Sunny shades of yellow and pink flowers create zest and set the mood for a joyful Easter day. The Easter Egg Tree is a centuries-old celebration of spring that immigrants brought to America from Switzerland, Germany, and the Ukraine.
Add pizzazz to your Easter table with sweet sugar baskets. Crafting with sugar can be easier than you think. By using regular granulated sugar you can create unique gifts. Just use a round cereal or dip bowl for the basket mold.
Here’s What You Need:
*Round cereal bowl, 3 1/2-inch to 5-inch diameter are perfect sizes
* Recipe for Pressed Sugar
* Recipe for Royal Icing Glue
* Poster paper strips, 12-inches long by 1-inch wide for handles
* Ribbon, 1 1/2-inch wide, about 12-inches for a bow and 36-inches for the handle,
a total of 48-inches of ribbon per basket
* Silk flowers, optional
* Hot glue
* Corn Starch
* Stiff piece of cardboard, 6-inch square works well
Here’s What To Do:
1. Make a recipe of pressed sugar. One recipe of sugar makes about four 3 1/2-inch bowls. Cover the sugar with a damp cloth as you work because it dries quickly. Rub the inside of the bowl with cornstarch and shake out any excess before adding the sugar.
2. Fill the bowl with the sugar mixture, rounding on top so you have enough sugar to press down. Place a piece of cardboard (6-inch square) over the top and press down to pack solidly. It is important to pack the sugar solidly. Holding the cardboard over the top, invert the mold onto a cookie sheet. Pull the cardboard out from under the mold very slowly.
3. Remove the bowl (mold) very carefully. Once the mold has been removed, do not touch the sugar. They are fragile and soft at this point, so be very careful. The drying time will vary due to the temperature and humidity. As the sugar dries, it will form a thin shell. This usually takes 6 to 8 hours (or overnight). I usually make mine one night and scrape them early the next morning.
4. When the outside shell has hardened to 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thickness, it is time to scoop out the sugar in the center. Using a teaspoon, carefully scrape the excess sugar, leaving a hollow sugar shell. Place the sugar shell (hollow side up) on a cookie sheet and allow the inside to dry. After the shells have dried, use your fingers to rub out any excess or loose sugar. The sugar that is scooped out of the molds can be saved in a ziploc bag and reused. To reuse just add a little water (about 3 1/2 cups of sugar to 2 teaspoons of water).
5. Make the handle by taking one of the paper strips and wrapping with 36-inches of ribbon. Hot glue one end of the ribbon to one end of the paper strip. Then wrap the ribbon around the strip and glue again at the other end. Take the ribbon handle strip and bend up each end about 1/2-inch. Hot glue the bent up handle ends to the brim of the sugar bowl shell.
6. Make a recipe of Royal Icing Glue. One recipe of icing will decorate about six 3 1/2-inch bowls. Using 1 to 2 drops of food coloring you can make the icing a pale pink or lavender color. Let your color scheme determine the icing and ribbon color. A little food coloring goes a long way since the color dries a little darker.
7. Fill the decorator tool with icing and trim the rims of the baskets with the piped icing covering where the handles are attached. A scallop motif piped around the basket also looks nice.
8. Let the icing dry and then hot glue a bow to the handle and fill the basket with Easter grass and candy eggs.
* In a hurry and don’t want to make the Royal Icing Glue? Then just make the sugar bowls, ribbon handles and hot glue silk flowers to the brim of the basket.
Recipe for Pressed Sugar
3 1/2 cups of granulated sugar (we love Domino’s)
1 large egg white, room temperature
Mix the sugar and egg white in a bowl and whisk until the egg white is thoroughly incorporated into the sugar. The sugar will look damp.
Recipe for Royal Icing Glue
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
Beat egg whites and water until foamy. Add sugar and beat until fluffy with soft peaks. This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of icing. If it is not stiff enough, just add a little more sugar. If it is too stiff, add a little water, 1 teaspoon at a time. It dries quickly, so keep the icing covered with a damp cloth while you are working, and do not make too far ahead.
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