For the past 3 years now, I’ve hosted Easter lunch for my family. My first year was a disaster, my second was uber stressful, but my third one was a total charm! I think the main difference is that this year I spent a week collecting inspiration from Pinterest and prepping & planning in advance. I cleaned on Friday, cooked a majority of the food on Saturday and then spent the 1 hour I have between church and family arriving, heating things up and cooking the mushy dishes (ya know those ones like green been cass that must cook the day of!). My secret ingredient this year was totally Pinterest. I made an “Easter” board and pinned all of my recipes and centerpiece ideas in advance. Have I told you recently how much I love Pinterest? Well, I’ll use this post to prove it. Here are my top 4 pins that made my family’s Easter lunch a big hit!
1. Easter Table Centerpiece
2. Lemon Raspberry Coffee Cake from BHG.com
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Powdered sugar for topping (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat 1 cup of sugar and the butter with a mixer on medium to high until combined. Then add 1 egg and the vanilla and beat on low to medium for 1 minute. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk (I used 2% milk instead!) to sugar mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
Tip: While you’re mixing the ingredients in Step 1 or during your prep phrase, grease a round cake pan AND line with parchment paper. Nothing bums me out more than when I can’t get a cake out of the pan and then when I do, I’ve lost half the bottom. I’ve wasted many a tears on this… so line the pan people, it really works. To be extra safe, I even spray some of my girl Pam on the parchment paper and sprinkle a little flour. Probably overkill, but hey… it works!
3. For the cheesecake filling (yes, this has a delish little surprise in the middle!) beat the cream cheese and the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium to high until combined. Add lemon peel and the remaining egg and beat until all mixed up.
4. Then spoon half the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread it to the pan edges. Pour the cheesecake filling over batter and then dollop the remaining batter on filling. This is a little hard but try to spread the batter across the top as much as possible.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and then remove from oven, gently press raspberries into cake and bake 25 to 30 minutes more. For some reason my raspberries were completely sucked down into the cake, so I added some to the top after it cooled a little. Once completely cooled, I sprinkled the top with a little powdered sugar.
TADA! Since this wasn’t the main desert for Easter (my mom makes an AMAZING coconut cake!), I went ahead and did a little taste test. It’s simply amazing! It’s light, fluffy, sweet and fresh.
3. Easter Thumbprint Cookies
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Chocolate Topping:
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 1 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Beat in the flour slowly until the dough has formed.
2. Roll a teaspoonful of dough into balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Then remove from the oven and either press your thumb into the center of the balls or use a tool to do so – since the cookies are pretty hot.
3. Place the cookies back in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool completely before adding chocolate topping.
4. For the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then pour the chocolate into the cookie’s thumbprint. To make these Eastery, simply add a Easter M&M! I used peanut-butter M&M’s!
4. Worlds Best Dinner Rolls
2 c. whole milk
½ c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/3 c. (5 1/3 Tbsp.) butter
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.)
2/3 c. warm (105-115-degree) water
8-9 c. all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs
1. Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Once melted, place saucepan in a large bowl of ice cubes. I’m so happy the gals over at Our Best Bites shared this ice cube tip, as it’s critical in ensuring the heat doesn’t kill the yeast in step two.
2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. This is the most important step in this recipe – if your yeast doesn’t bubble, then you’ll need to repeat this step. I let mine sit for a little while and as you can see it actually doubles!
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and the milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Then add beaten eggs.
4. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be pretty soft… it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your fingers. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a towel, allowing to rise for 1 hour.
5. After 1 hour punch down dough. Divide dough in half and place on your lightly floured work surface.
6. Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. Another good tip from the gals at Our Best Bites, was to use a pizza cutter – worked like a charm! After cutting, shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.
7. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go, preheat oven to 375. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown. Once done, I then rubbed each roll with cold butta! Fresh from the oven, these are truly life-changing!
By far the best home made rolls I’ve ever made and ever had! That’s a big statement.
So after a full day of cooking, we had a ton to eat on Easter Sunday: Turkey, Ham, Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Deviled Eggs, Rolls and last but certainly not least a delish Coconut cake that my mom made!
I also tried a new turkey recipe this year from Ina Garten. I will definitely be making this again next year!
So what did I do with all of the extra time I had? An Easter egg hunt with my niece, of course! Isn’t she precious!