Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Symbols :: Handcrafted Candy for Easter


I mentioned, in my post on Catholic Easter Basket Ideas, that I was planning on making the candy for my children's Easter Baskets this year.  We have always included a Candy Cross in their baskets, but this year I thought it would be fun to tie in as many Easter Symbols I could, and then include a little homemade "coloring book" in their basket explaining each of the symbols .  I spent a little time the other afternoon getting started and thought I would share a few pictures. Unless you have Amazon Prime 2-day shipping, it might be hard to get any of these molds in time for Easter, but you can always keep these Easter Symbols in mind when looking for candy at the store!

~ Cross ~ 

The cross is perhaps the best known of all Christian symbols.  In the ancient Church the cross was usually depicted without the figure of Christ. It was adorned and decorated as a symbol of the victory Christ won through His suffering. For the ancient world it was a symbol of humiliation, but for Christians it was a symbol of victory and glory. In Christian art, the figure of the suffering Christ was added to the cross only in medieval times. ~ Immaculate Conception Parish

On the very first two that I made (pictured at the top of this post), and you can see that the green leaves ran a little bit.  I still though that they turned out pretty!  To add the color, I used a toothpick to carefully fill in the leaves and flowers.

After the colors had hardened I filled the rest of the mold with the melted white candy. 

I love that I have the option of personalizing the crosses, choosing a different color flower for each of my children!  I made white chocolate crosses for my girls (yes, I made one for myself too!) and still need to make the brown chocolate crosses for my boys.   You can find all sorts of Cross shaped molds, but here is the link to the one that I used for these chocolates.   

I made these Cross Lollipops using the 2-1/4-Inch Cross Sucker Chocolate Mold. You can usually find Chocolate Crosses pre-made at some stores as well!


~ Lamb ~

We refer to Christ as "The Lamb of God," and "The Paschal Lamb," because he was sent as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.  We also lovingly refer to Him as "The Good Shepherd," since He is our Shepherd and told Peter to feed His sheep.

Although mixing colors adds such a pretty touch, it does take a little bit of time.  I made these little white Lambs in a matter of seconds with some of the leftover candy from the crosses above.  Didn't they turn out cute?!?  

Like the crosses, there are many lamb molds to choose from, and you could even use the little lambs included in the Nativity mold which I posted about last Christmas.  Here is the link to the lamb mold I used to make the lambs pictured above.   

Lindt Chocolate Lambs are a cute and delicious store bought alternative.



~ Bread of Life ~

Bread and Wine/Wheat and Grapes: Because of the bread and wine they produce, the symbols of wheat and grapes are often used to designate the Eucharist. Bread is the basic food of every culture and of every age in human history. Made from the toil of human hands, the many grains of wheat are transformed and become one to nourish and sustain us. A meal, in which bread is broken and shared, becomes a means of bonding human beings together. This is the sign Jesus used to describe Himself as the "Bread of Life." Following His command, in faith we take and eat this Bread, His Body, and become one with Him."  From ancient times wine is associated with banquets, joy and celebration, a gift of God to gladden our hearts. The grapes, like the grains of wheat used for bread, are fruits of the earth and give of themselves in order that we might celebrate and be glad. This sign which Jesus used for His Blood, speaks to us of giving and of sacrifice in order that we might enjoy the benefits of His love in the banquet which is the foretaste of heavenly joy.

IHS: IHS stands for the first three letters of the name Jesus in Greek.


I'm updating this post to include the "Bread of Life" candies I ended up making as well, using a Communion Chocolate Mold.  A number of other variations, including a smaller version of this mold, are also available. 


~ Lily ~


The lily represents purity, chastity, innocence, and St. Gabriel's trumpet, and is a symbol of Our Lady and used to depict the purity of the Saints, especially SS. Joseph, Francis, Clare, Anthony of Padua, and Catherine of Siena. In America, it has become, too, a symbol of the Resurrection. Legend says that lilies originated with Eve's tears when the first couple was banished from the Garden of Eden. Other legend says that they sprang up from the ground when drops of blood fell to the foot of the Cross. It is interesting that these two legends exist, because Christ, the New Adam, wipes away the tears of the children of Eve who became the children of Mary when Christ gave her to us, through John, from the Cross. Mary herself is symbolized also by another lily, lilium candidum, or the Madonna Lily.  ~ Fisheaters

These sweet little Lily Lollipops were made using this mold.   I also have the non-lollipop version as well, and plan on making a batch of them for Easter too.  You can find many other options here.  I used Charlotte's suggestion and added a dab of yellow to the center with a toothpick.   So pretty and soooo easy!! 


