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NATIONAL – As Easter approaches, you might be hectically trying to plan a family meal.  Well, if you need a few dessert suggestions, consider checking out the recipes listed below.

*Note: All of these recipes can be found on The New York Times Cooking page.  Links to each recipe are provided.*

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Quick(er) Desserts to Win Over the Kids

These recipes are all fairly quick options that could please even the pickiest of eaters.  So, if you are in a bit of a time crunch, one of these options might be the best fit.

Easter homemade gingerbread rabbits, carrots, chickens and eggs icing cookies. Festive holiday sweet food concept. Easter baking or decoration idea. White background, holiday concept with copy space

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Basic Sugar Cookies (makes about 54 cookies)

Sugar cookies are a staple at most holiday events, and they can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your audience.  The dough for these can also be made ahead if you are wanting to save time this weekend.


3½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

1¼ cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting, glaze, or royal icing

Edible glitter



  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In another bowl, beat together butter and sugar until the mixture is light, fluffy and pale, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl, and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add vanilla, and beat until everything is well combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.
  4. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Scrape dough out of bowl and divide it in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap, patting into a 1-inch-thick disk.  Chill at least 2 hours and up to 5 days.
  6. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll out dough, one disk at a time, on lightly floured parchment paper or work surface until it’s about ⅛ inch thick.  Create shapes.  If at any point the dough becomes too soft to cut and cleanly remove from parchment paper, slide it onto a cookie sheet and chill for a few minutes in the freezer or refrigerator.  Gather any dough scraps and combine them into a disk.  Roll and repeat the cookie-cutting process, chilling as necessary.
  7. Place shapes onto parchment-lined baking sheets 1 inch apart and bake until cookie edges are lightly browned with sandy, pale centers, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Cool the cookies.  Decorate with glaze/royal icing/frosting/glitter and sprinkles!
Brownies on a plate with chocolate pieces and walnuts over white wooden table with copy space

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Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies (makes about 12 brownies)

Brownies are another popular treat that can please even the choosiest family members.  And, these can appeal to all ages of the family, as they are named after an iconic Hollywood star.


½ cup cocoa

½ cup butter

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

¼ cup flour

1 cup chopped or broken-up walnuts or pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan with cocoa and stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.  Whisk in eggs, one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, nuts, and salt.  Add to the cocoa-butter mixture.  Stir until just combined.
  4. Pour into a greased 8 x 8-inch-square pan.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes.  Do not overbake; the brownies should be gooey.   Let cool, then cut into bars.
Colorful marshmallows as background, macro. Fluffy marshmallows texture close up.

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Saffron Honey Marshmallows (makes about 24 marshmallows)

When you think of Easter, you might also think of Peeps.  Well, this recipe gives you the ability to make your own, slightly sophisticated version of the sweet treats.


6 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

⅔ cup superfine sugar

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

¼ cup honey

2 large egg whites

¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Place parchment or waxed paper on the bottom and sides of a baking sheet.  If using the food coloring, combine it with the superfine sugar in a small bowl; stir or massage with your fingers until color is evenly distributed.  Sift half of the superfine sugar, with or without color, over the bottom of the pan.
  2. Finely grind 1 teaspoon granulated sugar with the saffron threads.  Place in a bowl and cover with 2 tablespoons very hot water.  When cool, cover with ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water.  Stir the gelatin into the water and let rest until the mixture becomes very thick.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the remaining 2 cups granulated sugar, honey and ½ cup water, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.  While mixing, carefully pour the 240-degree sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl in a slow and steady drizzle.  Continue whisking until the mixture has cooled slightly, about 2 minutes.  Scrape in the gelatin mixture.  Continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken and quadruples in volume, about 10 minutes.  Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Sift the remaining superfine sugar over the marshmallows.  Allow marshmallows to set for 4 hours or overnight at room temperature.
  5. Use cookie cutters or a knife to cut marshmallows into shapes or squares.
Ingredients for Easter cookies recipe

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Easter Egg Nest Cake (makes about 8 servings)

While this cake requires a bit more effort in the kitchen, its fun design brings a sense of nature to the table.  This is a good option for those who eat with their eyes as well as their mouths.


