Category Archives: recipes

Homemade chocolate Easter bunnies

Photo courtesy of Lin Sue Cooney.

By Lin Sue Cooney

When I was a child, I could always count on my mom to put a chocolate bunny in my Easter basket. I couldn’t wait to bite off an ear to see if it was solid or hollow inside. The poor guy never lasted very long. He was devoured before breakfast with a mug of hot cocoa. Even back then I was addicted to chocolate! Though he was made of a rather bland milk chocolate, I thought it was a fancy treat.

Now that I’ve developed a taste for dark chocolate, those drug store bunnies just don’t cut it anymore. So I’ve learned to make my own.

All you need is a bag of candy melts that you can buy at Michaels. For a dollar more, I recommend the gourmet brand name Guittard, available at ABC Cake Decorating at 28th Street and Indian School in Phoenix. They come in dark chocolate, white chocolate, strawberry, lemon or mint (which smells and tastes just like a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie).

Fill a squeeze bottle with chocolate pieces and zap in a microwave 30 seconds at first, and then 10 seconds at time until the chocolate melts. Be sure to stir each time with a chopstick so it melts evenly. Then put the lid on the bottle and gently squeeze the chocolate into plastic bunny molds you can buy at Michaels, ABC or online. There are literally dozens to choose from, so you can have a cute bunny, an elegant one, big, medium or tiny.

Use a toothpick to gently push the chocolate to the edges of the impression. Lay completely flat in the freezer for five minutes, then invert onto a soft, clean dishtowel, tapping the edge of the mold lightly. The chocolate bunnies will drop right out. You can even find molds that hold a lollipop stick if you want a bunny sucker.

Make him extra fabulous by tying a thin ribbon around his neck. Then just wrap that darling bunny in a cellophane bag, tuck him into an Easter basket, and watch your kids hippity hop around the house with excitement.

Lin Sue Cooney is the evening news anchor at 12News and the mother of Taylor (26), Zach (23), Seamus (10) and Wen (9). She and her business partner, Cindy Leech, run Sweet-Stops, where they make specialty confections and host cooking classes.

real snowy craft: An Arizona Snow Day

Real snowflakes are hard to come by in the greater-Phoenix area, but your family can still enjoy a rousing snowball fight using recycled-paper snowballs! Then get toasty with a cup of hot cocoa and a tortilla snowflake treat.
Monthly “Real Crafts” are created just for RAK by Bettijo B. Hirschi & Aimée Lowry, the Arizona moms behind the family-style blog Paging Supermom. For more ideas, visit pagingsupermom.com.

recycled paper snowballs
Crinkle paper into tight balls. Use up leftover wrapping paper with the white, backside facing out, or roll and tuck a bunch of socks into spheres. Set a few ground rules and then let those snowballs fly!

tortilla snowflakes
• fresh flour tortillas
• butter
• powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar
• clean scissors (or chomping teeth!)
• griddle

Fold the tortilla in half and then in half again. Cut out shapes from the sides of the folded tortilla just as you would cut folded paper to make a snowflake. Little ones who want to help can skip the scissors and have them take bites out of the edges to create a similar effect. Carefully unfold the tortilla. Dab with a small amount of melted butter then heat on a griddle until it begins to brown. Sprinkle the tortilla with powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar and serve warm.

southwest cocoa
Add a pinch of cinnamon and chili powder to your favorite hot chocolate recipe or mix. (It may sound a little strange, but the pairing is delicious!) Don’t forget to add some marshmallows.

real sweet craft: Caramel corn on the cob

Need a party favor, hostess gift or something to pass out to neighbors as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches? This delicious cob will do the job quite nicely. This recipe for Stress-Free Caramel Popcorn just takes minutes and is easier than pie! Instructions at right.

These monthly “Real Crafts” are created just for RAISING ARIZONA KIDS by Bettijo B. Hirschi & Aimée Lowry, the Arizona moms behind the family-style blog Paging Supermom. For more of their ideas, visit pagingsupermom.com.

Instructions (to make 8 cobs)

1 batch of Stress-Free Caramel Popcorn (see recipe below)
8 clear bags (we used cellophane treat bags from the party supply section)
32 wire twist ties (4 for each cob)
Roll of green party streamer
Twine, raffia or string

Let the Caramel Popcorn mixture set until cool enough to touch. Your kids will probably enjoy helping you make the cobs. After washing and drying your hands, coat fingers with a tiny bit of vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Grab a couple heaping handfuls of popcorn mixture and press together to form an oblong shape resembling a corncob.

Place each cob into a clear bag, squeeze the air out and twist tie closed. To help the bag form to the shape of the cob, pinch and twist tie the other end.

To make cornhusks, tear two 30-inch lengths of green streamer. We had two shades of green in our cupboard and used one of each.

Hold the two streamers together and fold to find the middle. Pinch this part around one of the twist-tied ends of the popcorn bag and secure with another twist tie.

Guide the streamer tails along both sides of the corncob and secure at the other end with a twist tie. Trim the streamers to desired length.

To finish, wrap the twine, raffia or string around several times to cover the twist ties on both ends; then tie a knot.

Stress-Free Caramel Popcorn

2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 bag (10.5 oz.) mini marshmallows
2 bags microwave popcorn

Pop both bags of microwave popcorn then pour into a large mixing bowl. Leave out any un-popped kernels.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter then stir in brown sugar and marshmallows. Continue stirring until marshmallows have melted and the ingredients are well combined.

Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and mix well. Let cool and gobble up.