COPY-Sugary staples transform Easter desserts

BOSTON (RNN) - Delicious seasonal treats like Cadbury Mini Eggs and Peeps are lining store shelves. You can use them as inspiration or toppings for some colorful, season treats.

"The weather is warming up outside and iced coffee is brewing," said pastry chef Meghan McGarry who manages the Buttercream Blondie blog. "Now it's time to bring the colors of spring into your kitchen."

The pastry chef has taken two traditional spring desserts - cheesecake and marshmallows - and reinvented them with glamorous makeovers.

Cheesecake made simple

McGarry's first Easter dessert is inspired by her favorite seasonal candy: Cadbury Mini Eggs.

"Cadbury Mini Eggs are just synonymous with Easter," McGarry says of her inspiration. "They come in pretty pastel colors, which make you smile. My favorite is the pink."

Instead of taking the easy way out with a cookie, McGarry decided to add the candy to a cheesecake.

Since the weather is heating up,  McGarry chose a less-involved route to make the dessert, trading in her springform pan for a square baking pan in order to maximize her time outside of her Boston-area home.

Crushed-up Cadbury Mini Eggs fill both the cookie crust and cheesecake of her dessert. The candy is the centerpiece, and it never overwhelms.

"It's a cookie and a cheesecake, so the little portion of a bar is just enough," McGarry explains.

The pastry chef says the bars are perfect for any Easter party, because you don't have to go through the messy process of slicing and plating a cake.

"All you have to do is pop them out and put them on a platter," McGarry says. "The cleanup is easy."

McGarry recommends giving the cheesecake bars a little extra flair with some food coloring.

"I tinted some of the cheesecake batter pink and swirled it on top of the bars, so it would appear extra springy," she said.

These aren't your store-bought Peeps

Last year, McGarry created her most beloved makeover of all time: Glamour Peeps.

"When I was a child, my mom put a white chocolate bunny in my Easter basket, but I couldn't eat it, because it was so cute," McGarry says. "But I never had a problem eating Peeps. As an adult and chef, I felt like they could be even better than I remembered if I made them on my own."

This year, McGarry's taking her handmade peeps to a whole new level thanks to a little help from food coloring and disco dust.

"You can add food coloring to them to make them your favorite color," she said. "Obviously some of mine are always pink."

McGarry finished her new and improved Glamour Peeps 2.0 with shiny disco dust, a non-toxic product she buys at pastry supply stores for cake decorating. Sanding sugar can be used as an alternative.

"Once the marshmallows settle overnight, I brush them with a very small amount of water on them, and I brush on some disco dust," she says. "I use disco dust, because it's an extension of my personality. I like to make things sparkle."

The peeps are formed with homemade marshmallows and a piping bag. The process is easily explained by the instructional video on McGarry's blog. In front of the camera, you can see the pastry chef's inspirations really come to life.

"People may think it's a scary thing to do, but it's not," McGarry says. "It's just one of those things you have to let go and try."

A look ahead

McGarry has tipped the Raycom News Network off to an exciting new Easter cupcake makeover, which will be unveiled next week on Buttercream Blondie.

"There's always something more for me to try," she says of her recipe. "I always have to stretch my limits."

In the coming weeks, McGarry's blog, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, will be going through a little makeover of its own.

"Be on the lookout for my redesign," McGarry said. "The new, user-friendly site will make you even more inspired to get in the kitchen and start baking."

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