8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened

8 ounces chocolate, melted

6 large eggs – 2 whole, 4 separated

½ cup plus ⅓ cup superfine sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(Separated) 4 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled

Approximately 1 cup small candy eggs, like Robin’s Eggs


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. For the cake: Stir butter into chocolate, reheating mixture to incorporate butter if needed, and let cool.  In a medium bowl, whisk 4 egg whites until foamy.  Gradually add ½ cup sugar and whisk until whites hold their shape but are not too stiff.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with ⅓ cup of sugar and vanilla until combined.  Stir in chocolate to mix.
  4. In three additions, fold whites into chocolate mixture.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake rises, cracks and center is no longer wobbly.
  5. Cool cake on a wire rack (middle will sink and the sides will crack).  Carefully remove cake from pan and place it on serving plate.
  6. For icing, whip cream with vanilla until it is firm but not stiff.  Fold in other melted chocolate.  Fill top of cake with icing, easing it out gently toward edges.  Arrange candy eggs on top.

Other Easter Cake Options

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

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Classic Carrot Cake (makes 8-12 servings)

The Easter Bunny will love this tried-and-true take on his favorite treat, and your family may, as well.


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened

½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola or safflower oil

4 large eggs

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

3¾ cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

½ cup shredded coconut, optional

Toasted finely chopped nuts and/or toasted coconut, for topping, optional


  1. For the cake: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour three 9-inch round, 2-inch deep cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.  In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.
  3. Beat the sugar and oil together until smooth.  Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother.  Gently stir in the flour mixture – mix only until the dry ingredients disappear.  Just as gently, stir in the chunky ingredients.
  4. Divide the batter among the baking pans and slide the pans into the oven.  Bake the cakes for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back at the midway point.  The cakes are properly baked when a knife inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean; the cakes will just start to come away from the edges.  Transfer the pans to cooling racks, cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool to room temperature.
  5. For the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth.  Beat in the lemon juice or extract.
  6. If you’d like to have coconut in the filling, scoop out about ½ of the frosting and stir the coconut into this portion.
  7. To frost the cake, place one layer of the cake, right-side up, on a cardboard round or a cake plate.  If you’ve added coconut to the frosting, use half of coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer.  Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer.  Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake top-side down.  Frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting.  Top with the last layer, right-side up and use the plain frosting to cover the top – and the sides, if you want – of the cake.  Finish the top layer with swirls of frosting.  If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle on these ingredients now, while the frosting is soft.  Slide the cake into the refrigerator for 15 minutes, just to set the frosting.
  8. Serving: The cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set.  It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper, overnight.  The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and, while it’s good plain, it’s better with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or even some lemon curd with a little whipped cream folded in.
Traditional Easter sweet bread or cakes with white icing and sugar decor, colored eggs and cherry blossom tree branch over white table. Various Spring Easter cakes. Happy Easter day. Selective focus.

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Flourless Carrot Cake (makes 10-12 servings)

This is an alternative for the aforementioned cake, if you want a slightly healthier take.


1½ cups unsalted toasted almonds

¼ cup raw brown (turbinado) sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

⅛ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

4 large eggs

⅓ cup organic white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups finely grated carrots


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle.  Oil a 9-inch springform pan, and line it with parchment.  Lightly oil the parchment.
  2. Combine the almonds and the turbinado.  Blend until the almonds are finely ground.  Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon zest, and stir.
  3. Beat the eggs until thick.  Add the organic sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is thick and forms a ribbon when lifted from the bowl with a spatula.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the almond mixture and the carrots in three alternating additions, and slowly beat or fold in each time.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan.  Place in the oven and bake one hour until firm to the touch and beginning to pull away from the pan.  A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and carefully remove the spring form ring.  Allow the cake to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic.
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Orange Sour Cream cake with Blueberry Compote (makes 6-8 servings)


1½ cups sifted cake flour

¾ cup sugar

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

Grated rind of 1 orange

½ teaspoon salt

4 ½ ounces butter, at room temperature

½ cup sour cream

3 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon orange extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter, softened, for the pan

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

(Separate) ½ cup sugar

4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon elderberry essence, optional

Pinch of salt


  1. To prepare the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, orange rind, and salt.  Cut butter into small pieces and add to bowl.  Mix until crumbly.
  2. Add ¼ cup sour cream.  Mix until smooth and paste-like.  Scrape bowl and add remaining ¼ cup sour cream and egg yolks.  Beat for 1 minute.  Scrape bowl and add orange extract and vanilla extract.  Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 more minute.
  3. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan, and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit.  Scrape batter into pan, and smooth with a spatula.  Bake until top is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cool.
  4. To prepare compote: In a medium glass, enameled or other nonreactive saucepan, combine lemon juice, cornstarch, and separated sugar.  Mix until smooth.  Add blueberries, vanilla extract, elderberry essence, and salt.  Stir gently to mix.  Place over medium-low heat, and simmer just until liquid thickens, and blueberries darken in color.  Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl.
  5. To serve, remove cake from pan.  Slice, and serve topped with blueberry compote.
Easter Sweet Bread Twists with Colorful Easter Eggs

