How to Make Edible Easter Basket Cookies With Your Kids
Do you want to make something delicious with your kids this Easter?
How about starting a new family tradition?
Easter is a holiday rich with tradition. In this article I’ll share a few international Easter treats. Then I’ll show how you and your kids can make one of them: a traditional Easter basket cookie from Italy.
Why Bake International Treats for Easter?
Most children are big fans of the Easter Bunny and get excited thinking about the baskets of goodies he brings. And while we love that Bunny too, there’s a whole world of Easter fun to explore!
There are tons of traditions that go along with Easter. In many English-speaking countries, Saturdays are spent preparing for the holiday, while Easter Sunday means going to church, having a meal with family and participating in Easter egg hunts. Egg rolling and egg tapping are also popular activities.
When you look at traditions of other countries, it opens up a multitude of conversations you can have with your kids. In what ways do people in other countries celebrate holidays differently? What foods do they eat? What international tradition would be fun for our family to start this Easter?
Since Easter is a holiday celebrated around the world, it’s interesting to learn about how it’s observed. Trying foods from different countries is one way to bring home the flavors of the globe.
German Igel Cake. In Germany, they celebrate with the traditional German hedgehog cake, like this one from Eleanor Oliver at Quick German Recipes Just Like Oma’s!
The beauty of the hedgehog cake is that it’s a “no bake” cake. Just layer the ingredients into the shape of a hedgehog and ice it.
Russian Easter Pashka Cake. In Russia and Estonia, they celebrate with a Pashka Russian Easter Cheesecake. The blog Face Full of Cake features this recipe, which you press into a flowerpot to get the right shape.
And in Italy, they celebrate with delicious cookies in the shape of Easter baskets, complete with dyed Easter eggs baked right in.
Before we make this favorite Italian Easter treat, which has an egg incorporated into the design, take your children on an international journey of other Easter delights. A quick search of the Internet will give you even more recipes and insights into the traditions of other countries, like the ones I mentioned from Germany, Russia and Italy.
When I was a little girl, the Easter Bunny brought Easter basket cookies to us every year. They taste like sugar cookies, but are even more fun to make! Remember when I was talking about family traditions? This one is good for starters.
One of the wonderful things about this activity is you stretch out the excitement and do it in a couple of different parts. You can decorate the eggs in the morning, and make the cookies in the afternoon.
Color these delicious. Let’s get started.
#1: Boil and Color Your Eggs
Your Italian Easter cookie adventure starts when you color some Easter eggs. You’ll probably already be making eggs to dye for your Sunday morning Easter egg hunt, so make 6 extra hard-boiled eggs for these special cookies.
Time-saving and planning tip: Hard-boil your eggs the night before you and your kids decorate them. That way you won’t hear, “Are they ready yet?” Instead you will hear, “Yay!” or something to that effect.
There are a several different ways you can dye Easter eggs. The simplest: Fill small bowls with a mixture of water and vinegar, add dye and gently drop in the eggs. Make sure they sit in the liquid for 3-5 minutes so the dye holds. Then use the tongs to carefully take them out.
Older kids may want to try some advanced egg-dying techniques. Depending on your artistic tendencies, they might be fun for you to try too!
#2: Make the Cookie Dough
Once you and your kids have colored your eggs, let them dry while you make the cookie dough.
Gather your ingredients, and preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius).
This is a kid-friendly recipe, so have your children take turns doing the different steps.
In a large bowl, mix the sugar and vegetable oil. Once those are combined, add the baking powder.
Next, add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each.
Now, add the vanilla and mix.
Next, add the flour one cup at a time until your dough is not sticky. You may not need all six cups of flour.
Now, take the dough out of the bowl. Work the dough with your hands on a clean counter or surface until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Form the dough into a ball. Now you are ready for the next part!
#3: Shape the Cookies!
From the dough you prepared, you can make two large baskets, or four or five small baskets.
The number of baskets you make may depend on the number of kids in your family. You can also divide your family into teams and make two large baskets.
For each basket, break off a piece of dough and form it into a ball.
Roll the dough out in a circle to about ¼-inch (6-mm) thick.
Next, place a hard-boiled egg a little less than halfway down.
Now, take another bit of dough and roll it out by hand to form the handle of the basket.
Take another portion of the dough, also rolled out to ¼-inch (6-mm) thick, and place it over the hard-boiled egg. You can cover the egg completely, or leave some peeking out.
Pinch the edges of the top and bottom dough together, so the egg stays in place.
Once you’ve sealed your baskets and added the handles, carefully transfer the whole cookie basket onto a flat, lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies at 350° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius) for about 20 minutes.
You’ll know your cookies are done when they start to brown just a bit.
#4: Make Icing
While your cookies are baking, make the icing.
Pour the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl and add the milk, one tablespoon at time. Make your icing thin enough to brush over your cookies.
Once your cookies have cooled, dip a pastry brush into the icing and brush the cookies. If you don’t have a pastry brush, just use a butter knife or spoon to spread the icing.
While the icing is still wet, decorate with sprinkles.
Remember, this is a family project. Part of the fun is chatting while you bake, working together and admiring each other’s designs.
Some Final Thoughts…
Italian Easter basket cookies are fun to make as a family. It takes dedicated family time to work all the steps. And at the end of the process, you might have a wonderful family tradition, along with a yummy treat. Your tradition can be to make these cookies every year or try a new tradition from a different country, as a family.
What do you think? Have you ever made Easter basket cookies? Are you going to make them this year? What are your favorite Easter recipes? Share your favorite traditional Easter recipes in the comments—and post a picture or two. I’d love to give them a try.