Natural egg dyes, braided bread, lemon shortbread and other good ideas for Easter

lemon shortbread with lemon marmalade

My Easter plans are a little slow in forthcoming this year as I’ve been distracted by our forays into making maple syrup – our newest urban homesteading project. Look for a full post from Danny soon on our backyard sugar bush adventures later; we’re giddy with our progress.

Easter is a fantastic excuse to entertain and I will definitely be gathering a few friends and family around for brunch or lunch. The boys and I had a chance to bake cookies in adorable little bunny and chick shapes and make the thumbprint shortbread cookies above.

The rest of the menu will be inspired from the archives and a few old favorites I rediscovered when putting together this round-up. Of course, maple syrup will be the spotlight ingredient of the brunch.

Perhaps you’ll find an idea or two below for your Easter table.

Naturally-dyed Easter eggs

Naturally-dyed Easter eggs

For starters, you’re going to need a pretty centerpiece of naturally-dyed Easter eggs. Is there any other way to go when one can achieve these striking hues of purple and blue? You probably already have most of these ingredients on hand (coffee, blueberries, tumeric…) so plan for a little crafting afternoon with the kids.

Ten Simple Ways to Instantly Be a Better Host

If you are entertaining for Easter, allow me to share ten very simple ways you can make a good impression on your guests and improve their experience. Granted these are minor details,  but that is the beauty of it – they are all completely doable. Your guests will leave knowing that they have been well cared for by an attentive host.

Easter egg braided bread

Easter Bunch

I adore hosting Easter Brunch, and serving up fruity cocktails, a baked ham, and fat asparagus spears. Of course, I must pull something beautiful and yeasty out of the oven or it just isn’t brunch.

The beautiful, Cardamom-Scented Braided Easter Bread pictured above is worthy of the table center whether you decide to decorate it with coloured eggs or not. A few more good ideas would be:


These Squash & Parmesan Crustless Mini Quiches are a good alternative to sweet breads if you want to add a gluten-free dish to your brunch menu.

squash mini quiche

There’s plenty more brunch ideas in last year’s round-up, and as always, the ever-lovin’ Pinterest board to peruse.

Main Menu Ideas

An elegant glazed ham is the favored main dish for this spring holiday, but here are a few more options for the non-traditionalist.


Photo by Shaina

Side Dishes

For a collection of side dishes fine enough to outshine the main dish, look no further than these simple vegetable recipes.


Peeps, chocolate and marshmallows abound at this time of the year, but I seldom stray far from citrus desserts. A family favorite is this Meyer Lemon, Cornmeal & Almond Cake, which is an ideal do-ahead dessert, and is gluten-free, as an added bonus.

lemon cake header

And for the cake-loving, chocoholics…

Easter cupcakes

It’s impossible to beat a homemade cupcake, and this combination of classic yellow cake and rich chocolate frosting is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Decorated simply with three chocolate eggs in a ‘nest’, these Easter cupcakes can be made a few days in advance and are still moist and delicious when served.

Want to simplify? These Lemon Shortbread with Meyer Lemon Marmalade  are a perfectly elegant, easy cookie that sing of spring. A friend on Instagram pointed out that they also look like small fried eggs. I guess that seals the deal.

Lemon shortbread

Lemon Shortbread with Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Is there any better pairing than rich shortbread and tangy marmalade? It's the perfect balance in these double-lemon cookies.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 48 shortbread cookies
Calories: 105kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature (1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Zest of a small Meyer lemon or 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Meyer lemon marmalade or jam of your choice


  • Preheat oven to 350F and prepare two baking sheets.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the lemon zest and the extract and mix to combine.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.
  • Roll shortbread into 1 1/2-inch balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with your palm. Repeat until all of the dough is rolled.
  • Make a small indentation in the top of each cookie ball using your thumb or finger. Spoon about a 1/4 teaspoon of marmalade into the hole.
  • Place the tray on the center rack of the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on the bottoms.
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool for five minutes on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 17mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.5mg

I’m linking up to Menu Plan Monday.

What is on the menu for the long weekend?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Aimee, I love all your Easter ideas and would love to try these cookies!!

  2. Oh wow!! This is all so much FUN for Easter 🙂 Love all that lemon too!

  3. Yet another great Easter idea! I love loooove the idea of naturally dyed Easter eggs. It’d make me feel so much better about giving them to my (future) kids or just anyone in general! The lemon is so springtime! Something I definitely need right now since I woke up to 3 inches of snow outside!!

  4. What an Easter spread! Loving all of the choices 🙂

  5. Such fantastic ideas! I’m a sucker for thumbprint cookies.

  6. Great Easter Ideas and I love the thumbprints!

  7. What a WONDERFUL Easter round-up. I am obsessed with those naturally died eggs!

  8. We aren’t hosting Easter this year but you are making me wish we were. Love these ideas! I think I’ll dye the eggs anyways with my girls and make some cupcakes to celebrate. =)
    Looking forward to reading more about your sugaring adventures, the pictures on instagram looked fantastic!!!

  9. I have a short menu plan this week as there will be a wedding on Good Friday-so my Thursday-Sunday is pretty much planned out for me. I do admire those cheerful shortbread cookies though. I think I will be making something lemony for Easter lunch at my MIL’s house.

  10. Mmmm….that shortbread looks SO good! We are going to be on vacation over Easter this year so I won’t be cooking anything special but I still want to make these!

  11. Laura Susan says

    I’m salivating reading these words… great post!

  12. Lemon Shortbread is one of my favorite things to make – so those cookies are a no-brainer for me! They are on my easter brunch menu for sure!

  13. YUM! That shortbread looks so good and so does that bread!! These are going on my Easter menu! NOW!

  14. Awesome Easter ideas! I love the fun and festivity that springtime adds to the menu 🙂

  15. A vibrant Easter menu ideas!! I love meyer lemons and I need to make marmalade with it soon before the season’s is out 🙂

  16. Christine says

    Love those nests on top of the cupcakes! I will be making those this weekend for sure…

  17. I’m a huge lemon fan so I am totally going to try those cookies. I am also intrigued by the lemon, cornmeal and almond cake!

  18. Those are some tasty ideas for Easter!

  19. Great round-up. I love the thumbprints!

  20. I’m not positive where you’re getting your info, however good topic.
    I needs to spend some time studying much more or figuring out more.
    Thank you for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

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