Candy-filled Easter baskets are one of the great Easter traditions, along with dying Easter eggs and holding Easter egg hunts. I am not one to complain about a basket full of candy (in fact, I wish every holiday had that tradition) but what if the basket could be improved upon? What if the basket, itself, was edible? And not just edible, but what if it was a sweet sugar cookie, filled with frosting and topped with coconut and candy?
Now that is a tradition I can get behind.
Easter basket cookies require a little assembly, but the basics couldn't be easier. They call for store-bought dough, frosting, and candies, making them a snap to put together with young helpers as a fun edible craft project.
Easter Basket Cookies
yield: 24 Easter basket cookies
- 1 1-lb package refrigerated sugar cookie dough (or homemade dough)
- Assorted colored sprinkles
- 1/2 cup frosting, canned or homemade
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- Green food coloring
- Specked jelly beans
- Pastel Jordan almonds
- Licorice string (pipe cleaners are a non-edible substitute)
This recipe will make 24 cookies in miniature muffin pans, or 12 large cookies in regular muffin pans. Spray your pans with nonstick cooking spray, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to form balls of cookie dough. Roll the balls in the colored sprinkles until they're completely covered, then place them in the miniature muffin pans.
Once all of your dough is formed into balls, bake the cookies in the 350° oven for about 12-15 minutes--just until they're set around the edges but are still soft in the middle.
While you're waiting for the cookies to bake, place the coconut in a large Ziploc bag and add a few drops of green food coloring. Massage it through the bag to spread the food coloring throughout the coconut and dye it a light green color. Add more food coloring if necessary to get it to a shade of green that resembles grass.
After the coconut is dyed, unwind the licorice strings and cut them into 3-inch sections to form the basket handles. Licorice strings or ropes can sometimes be difficult to find, so you can substitute any other thin candy for the strings, or use pipe cleaners as a non-edible alternative to licorice.
Once the cookies are baked, take them from the oven and immediately start pressing your fingers into the middle of each cookie to form an indentation. If the cookies are overbaked this will be difficult and they might crack, so it's much better to err on the side of underbaking and have soft sugar cookies. After all the indentations are made, let the cookies cool completely.
Put the frosting in a plastic bag and snip off the corner. Pipe a little dollop of frosting into the center of each cookie, just until the hole is filled.
Sprinkle the top of the frosting-filled cookie with the green coconut, until all the frosting is covered and it looks like the cookie basket is filled with grass.
Press the ends of a licorice string into the frosting to form the handle. If you're using pipe cleaners, bend them into a U-shape and stick them either into the frosting or just poke them into the top of the cookie.
Ta-da! Your Easter basket cookies are finished and ready to be enjoyed. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature, and enjoy them within 2-3 days of making them.
These Easter basket cookies would make great placesettings at an Easter dinner, or are nice gifts when individually wrapped in cellophane bags. Or...and this is a crazy thought...consider filling an Easter basket with Easter basket cookies. (Too M.C. Escher?) However you choose to display them, I'm sure you'll love these cute, colorful Easter basket cookies!
All text and images (c) Elizabeth LaBau