~ Egg ~

The egg is like Jesus’ tomb. It is enclosed, it is quiet, and it seems lifeless. Yet within an egg, the promise of new life is waiting to burst forth. Jesus’ tomb was like an egg until early on Easter when Jesus rose up to a new and glorious life.  ~ Catechist.com

See's Chocolate Butter Easter Egg with Pecans

Now, there are all sorts of Easter Egg Candy Molds available for making your own candy eggs, but I decided to just purchase this symbolic candy for my children's baskets.  There are just too many yummy options available!  My favorites are the Decorated Eggs from See's and the Cadbury Mini Eggs, my husband loves the solid Chocolate Eggs from Hersheys, and our kids are happy with just about anything!



Update:  I ended up purchasing these adorable Hollow Eggs with a White Chocolate Chick inside from See's.   They were only about $1.00 each, and my children LOVED them!




~ Butterfly ~

Butterflies are an apt symbol of the day's meaning. Beginning life as lowly humble caterpillars, they "entomb" themselves in cocoons only to emerge with jewel-colored wings and the ability to soar. What better symbol of the Resurrection -- except maybe for eggs, which had always been symbols of Spring and were items of wonderment to all -- an inanimate object out of which comes life. For Christians, they became the perfect symbol of the tomb Christ conquered.  ~ Fisheaters 

I opted to use one of the very first chocolate molds I ever purchased (a few Easters ago), the Wilton Butterfly Pretzel Mold!  I won't be making these until just before Easter, but here is a picture of the ones the girls and I made back in 2008.   You can find quite a few additional options here


~ Peacock ~

"It was once believed that the flesh of the peacock never corrupts, so peacocks became the classic symbol of immortality. They are an ancient Christian symbol of the Resurrection, and representations of them are found on the tombs of ancient Christians as an expression of their hope to follow Christ in His defeat of death. " ~ Fisheaters

I found this Peacock Chocolate Mold on ebay, though I am still waiting for it to arrive.  If it doesn't arrive in time for Easter, these candies would make a fun addition to the last Good Shepherd's Garden Party


~ Bells ~

"In countries like France and Italy the bells are silent from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday.  In Germany and central Europe even the bells on farm buildings are still, though they begin to ring again on Holy Saturday.   With the bells silent, the farm people of the Middle Ages felt uneasy.  So, to comfort themselves and their children, they would say, "The bells have flown to Rome, but they'll come back on Easter."  ~  Lilies, Rabbits, and Painted Eggs: The Story of The Easter Symbols

In France and Belgium, it is these bells, not the Easter bunny, that bring the Easter eggs!

 
These pretty chocolate bells are sold at Ladurée in Paris, France!


Here are the ones we made this year, using the  1-Inch 3-D Bell Chocolate Mold, though there are many other options available as well.

Be sure to let me know if you end up trying any of these!

Update:  Charlotte has created a great little Easter Symbols Booklet to go along with these Easter Candies!

18 comments:

  1. Love the homemade candies, but now I'm curious if the Easter Bunny brings your baskets or not. Just wondering the logistics with children around if he does indeed visit your house!! ;-)

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  2. oh, those crosses are just lovely!! I am trying my hand at making some candy this year, I hope it turns out as nice as yours!!!!

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  3. Beautiful Jessica! So jealous of your candy making skills!!

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  4. Anne-Marie ~ It WAS a bit of a challenge to keep these a surprise! Thankfully one of my daughters has a birthday coming up this next week, so I sent the kids outside to play while I made a treat for the party, in addition to all these candies. :) It doesn't take that long to make them... Waiting for them to set (so I can use the mold again) takes the longest, and so I wasn't able to get them all done. I plan on finishing them up one night, sometime this next week, after our kids are in bed. Oh, and I need to make sure that they don't see this blog post! ;)

    As for the Easter Bunny... We do own a sweet book called The First Easter Bunny, but my children know that it is just a story. My husband was very upset as a child when he found out that he had been "lied" to about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, etc, and refuses to lead our children to believe that the gifts they receive are from an imaginary animal/person. (At Christmas our kids, mainly the older children, know that the gifts are given to them in the spirit of St. Nicholas - we are very vague, but have never told them that they come from someone else.) My husband said that finding out that there really wasn't a Santa Claus/Easter Bunny made him wonder what other things, that he had been taught to believe, weren't true... Especially when it comes to our Faith.

