Hunting for Easter candy

Think outside the basket this year

Kohout's chocolate bunnies are what you wish all chocolate bunnies were: an excuse to eat good chocolate without having to share. They're solid Schokinag (a German company known for its drinking chocolate), and after you've gnawed the ears or tail, it seems really uncouth to offer to share something with teeth marks and saliva all over it, so you have no choice but to finish it yourself. Kohout also makes cute, tiny nests—chocolate-and-coconut bowls containing jellybean "eggs" from the co-op, so they don't have artificial this and that or unpronounceable preservatives—and marshmallow half-eggs, wrapped in shiny pastel foils. I peeled back the foil and took a bite. This was what I always wished I'd find inside a Cadbury: a silky, sugary whip, with just the right gumminess without being gooey. The eggs had the perfect ratio of chocolate to fluff. I found the milk chocolate to be a little cloying, but the dark chocolates were divine.

If you're a fan of sticky stuff, Golden Fig also stocks Edna's Caramels, basic brown-sugar-and-butter goodness for caramel purists, and a new line of flavored caramels from Amy Goetz, who makes Bramblewood Cottage scones and shortbread. The Bramblewood salty caramels were my favorite: the same pleasure as salty caramel ice cream, but eminently more portable. But the curried ones had nice depth, with just a hint of heat, and the ones containing actual rose petals, which I worried might veer into eau de grandma's bathroom, were just subtle enough to have a soft, floral sweetness.

Golden Fig also sells a truly tasty Peep alternative: Laura's marshmallows, handmade by a St. Peter mom. The vanilla and chocolate versions are fine—certainly fresher and fluffier than commercial marshmallows—but I found the butterscotch and raspberry flavors to be those that seemed most worthy of Laura Dhuyvetter's hours spent standing over a mixer, whipping up molten sugar. The raspberry ones, studded with seed flecks, are made with actual fruit, which, in case you've gotten used to raspberry Laffy Taffy and Jolly Ranchers, tastes a lot better than artificial raspberry flavor. The butterscotch ones have an intoxicating golden sweetness. If heaven has a smell, it might be Laura's butterscotch marshmallows. I experimented a bit to find they were just as delicious raw, toasted (in my case, via chopstick over gas stove flame), or melting into a cup of hot steamed milk.

At Golden Fig, Claire Kimmel, 2, demonstrates the proper way to eat a chocolate bunny—ears first
Jana Freiband
At Golden Fig, Claire Kimmel, 2, demonstrates the proper way to eat a chocolate bunny—ears first

I made one last trip across town, to Bellaria Bakery in St. Louis Park, where I discovered a similar spread of holiday candies. Owner Larissa LeMay, who used to run Elegant Confections and is known for her wedding cakes, offers a whole glass case full of cakes and tortes, and, between now and Easter, several hand-dipped chocolate eggs (those filled with a marshmallow-coconut mix are phenomenal) and jellybean-filled nests (white chocolate ones here). I brought home a few chocolate bunnies and holiday-themed sugar cookies and cut myself off there. I'd found enough tasty sweets to keep me hopped up till Easter. 

Golden Fig • 790 Grand Avenue •St. Paul • 651.602.0144; www.goldenfig.com

Bellaria Bakery • 4430 Excelsior Boulevard • St. Louis Park • 952.224.0303; www.bellariabakery.com

Tomasko's Candy Lane • 2070 Eagle Creek Lane • Woodbury • 651.998.1105 • candy-lane.com

Los Amigos • 2746 Blaisdell Avenue • Minneapolis • 612.871.1262

United Noodles • 2015 East 24th St. • Minneapolis • 612.721.6677

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