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Special Sweet Treats

Ingredients for Easter cookies recipe

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Almond-Lemon Macaroons (makes about 30 cookies)

These historic treats are also known as Almendrados.  They are a fairly simple dessert to make, and their smaller size might encourage you and your family to keep reaching for more.


2 cups whole blanched almonds, plus about 30 almonds for decoration

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon


  1. Grind 2 cups almonds very finely.  Add ¾ cup sugar, the egg and lemon zest, and mix to make a cohesive dough.   Transfer to a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick liner.  Place remaining ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Pinching off pieces of dough about the size of a walnut, roll them first into balls, then into sugar.  Gently press an almond point first into top of each cookie, so that half the almond can be seen.  Arrange cookies one inch apart on baking sheet.
  4. Bake until cookies have barest hint of color but still remain soft, 8 to 10 minutes.  (Cookies must be soft when removed from oven to avoid excess hardening when they cool.)  Cool completely, and store in an airtight container.
Easter eggs and Easter home decor yellow bunnies on a light background

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Sedgemoor Easter Biscuits (makes about 18 cookies)

This British “biscuit,” or cookie, has religious ties to the Easter holiday.  These cookies are often given in sets of three to represent the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).


¾ cup dried currants

2 tablespoons brandy

¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

⅔ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

4 ounces unsalted butter, slightly softened

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

4 teaspoons milk


  1. Place currants in small bowl, add brandy and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Mix flours and salt.  Dice butter, add to bowl and mix until blended with flour to make a crumbly mixture.  Whisk sugar and spices together and add to bowl.  Add egg, ½ teaspoon vanilla, currants, and brandy, and mix just until clumps of dough start to form.  Turn dough out on work surface.  Knead briefly to smooth.
  3. Roll out about ⅜-inch thick. Use a 2½-inch-round cutter to cut rounds.  Reroll scraps. Place rounds on baking sheet.  Bake about 25 minutes, until lightly browned.
  4. Transfer cookies to a rack.  Mix confectioners’ sugar with milk and remaining vanilla, and brush on warm cookies.  When glaze has set, brush on a second coat.  Allow to cool completely.  If desired, wrap in packages of three and tie with pastel ribbon.
Easter Lunch with Roast Pork, Vegetables, Easter Cookies and Easter Cake

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Swiss Easter Rice Tart (makes 8-10 servings)

This unique dessert is often served in Switzerland for Easter.  You might enjoy trying it if you are looking to deviate from the usual cakes and cookies.


1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, more for dusting

1 tablespoon plus ½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

11 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, in 11 slices

½ cup long-grain rice

3 cups milk

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

½ cup blanched almonds, finely ground

3 large eggs

Confectioners’ sugar


  1. Combine 1½ cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and the baking powder.  Add 10 tablespoons butter and mix until butter is in pea-size pieces.  Sprinkle in 3 tablespoons cold water.  Mix.  Dough will not come together.  Turn dough out on lightly floured work surface and knead gently a few times to form a disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, half fill a 3-quart saucepan with water, bring to a boil, stir in rice, lower heat to medium and cook until rice is soft, about 15 minutes.  Drain rice and return it to saucepan.  Add milk, remaining butter, ½ cup sugar and remaining salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture has thickened almost to a risotto consistency, about 25 minutes.
  3. Place saucepan in a large bowl of ice and water 10 minutes, to cool mixture to tepid.  Purée.  Pour into a bowl and add lemon zest.  Mix ground almonds with 1 tablespoon flour and add to bowl.  Stir in eggs one at a time.
  4. Place oven rack in lowest position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove pastry from refrigerator and place on lightly floured surface.  Lightly dust top with flour.  Use a rolling pin to press down on dough to soften it.  Roll out disk to 12 inches in diameter.  Transfer to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Press dough evenly into pan.  Trim edges flush with pan.  Pour filling into pastry.
  5. Bake about 35 minutes, until filling is set and golden.  Dust with sifted confectioners’ sugar before serving.


Find more New York Times Cooking recipes here.