Welcome Spring!

by Cheryl Shaffer, Chef Instructor

Spring has officially arrived on the calendars, and even Mother Nature is trying to give us a sneak peak by reigning in the cold, (at least a little!), and whisking away the ice and darkness of winter. Spring is here. The days are longer, the sun a little brighter, the sky bluer and hopefully, the welcome of Alaskans as we greet each other after a long winter is a friendlier and happy note to your day.

Last week, we explored the joys of deviled eggs to share with our patrons. This week, we’ve made delightful baby animal cookies on a lollipop stick. We started with chicks, then bunnies and ended with ducklings. Credit goes to the website, HowDoesShe.com, for creative ingenuity.

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For the Cheeps: You’ll need a package of round sandwich cookies. We used Golden Oreos, but any type will work. Carefully push a lollipop stick, (the cookie sticks are too thick for this project), then press down on the cookies to secure the stick inside. You’ll want to be gentle, the cookies snap easily, but you can press them back into their cream filling and they worked fine for this project.

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Melt a package of yellow candy melts in a medium sized bowl, in the microwave oven, according to package directions. We found that the initial melting time took about 1.5 minutes, adding bursts of 15 second melt times, to keep the candy at the perfect consistency.   Using a spoon, stir the melts until all of the candy is melted into a nice liquid, and carefully pour the candy over the cookie, until it is completely coated, and allow the excess to drip off. Place the coated cookie onto a sheet of parchment paper. While the coating is still wet, place two candy eyes and half of a Nerd jelly bean candy, cut widthwise, for the beak. Continue with the rest of the cookies. Allow to cookie cool completely. We placed ours on a parchment lined cookie sheet and put them into the freezer for 15 minutes to set the chocolate.  We had a little bit of the yellow candy melt left over. When it was thickened, but not completely hard, we took a small amount and rolled it into a small tube shape, and pressed it against the top of the Cheep’s forehead, like a cockscomb. Once completely cooled, wrap the Cheeps in a cellophane bag and tie it closed with a cheerful ribbon.

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For the Ducklings: Use the same steps as for the Cheeps, but mix ½ bag of yellow melts with ½ bag of marshmallow flavored melts. Coat the cookie lollipops with the mixture, shake off the excess, place the candy eyes and this time, use half an orange Nerd jelly bean, cut lengthwise, for the beak- and we shook yellow sugar sprinkles over the whole cookie. Again, allow them to set on a parchment lined cookie tray. You can speed up the process using the freezer for about 15 minutes, then wrap them in the cellophane wrappers and tie a bow with ribbon.

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For the Bunnies: This time, you’ll use the plain white candy melts to coat the cookie lollipops, shake off the excess and place them on a parchment lined baking tray. You’ll want to place the eyes and the little hard candy bunny head for the nose, while the coating is still wet. Continue until all of your cookies are coated. Now comes the fun. We used a tube of  black gel frosting to draw on the bunny smiles.

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We took sugar wafer cookies, and removed the outer layers of the wafers and actually used the legs/feet of the Gnome cookie cutter that we sell in the store, to shape the bunny ears. Using a pair of tweezers, dip the ears to coat them in white candy, and carefully adhere them to the cookie, just above the eyes. You’ll have to hold each one for a moment, in order for them to stick. Use a little touch-up melt on the end of a toothpick to cover any bare spots from where the tweezers held the ears. You can also add a few whiskers to each side of the nose with a small dip of the coating and a toothpick. When the melt is dry, we used a toothpick to pick-up a little of pink cupcake decorating dust to give the ears a little dimension and color. Allow them to dry completely, then wrap them in cellophane and add a bow tie.

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