Easter Bunnies Stuck In Mud!

I wanted to make something quick and easy for the Easter holiday coming up.  I love chocolate and those marshmallow bunnies that only appear during this time of year, so I combined the two to make a dessert that the whole family can make together.  Let’s get hoppin’….

Cookie Crust (makes 9)

  • 1/2 package of Oreo Cookies (chocolate sandwich cookies)
  • 1/2 stick Butter, melted

Put the cookies into a food processor and give them a whirl until they become fine crumbs.  Mix with the melted butter.  I used a medium size muffin tin. You can use muffin cup liners or butter the insides of the cups, then pat cookie mixture onto bottom and sides of tin. Set aside.

Chocolate Pastry Cream

  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar

Put milk and sugar into a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally.

  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 2 Heavy Tblsp Cornstarch
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tblsp Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 package of Easter Marshmallow Bunnies
  • 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup Evaporated Milk
  • Cool Whip
  • Green food coloring
  • jelly beans or mini malted milk eggs

In a heatproof bowl whisk the yolks,egg, cornstarch and sugar until combined.

Once milk and sugar come to a boil, pour it over the above ingredients and whisk until smooth. SAM_0708 Pour back into saucepan and on medium high heat stir until thickened and bubbly.  Take off the heat and add vanilla, butter and the 1/2 Cup of chocolate chips. Whisk until incorporated.SAM_0710Now we are going to fill the cookie crusts, it’s easiest to use a 1/4 measuring cup to pour the pudding into the crusts.  Be Careful it is hot. Cover the top of pan with saran wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

After the hour, take off saran wrap and push a marshmallow bunny into each pudding cup. Use any color of bunny or a variety of colors.  Let the kids stick the bunny into the mud!SAM_0712Next, put the cup of semi sweet chips and 1/4 cup evaporated milk in a bowl and microwave for 45 seconds, take out and stir, then microwave another 45 seconds. Stir until smooth.  Put this into a pastry bag and pipe this “chocolate mud” around the bunny. Make sure to cover the pudding. SAM_0713 Refrigerate a couple of hours or overnight.

Using a metal spatula go around each pudding cup to release them(or just lift out if you used muffin cup liners) Set them on a plate and decorate with green tinted Cool Whip. I put the Cool Whip into a pastry bag that has a grass tip on it, if you don’t have a grass tip, just use a spoon or fork to place some around the top edge of each pudding cup to look like grass. Have fun and use jelly beans or mini malted milk eggs to make them fancy.SAM_0725These are quite cute and very easy to make.  I like to pull the bunny out of the “mud” and eat him first!  Happy Easter everyone….

Mashed Potatoes Pierogi Bread

It has been so frigid in Pittsburgh, so I wanted to make some bread. Something hearty to warm me up and my kitchen.  I love Pierogi with mashed potatoes and onions, so let’s combine these flavors with a lovely homemade bread dough…………

Let’s make the mashed spuds and onions first:

  • 1 1/2 lbs Golden Potatoes (4 medium size) peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tblsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tblsp Sour Cream
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 large Sweet Yellow Onions, diced
  • 1 stick (4 oz) Butter

Put the potatoes into a medium saucepan, cover with water and a little bit of salt.  Cook, with a lid on, until fork tender.  Drain, put into a mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, add the 2 Tblsp butter, salt, pepper, sour cream and cheddar. Mix until smooth, scrape down bowl.  Set aside to cool.

Now melt the stick of Butter in a large sautee pan, add that moutain of onions and cook until lightly golden. SAM_0685 Stir occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper, set aside to cool.

Bread Dough (makes 2 loaves)

  • 6 Cups White Bread Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp(1/4 oz envelope) Fast Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 2/3 Cup Lukewarm Water (check temp on wrist, not too hot or it will kill the yeast, not too cool or it will not activate it)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl.  Mix the yeast and 2/3 Cup of the water until combined.  Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the yeast water.  Mix with a spatula, then add in the other 2 Cup of water and shredded cheddar.  Dump dough onto your work table.  You will knead this for 10 minutes. SAM_0688 Seems long, so I set a timer and make sure I have some music playing. This is very relaxing and this dough recipe is so soft and wonderful to work with.

Now place dough into an oiled bowl (I use veg oil).  Cover with oiled saran wrap.  Easiest to lay 2 sheets of plastic wrap on work table and use hands to wipe the sheets with the oil.  Let rise 1 hour.  SAM_0689After the hour, plop dough onto work table.  You don’t need to flour the table, the dough is not sticky.  Cut the dough in half. SAM_0690 One at a time, roll one half of the dough into a 15″ x 12″ rectangle.  Approximate, no need to get out the ruler!

Spread half of the cooled potato mixture over dough up to 1/2″ of the border.  I found it easiest to use spatula and hands to smooth it out. SAM_0692 Now take 1/4 of the onions and spread over the potato mixture.

SAM_0691Starting with sides of dough, fold them in about 1″ towards center, then start to roll up from bottom. SAM_0693 This will keep the filling inside of the bread.  Lay seam side down onto greased baking sheet. (or parchment lined, if you have it) Lightly flatten top of loaf with your hands and put another of the 1/4 of onions on top.  SAM_0697

Repeat with the other half of the dough.  Cover each loaf with a piece of that oiled saran wrap.  Let rise for 30 minutes. SAM_0698 If your kitchen is cold like mine, now is the time that I preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  It helps to warm up the kitchen which in turn allows the dough to rise better.

After dough has risen, take off saran wrap and place each sheet on separate oven racks.  Bake for 25 minutes, now switch tray positions, top to bottom, bottom to top, and bake for another 25 minutes.

Let cool on trays for 15 minutes, then put onto cooling racks, if you have them. SAM_0700

While these are baking, your kitchen will smell as if you are sauteeing pierogis in onions and butter.  I love this bread warm, no butter needed. The smooth texture of the potatoes, buttery onions and soft chew of the bread dough makes a perfect combination for bread and Pierogi lovers alike. Also a great addition to a Kielbasa dinner.  Make some tonight, it will warm up your kitchen and your belly!SAM_0701