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Top 5 Homemade Easter Basket Treats

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It's hard to believe that Easter will be here in less than two weeks. With the holiday arriving a lot sooner than it did last year, there seems to be quite a rush to find the perfect treats to place in your children's (or spouse's) Easter baskets. Choices range from colorful Peeps and giant chocolate bunnies to bags and bags of jelly beans and malted Robin's eggs (my personal favorite).

As tasty and sensationally sweet as these treats can be, gathering up a basket-full of them adds up when you get to the register. In hopes of reducing the cost, here are five homemade Easter treats you can put into anyone's Easter basket.

5. Coconut Cookie Nests

Have fun with this one. Simply make a coconut cookie with any recipe of your choice. To create the image of a nest, place a teaspoon of melted chocolate in the middle of the coconut cookie and top with three Robin's eggs or jelly beans. You'll create an adorable "nest" with the coconut cookie base to hold the colorful candy eggs or jelly beans.

4. Homemade Peeps

Marshmallows made at home taste a million times better than the ones you buy at the store. To make your own Peeps, you will need to make your own marshmallow mixture, following a simple marshmallow recipe, then once your marshmallow mixture is complete, pipe a one inch oval shape onto sugar, then taper the end of each oval and pull upward to make a tail for the chick. Make the head by piping the marshmallow mixture on the opposite end of the tail, and pull upwards to make a beak. Once you complete each Peep, sprinkle colorful sugar on top of each chick, dip the bottoms into sugar, and decorate the head with a dot of chocolate to make the eyes.

3. Jelly Bean Bark

Rather than filling bags with Jelly Beans to put into the Easter baskets, use the Jelly Beans in a simple homemade white chocolate bark. All you have to do is melt 12 ounces of white chocolate with two teaspoons of vegetable shortening. Then, stir in about ¼ cup of Jelly Beans (any flavor), pour the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper and top with ¼ cup of Jelly Beans. You can easily transform a simple white chocolate bark into a pretty Easter treat.

2. Chocolate Covered Strawberries- Carrots

Rather than dipping strawberries in plain chocolate, transform chocolate covered strawberries into carrots for an Easter-themed treat. Melt white chocolate and add orange food coloring to make the chocolate the color of carrots. Dip strawberries into the white chocolate just as you would with regular chocolate covered strawberries. Use a skewer or Popsicle stick to draw lines horizontally across the strawberries with the orange-white chocolate coating to make the lines of a carrot on each strawberry.

1. Easter Cake Pops

Cake pops are beautiful to look at and are absolutely delicious. You can make any cake pop recipe you prefer, but a simple yellow or white cake mix with cream cheese frosting would be easiest to decorate. Place a lollipop stick into melted white chocolate, then place inside each cake pop and freeze until firm. You have a variety of decoration choices after you dip each cake pop into the candy coating. Make an Easter bunny with ink pens, Easter-themed candy corn and sprinkles. You can also decorate the outside of each cake ball like an Easter egg with dots, stripes and other shapes.

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