By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: April 13, 2019 | 8:05 a.m.
Once upon a time, the approach of Easter made thoughts turn to little girls in patent leather shoes with lacy anklets, white gloves and beribboned hats. They’d be clutching the likewise-gloved hands of their mothers, who generally would be wearing big, flower-bedecked hats and fancy corsages as they made their way to church. Afterward, there would be family feasts of all the wonderful traditional Easter favorite dishes. And finally, FINALLY, everyone would go outside, find a patch of early spring-green grass, and enjoy the long-anticipated Easter Egg Hunt.
Well, now the gloves and Easter bonnets may mostly reside in fading black and white photographs, but I was vividly reminded a few years ago that the tradition of sharing special Easter-themed treats is alive and well. That was when a dear friend invited me to help bag homemade Easter goodies for the patients and staff in an extended elder-care facility. The thought of the happy faces of those people receiving cheery, colorful, Easter treats prepared especially for them always makes me smile. And this year, it inspired me to share a different kind of recipe with you. So let’s make some Bunny Bait!
First, let me say that this is particularly simple to make, and requires very little time – two things that anyone who knows me at all knows that I love to make – and share! Second, while the numbers, types, and amounts of each ingredient in this Bunny Bait are listed right down to the ounce, there’s no reason to get hung up on that. Because, while this is absolutely delicious – and so colorful! – just as it is, with a little creativity, you may find that by making a few simple adjustments to add ingredients that your family particularly likes, this treat may become a family tradition to rival the Easter Egg Hunt! Depending on what you like – or have on hand – you easily can vary Bunny Bait into something uniquely yours.
Fun, colorful ingredients all ready to be doused in chocolate.
Ultimately, the mix itself is somewhat reminiscent of the ubiquitous Chex Mix your Grandma used to make, but it’s prettier, has yummy sweetness mixed in with the saltiness, and, well, it’s CHOCOLATE! And who doesn’t love chocolate?
So here are the (VERY) simple directions. For tools you’ll only need a jelly roll pan (or a cookie sheet with sides), some parchment paper, a couple of wooden spoons, and a medium size microwave-safe bowl or beaker. Line your sheet pan with the parchment and layer your popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, rice squares and M&Ms (or whatever other munchies you’re using) on it. Carefully melt the chocolate in the microwave for no more than 40 seconds at a time, stirring between. It’s easy to do, but chocolate can burn if you try to “cook” it too long with once burst. Don’t let that intimidate you. As long as you use small increments of time – dropping down to as little as 10 seconds for the last couple of bursts – you’ll be fine.
The next part was a big surprise to me, as I was expecting that we’d end up with big, chunky clusters – popcorn balls. Nope. You just pour that melted white chocolate in ribbons around the top of all the other ingredients and quickly stir it together like tossing a salad. I recommend using big, wooden spoons, as they won’t cool down the chocolate as quickly as metal, and you want all of the pieces to get a little chocolate covering, but not stick together.
Now for the best part – taste it! With the listed ingredients, you’ll get a “salty/sweet” taste, although with some alteration of your initial ingredients you can radically alter that in either direction. But before going too far astray, remember that one of the finishing touches is a list dusting of powdered sugar. You don’t want to add enough to coat the mix and make it snow-white. Just dust it, toss it,then dust some more, tasting between, until you achieve the taste balance you like. How easy was that?
Honestly, I never was a fan of the sweet and salty mix thing myself, generally preferring either one or the other. Well, now I’m a convert! This Bunny Bait is absolutely delicious, and couldn’t possibly be easier to make, and the finishing touch of colorful sprinkles makes it as pretty as it is tasty. In fact, if you’re going with a special color theme, you can even use colorful chocolate melts – sold in the party/reception/bridal section of many stores – if you want to serve a yellow or pink or blue or green – or even mixed “unicorn” bowl of yummy goodness!
What could be simpler – or more special – than homemade Bunny Bait Bag treats.
And that’s all there is to it! Now you’re all ready to put together festive bowls or baskets of festive “munchies” for friends and family to enjoy while waiting for the feast, or as a pick-up dessert while lolling in the shade afterward. Or you might just want to share the joy by bagging up some treats for neighborhood kids, special teachers, shut-ins – anyone you’d like to make feel a little bit special. However you use this Bunny Bait, it’s almost guaranteed to bring on smiles – yours, and theirs. Happy Easter!
Queenie Cooks: Bunny Bait
- 5 ounce bag Popcorn with Sea Salt
- 6 ounces Rice Squares
- 1 pound jar dry roasted peanuts with sea salt
- 4 ounces pretzel sticks
- 1 (12 ounce) bag Easter Color M&Ms
- 1 pound melting white chocolate (or pink, or blue, or yellow, or…)
- ¼ to 1 Cup powdered sugar
- 1 jar Easter Color sprinkles
Line large jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides with parchment paper.
Layer first six ingredients on paper.
Melt white chocolate in microwave, 40 seconds at a time, stirring between, until smooth.
Pour melted chocolate over all and, with wooden spoons, stir mix together to make a light, even coating – no clumps.
Sift powdered sugar on top and toss until mixture reaches desired sweet-salty blend.
Add sprinkles. Store in a cool place.
NOTE: Amounts (and types) of ingredients may be adjusted according to taste.
Look for Queenie Cooks every week online and in the Sussex Surry Dispatch and other local papers for food-related recipes, stories, information, and fun. You never know what Queenie may be cooking up, but you can always count on at least one great recipe to try at home, generally for something you can prepare quickly, easily, and with just a few, common ingredients. Hey! We all have to eat. Let’s have some FUN with it!