. For more information and recipes visit www.wilton.com.

  

Tips and Tidbits

  • Pop a container of the new Baker's Dipping Chocolate (available in dark and milk chocolate) in the microwave for a quick and easy fondue, or create an amazing array of fanciful desserts and petits fours by coating cubes of pound cake, cookies, candies, pretzels, and fruits. To harden the chocolate coating, place the dipped treats on a wax paper-lined tray and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes or until set. Excess moisture can cause the chocolate to clump together, so be sure to pat fresh fruits dry with a paper towel before dipping. Leftover chocolate can be refrigerated up to two weeks and remelted. For more information visit www.bakerschocolate.com.
  • Brighten a spring buffet with a festive bowl of Easter Egg Potatoes from Wood Prairie Farms. This colorful collection of baby egg-shaped organic potatoes is delicious roasted with a sprinkling of olive oil and fresh herbs or boiled and tossed with your favorite condiments for potato salad. Available in 2- to 20-pound boxes ($9.95 to $69.95) from www.woodprairie.com.


 

Eggshell Vases and Candy Dishes 
Prepare egg dye according to package directions. Color extra-large raw eggs as desired and let dry. Pierce the narrow end of each egg with a sturdy pin or sewing needle. Using a small pair of sharp, pointed scissors, carefully snip away the top third of each eggshell. Empty out the white and yolk, and reserve for another use. Gently rinse the eggshells, and invert on paper towels to dry. Place eggshells in eggcups, and fill with water and fresh flowers or assorted pastel candies and trinkets.