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Taste of Home Recipe: Bunny Carrot Cakes & Cookies

We are just 10 days away from our 4th Annual Taste of Home Cooking School and 20 days away from Easter. Here is a fun recipe from the Taste of Home website that you could make for your family as an Easter treat.

Ingredients

1 tube (16-1/2 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3-3/4 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
5 to 6 tablespoons warm water
Red, yellow and green paste food coloring
Green colored sugar
1 package spice cake mix (regular size)
1-1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
18 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
4-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Brown and pink candy-coated sunflower kernels
1 tablespoon chocolate frosting

Directions:

In a large bowl, beat cookie dough and flour until combined. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut out bunny ears with floured 3-in. cookie cutters. Reroll remaining dough; cut out 1-1/2-in. carrots. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 375° for 6-8 minutes or until firm. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.

In a large bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder and warm water. Beat on high speed with a portable mixer for 10-12 minutes or on low speed with a stand mixer for 7-10 minutes until peaks form. Tint 1 cup icing pink, 1/4 cup orange and 1/4 cup green. Cover frosting with damp paper towels or plastic wrap between uses.

Pipe white outlines on bunny ears; thin remaining white icing slightly with water. Fill ears with thinned icing; let stand 30 minutes. Pipe orange outlines on carrots; fill in centers. Let stand 30 minutes.

Pipe greens carrot tops, sprinkle with colored sugar. Pipe 3 orange lines on each carrot. Using pink icing, pipe inside of bunny ears. Let dry at room temperature for several hours or until firm.

Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Fold in carrots and cinnamon.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake at 350° for 18-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a microwave, melt baking chocolate; stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in cooled baking chocolate and lemon juice until smooth.

Generously frost each cupcake with about 1/4 cup cream cheese icing. Just before serving, add bunny ears, candy-coated sunflower kernels for eyes and nose. Pipe a smile with chocolate frosting. Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes.

Editor’s Note: Find bunny cookie cutters in the 24-piece Progressive Cookie Cutter and Stencil Kit at KitchenKrafts.com. Mini carrot cookie cutters are available as part of the Easter 12-piece Mini Metal Cutter Collection from Wilton Industries, wilton.com. For a festive presentation, bake cupcakes using regular cupcake liners, then wrap the cooled cupcakes in a pretty paper liner. The ones shown on page 79 are available at etsy.com/shop/PaperNPeace. For bunny tails, attach 1/2-inch craft pompoms with a glue dot. You can also wrap the cupcake base in “edible grass,” usually available in your grocer’s candy aisle at Easter time.

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