Easter Basket Treat Recipes: Homemade Brownies, Toffee Bars, Fudge, and Caramel Turtles

Create the ultimate goody basket this Easter, with recipes for brownies, toffee bars, "almost-as-good-as-Mackinaw-Island Fudge," and caramel turtles.

| April/May 1992

The worst Easter I ever experienced was when my mother hid my Easter basket in the planter. Shaped like a double-measure jigger, my mother's fern sat proudly on top of it and, well, nothing usually sat under the planter—until that Easter Sunday.

After hours of exhaustive searching and frustration, I was in tears as I ran around the house for what seemed like the millionth time, resorting to such desperate measures as looking inside boots. Taking pity on me—a sympathetic gesture, as I fancied myself to be a varsity-level Easter-basket hunter and was quite cocky about the whole matter—my mother played hot and cold until I finally had no other choice than to lift the planter and discover my basket sitting pretty in the lower half.

After spending the better part of the morning near the floor heaters, my chocolate bunny resembled fondue, and the jelly beans had melted into a Technicolor ooze that all but caulked the cracks of the basket's rattan. The only standing survivors of my Three Mile Island basket were the mallow chicks, confections so resilient they could probably survive a full-scale nuclear meltdown. Anyway, we learned two important lessons that Easter: One is never overestimate the frustration level of your child (although I'm sure my mother got a slight kick out of reducing this overly-confident nine-year-old to a foot-stamping, red-eyed teary mess in a dress), and two, never overestimate the quality of store-bought treats when creating the ultimate Easter basket. Granted, most people don't take Easter baskets quite as seriously as we did, but the following recipes are not only refreshing alternatives to the usual splendor in the grass, they're guaranteed to last hours under a planter.

Easter Brownies

2 cups sugar 
7 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa 
1 cup butter, melted 
4 eggs 
1 cup flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa, and melted butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend after each addition. Add the remaining ingredients and mix just enough to blend completely. Pour into a greased 9" × 13" glass pan and bake for 20 or 25 minutes or until the top is firm. (Do not overbake.) Allow to stand for 30 minutes, then cut into squares. Wrap each brownie in tinted saran wrap and tie with a ribbon. Makes over 24. 

Toffee Bars

(My mom's answer to Heath bars)

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