9 Strange and Different Easter Treats

The Barefoot Kitchen Witch
The Barefoot Kitchen Witch

Eggs go on sale the week before Easter, so you may as well stock up and do something with those little protein-packed symbols of spring. Not all of these recipes contain eggs, but they are all creative new ideas for spicing up your Easter feast, party, or holiday snacking.

1. RAINBOW EASTER EGGS

If you have egg-shaped food molds, or can fashion your own out of plastic eggs, you can impress your Easter guests with Rainbow Striped Jello Easter Eggs. The Jell-o must be firmer than the regular recipe, and to get the stripes, you’ll need to plan ahead, because each color needs to firm up before you add the next. But the finished product looks amazing when you present them at dessert time.

2. SAFFRON MERINGUE CHICKS

Photograph by Flickr user Lenore Edman.

Yes, you can make Peeps at home. Homemade marshmallow Peeps are possible, but Lenore at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories made them for gourmet tastes, out of saffron-flavored meringue. The fluffy meringue is made from egg whites (so traditional for Easter), sugar, and the saffron provides the perfect Peeps color. Other people tried them with different flavors, shapes, and colors.

3. DEVILED EGG BUNNY FEET

Among promotions for several contests, Hungry Happenings has a recipe for these Deviled Egg Bunny Feet. Actually two recipes, so you can decide how spicy you want your egg yolks. Then the yolk mixture is colored with pink food dye. Just fill the egg whites and pipe the “toes” on.

4. PEEPSHI

A skilled sushi artist can make sushi look like anything they want to, and a really skilled food artist can take other foods and make them look like sushi. This is "Peepshi," made with marshmallow peeps. And it does contain rice -in the form of Rice Krispies marshmallow treats! The instructions for making them are at Serious Eats.

5. CHOCOLATE ZOMBIE BUNNIES

Miss Demeanor at Criminal Crafts made gory yet edible art out of store-bought chocolate bunnies. With a little imagination and homemade colored icing as paint, you, too, can create a bloody tableau of zombie bunnies feasting on the brains of their enemies on a base of crushed Oreo soil. She even saved money by buying some chocolate rabbits that were already broken.

6. EASTER DOLL BREAD

These cute Croatian bread dolls are a combination of braided challah bread with the addition of an Easter egg face. They are made small, so each guest at the dinner table can have their own loaf. The recipe is here, translated from the original Spanish, which may be more accurate.

7. CHEESECAKE-FILLED CHOCOLATE EASTER EGGS WITH PASSION FRUIT YOLK

Photograph by Flickr user raspberri cupcakes

You can make your own Cadbury eggs, or you can make chocolate Easter eggs that look like candy but taste like something even better -cheesecake! Steph at Raspberri Cupcakes shows us how to make Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Easter Eggs for a high-class dessert. The cheesecake is the white of the egg, chocolate makes up the shell, and the “yolk” is a spoonful of sauce made from passionfruit pulp, apricot jam, and butter. Not as overwhelmingly sweet as candy eggs, but rich and creamy and decadent.

8. MOSAIC EASTER EGGS

Chinese Tea Eggs are made by boiling eggs, rolling them to crack the shell, and then soaking them in tea. When the shells are removed, it leaves a lovely mosaic pattern. Jayne at The Barefoot Kitchen Witch substituted food dye for the tea, in lots of different colors, and came up with Edible Easter Eggs. She used gel food coloring, and recommends leaving them in the refrigerator to soak overnight.

9. EDIBLE BIRDS NESTS

Once you’ve got eggs and birds, you need a birds nest -one you can eat! Amy Karol at Angry Chicken made birds nests from shredded wheat squares and melted chocolate chips. That’s all. Get the instructions here.

Just remember, you will have failures when you try a brand-new art recipe, so you might want to have a dry run before Easter. Even if you only make one batch, you can always eat your own rejects!

6 Tasty Facts About Scrapple

Kate Hopkins, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Kate Hopkins, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Love it or hate it, scrapple is a way of life—especially if you grew up in Pennsylvania or another Mid-Atlantic state like New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia. And this (typically) pork-filled pudding isn’t going anywhere. While its popularity in America dates back more than 150 years, the dish itself is believed to have originated in pre-Roman times. In celebration of National Scrapple Day, here’s everything you ever—or never—wanted to know about the dish.

1. Scrapple is typically made of pig parts. Lots and lots of pig parts.

Though every scrapple manufacturer has its own particular recipe, it all boils down to the same basic process—literally: boiling up a bunch of pig scraps (yes, the parts you don’t want to know are in there) to create a stock which is then mixed with cornmeal, flour, and a handful of spices to create a slurry. Once the consistency is right, chopped pig parts are added in and the mixture is turned into a loaf and baked.

