Jardi Chocolates owner Jocelyn Gragg makes chocolates for a benefit every year, “Make Mine Chocolate” for the Georgia House Rabbit Society, encouraging parents to buy chocolate bunnies, not real bunnies, for their kids. Food styling by Jocelyn Gragg. Photo by Chris Hunt/Special

Sweet treats for Easter feasts

Easter candy can be all about pastels. Or … maybe this is the year your Easter baskets and dessert trays will feature a more sophisticated palette.

Jocelyn Gragg, the chef and owner of Chamblee-based Jardi Chocolates, shared three Easter sweets recipes with us. The first is for her Honey Vanilla Marshmallows. These delicious bites are in such demand that she’s created thousands for the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s holiday lights celebration. Yes, if you purchased a s’mores kit there, you were roasting a handmade artisan marshmallow.

The marshmallows are a creamy white, tinted only slightly by the honey you choose. If you want them in pastel shades, add a little food coloring while you’re whipping them.

She also shared her recipe for white chocolate salami. This classic Italian or Portuguese treat usually combines high-quality chocolate with flavorings such as crumbled cookies, nuts and dried fruit. Gragg makes hers with white chocolate, flavors it with a little passion fruit juice and then combines it with butter, brined almonds and candied ginger. The result is a log from which you cut thin slices in which the chocolate looks as if it’s studded with jewels.

The third option she provided for your Easter consumption is a rich caramel sauce, to be flavored with your favorite whiskey. If a traditional coconut cake is part of your Easter meal, imagine it drizzled with this rich caramel sauce, or drizzle the sauce over one of those marshmallows for a sticky sweet treat.

While Gragg may love all these departures from traditional foil-covered Easter eggs, she doesn’t forget the bunnies.

Jardi Chocolates owner Jocelyn Gragg makes chocolates for a benefit every year, “Make Mine Chocolate” for the Georgia House Rabbit Society, encouraging parents to buy chocolate bunnies, not real bunnies, for their kids. Food styling by Jocelyn Gragg. Photo by Chris Hunt/Special
Photo: For the AJC

Gragg and her husband are bunny “parents.” In 2013, they adopted two Mini Lops, a breed of small rabbits with large floppy ears. While they are successful at having their rabbits as house pets, Gragg knows that rabbits are the companion animals most often abandoned. The temptation for a parent to give a child a bunny as an Easter gift is often followed by that bunny being discarded.

“Bunnies are not low-maintenance, they are not cuddly and their medical bills can be astronomical because there are few vets trained in rabbit care. Our closest vet lives over 90 minutes away,” said Gragg.

To encourage people to give candy rabbits and not real ones, Gragg supports the Georgia chapter of the House Rabbit Society and its campaign, “Make Mine Chocolate.” The society helps find abandoned bunnies, give them medical treatment including spaying and neutering them, and find loving homes.

To support the society’s work, JARDI Chocolates offers an Easter Bunny Adoption Box. Each box contains four or eight dark chocolate bunnies made from animal-product-free chocolate from Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate. Each bunny is filled with either passion fruit ganache or strawberry-mint ganache and speckled with pastel-colored white chocolate. The decorations are all hand applied, and the chocolates are hand filled. All profits from the sale of the boxes go to the Georgia House Rabbit Society and its rabbit house in Marietta. Order at http://jardichocolates.com.

Whiskey Caramel Sauce. Food styling by Jocelyn Gragg. Photo by Chris Hunt/Special
Photo: For the AJC

JARDI Chocolates’ Whiskey Caramel Sauce

You don’t have to make this with whiskey. Jocelyn Gragg, pastry chef and owner of JARDI Chocolates, suggests any overproof style of liquor will do. “You want something with a strong flavor, and nothing cream based. A coffee liqueur would be delicious.”

Honey Marshmallows. Food styling by Jocelyn Gragg. Photo by Chris Hunt/Special
Photo: For the AJC

JARDI Chocolates’ Honey Vanilla Marshmallows

These creamy marshmallows will upend every notion you have about how marshmallows should taste.

If, like us, you’re using packaged gelatin, two-and-a-half .25-ounce packets will yield the 2 1/2 tablespoons you need. The marshmallow mixture will become very thick as it whips and at some point may begin to strain the motor of your stand mixer. Stop beating if that happens. The marshmallows will set up fine at that point.

If you want to color your marshmallows, add food coloring when you begin to whip the mixture.

Chocolate Salami. Food styling Jocelyn Gragg. Photo by Chris Hunt/Special
Photo: For the AJC

JARDI Chocolates’ Chocolate Salami

Gragg suggests you can substitute orange, lemon or lime juice for the passion fruit juice. If you’re using those, you can skip the tablespoon of water.

Brined Roasted Almonds

Extra brined roasted almonds are delicious just as a snack. And feel free to use this method to flavor other nuts like pecans and walnuts.

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