This recipe was given to me almost 13 years ago when I was a new Mom. This is a precious way to teach children about the true meaning of Easter. I hope you will share this with your children, too.
1 cup pecans (miniature chocolate chips may be substituted if there is a nut allergy)
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
hand mixer or stand mixer
1. Preheat your oven to 300.
2. Place pecans (or you may use mini-chocolate chips) in zip-top bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, the Roman soldiers beat him. (Read John 19:1-3) "Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged(beaten). The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again saying, "hail, king of the Jews!" and they struck him in the face."
3. Let each child smell the vinegar before putting it into a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, he was given the vinegar to drink. (Read John 19:28-30) "Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I AM THIRSTY." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of a hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
4. Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life! (Read John 10:10-11) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
5. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers and the bitterness of our own sin. (Read Luke 23:27) "A large number of people followed him, including women, who mourned and wailed (cried) for him."
6. Add sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know him and belong to Him. (Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16) "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." and "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. That whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
7. Beat egg white mixture with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. (Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3) "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." and "Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him. In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
8. Fold in broken nuts or chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. (Read Matthew 27:57-60) "As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away."
9. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. (Read Matthew 27:65-66) "Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how. So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
10. Go to bed. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers felt despair when the tomb was sealed too. (Read John 16:20-22) "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you; Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."
11. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. He is risen! He is risen indeed! (Read Matthew 28:1-9) "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. the guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples; ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him. Now I have told you." So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him."