    I can see his point. However, I don't have a problem with others encouraging the Easter Bunny and pretty much avoid the topic... I think it is fun to believe in imaginary things, but I also don't think that our children are missing out. In fact, I believe it shows them, in one more little way, how very much they are loved by their parents.

    Our Easter Celebration is still filled with so very much JOY and EXCITEMENT as our children find their Easter Baskets filled with gifts and treats, and hunt for eggs after Mass, regardless of where/who they came from. Does that make sense? :)

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  5. De-lurking to tell you I think your candy turned out great. What brand you do use? The only time I tried making candy-molded candy, it had a chalky taste. I don't recall the brand... Thanks! Stephanie

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  6. Isabel ~ It really doesn't take any skill at all! You should give it a try. But, be careful, it is addicting!! :)

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  7. Josette ~ I'm sure yours will turn out lovely! I hope you post pictures!!

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  8. Stephanie ~ I use the Wilton Candy Melts and they are nice and creamy tasting. I prefer the white and chocolate over the colored candy. I did have a batch once that didn't taste very good, but the candy wasn't fresh (it had been open in my cupboard for awhile) and I think that made all the difference.

    I have heard good things about Guittard candy melts, but I haven't found them locally so I could try them myself.

    Also, be careful not to over heat the candy. That will ruin it as well.

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  9. Wow impressive! Where do you find the time (and energy)! I love the big crosses best (oh and the peacock)

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  10. Jessica- I like the way you are "vague" about it and so pleased it works for you. We are blessed with lots of family close by with many cousins older and younger and I don't know how we would have ever been able to start down that path. I'm totally with you that it's fun to believe in imaginary things, but I also must admit that it bums me out a bit that my husband and I go through all of the work and someone else gets the credit! ;-) Very, very beautiful candies, as are all things you blog about. You are a very inspiring lady although I can't imagine how tired you must be when your head hits the pillow!

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  11. Great idea, Jessica. One of my children has a peanut/tree nut allergy and it's always so hard to find safe chocolate. Sometimes they don't even get a chocolate bunny! By making my own I can use "safe" chocolate.

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  12. What a great idea Jessica! Thanks very much for sharing! As always, I appreciate your faith filled celebrations and am inspired to make the effort to bring more of the liturgical year to my own kiddos. God bless you and your beautiful family.

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  13. I've been reading a bit lately about bpa in plastic and have decided it is worth avoiding. I'm wondering if the molds can purchased bpa free? Also I think your pictures are just lovely as can be! I especially love the photos at the park. What precious moments!!! Praise God for his joy and contentment that radiade in your chikdren. Ahhh! So beautiful to admire:o)

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  14. I was very excited to find the Lindt lambs at Target yesterday! I have recently been dabbling with candy molds and plan to make the lilies and also some small crosses made with this mold http://www.amazon.com/CK-Products-Cross-Oval-Chocolate/dp/B003QP3ISM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1303232755&sr=8-1 though I got it for ~$2 at my local baking shop. I have been using mint chocolate flavored candy that they sell there, since sometimes the straight chocolate tastes funny. My kids have enjoyed the ones that I have made so far!

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  15. I bought a chocolate cross for Isabella's First Easter basket this year. I hope next year I can find more of the Easter symbols, as she will be getting old enough that I really want to start teaching her these Faith filled traditions.

    The more I read you blog, the more I wonder why I can barely get the laundry, dishes and cleaning done for my family of 3! You amaze me!!

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  16. want to make candy for the boys...they just are never gone...so will have to figure something out...

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  17. Hi Jessica, I read both yours and Charlotte's posts about how to create a meaningful Easter Symbol basket and was awed by you both. Also, I was keenly aware that I lacked the skills to replicate your candy making talents. So, I did look online and at Walgreens for suitable alternatives. I couldn't find a good match for each but I did what I could. Plus I added praying hands with a note stating it was us praying a prayer of thanksgiving for the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. I posted about it today and linked it back to you. Thank you and may God bless you during Holy Week!

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  18. Your candies are beautiful! I especially like the white crosses with flowers. The peacock is amazing! Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter.

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