As the dish has gained popularity, chefs have put their own unique spins on it, adding in different meats and spices to play with the flavor. New York City’s Ivan Ramen even cooked it up waffle-style.

2. People were eating scrapple long before it made its way to America.

People often think that the word scrapple derives from scraps, and it’s easy to understand why. But it’s actually an Americanized derivation of panhaskröppel, a German word meaning "slice of rabbit." Much like its modern-day counterpart, skröppel—which dates back to pre-Roman times—was a dish that was designed to make use of every part of its protein (in this case, a rabbit). It was brought to America in the 17th and 18th centuries by German colonists who settled in the Philadelphia area.

In 1863, the first mass-produced version of scrapple arrived via Habbersett, which is still making the product today. They haven’t tweaked the recipe much in the past 150-plus years, though they do offer a beef version as well.

3. If your scrapple is gray, you're a-ok.

A dull gray isn’t normally the most appetizing color you’d want in a meat product, but that’s the color a proper piece of scrapple should be. (It is typically pork bits, after all.)

4. Scrapple can be topped with all kinds of goodies.

Though there’s no rule that says you can’t enjoy a delicious piece of scrapple at any time of day, it’s considered a breakfast meat. As such, it’s often served with (or over) eggs but can be topped with all sorts of condiments; while some people stick with ketchup or jelly, others go wild with applesauce, mustard, maple syrup, and honey to make the most of the sweet-and-salty flavor combo. There’s also nothing wrong with being a scrapple purist and eating it as is.

5. Dogfish Head made a scrapple beer.

The master brewers at Delaware’s Dogfish Head have never been afraid to get experimental with their flavors. In 2014, they created a Beer for Breakfast Stout that was brewed with Rapa pork scrapple. A representative for the scrapple brand called the collaboration a "unique proposition." Indeed.

6. Delaware holds an annual scrapple festival each October.

Speaking of Delaware: It’s also home to the country’s oldest—and largest—annual scrapple festival. Originating in 1992, the Apple Scrapple Festival in Bridgeville, Delaware is a yearly celebration of all things pig parts, which includes events like a ladies skillet toss and a scrapple chunkin’ contest. More than 25,000 attendees make the trek annually.

What's the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?

Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock via Getty Images
Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock via Getty Images

This Thanksgiving, families across the country will enjoy a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes ... or are they yams? Discussions on the proper name for the orange starchy stuff on your table can get more heated than arguments about topping them with marshmallows. But there's an easy way to tell the difference between sweet potatoes and yams: If you picked up the tuber from a typical American grocery store, it's probably a sweet potato.

So what's a sweet potato?

Sweet potato and yam aren't just different names for the same thing: The two produce items belong to their own separate botanical categories. Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family. Regular potatoes like russets, meanwhile, are considered part of the nightshade family, which means that sweet potatoes aren't actually potatoes at all.

Almost all of the foods most Americans think of as yams are really sweet potatoes. The root vegetable typically has brown or reddish skin with a starchy inside that's orange (though it can also be white or purple). It's sold in most supermarkets in the country and used to make sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie, and the sweet potato casserole you have at Thanksgiving.

Then what's a yam?

Yams.
Yams.
bonchan/iStock via Getty Images

Yams are a different beast altogether. They are more closely related to lilies and grasses and mostly grow in tropical environments. The skin is more rough and bark-like than what you'd see on a sweet potato, and the inside is usually white or yellowish—not orange.

They're a common ingredient in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Because the inside of a yam is less moist than the inside of a sweet potato, they require more fat to make them soft and creamy. They're also less sweet than their orange-hued counterparts. In many regions in the U.S., yams aren't sold outside of international grocery stores.

Where did the mix-up come from?

Also sweet potatoes.
Also sweet potatoes.
Kateryna Bibro/iStock via Getty Images

So if yams and sweet potatoes are two totally different vegetables that don't look or taste that similar, why are their names used interchangeably in the U.S.? You can blame the food industry. For years, "firm" sweet potatoes, which have brown skin and whitish flesh, were the only sweet potatoes grown in the U.S. In the early 20th century, "soft" sweet potatoes, which have reddish skin and deep-orange flesh, entered the scene. Farmers needed a way to distinguish the two varieties, so soft sweet potatoes became yams.

Nearly a century later, the misnomer shows no signs of disappearing. Many American supermarkets still call their orange-fleshed sweet potatoes yams and their white-fleshed ones sweet potatoes, even though both items are sweet potatoes. But this isn't a strict rule, and stores often swap the names and make things even more confusing for shoppers. So the next time you're shopping for a recipe that calls for sweet potatoes, learn to identify them by sight rather than the name on the label.

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