My absolute favorite Mass is the Easter Vigil. Our senses are heightened during this Mass: seeing the darkness of the chapel gradually lit by candlelight, then flooded with all light; hearing the mournful chants of the last three days turn into joyful song with a plethora of bells and instruments; smelling the incense as it rises up to the heavens. And I love how salvation history is recounted with several readings from the Old Testament.
As a mom of little ones, therein lay my problem. There were times my younger children barely made it through regular Sunday Mass. How would we ever make it through an extended Easter Vigil?
While I was not brave enough to attempt Easter Vigil Mass with children younger than 5, I still desired a way to make the Easter story strikingly real to them.
I do not recall from whom or where I got this recipe/Easter story. For that, I apologize. I wish I could express to that person my gratitude. For in making these cookies, I have a way to share the Resurrection story with my young children that engages all five senses.
My children are growing up now. My youngest is 7. Last year was the first time we attended the Easter Vigil Mass as a family. Still, my children enjoy making these cookies at a way to anticipate the great feast of Easter. Now, I am happy to share this little treasure with you.
The following is the list of ingredients that you will need:
- 1 cup of whole pecans
- 1 teaspoon of vinegar
- 3 egg whites
- a pinch of salt
- 1 cup of sugar
- a zipper baggie
On Holy Saturday night, set out all the above ingredients, get your Bible and a roll of tape, gather up your children, and grab a bowl and wooden spoon.
First, preheat the oven to 300° F.
With your children all sitting around the table, place the pecans in the zipper baggie. Let them take turns beating the nuts with the wooden spoon in order to break them into small pieces. Set aside. Then inform them that after the Last Supper, while Jesus was praying in the garden, He was arrested and beaten by the soldiers. Then read, or have an older child read, John 19:1-3 and Is. 53:4-5.
Next, let each child smell the vinegar. Reveal that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Eww! Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar into a mixing bowl. Read John 19:28-30 or Matthew 27:34.
Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life, which is why they are a predominate symbol of Easter. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us new life. Read John 10:10b-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it. The salt represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers and the bitterness of our own sin. After adding a pinch to the mixture, read Luke 22:62 and 23:27.
So far, our ingredients are not very appetizing, are they? Get a cup of sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of this story is that Jesus died because He loves us, and He wants us to love Him, too. Read Psalm 34:8a (in some Bibles, it may be v.9a) and John 3:16.
Allow each child to beat the ingredients with a mixer on high for 12-15 minutes total, until stiff peaks are formed. Inform them that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Revelation 7:13-14.
Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Tell the children that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.
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. Disclose to them that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.
Now have the children put on their pj's and get ready for bed. They may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. They may be disappointed that they did not get to taste the goodness of the cookies. Jesus' followers were, likewise, in anguish when the tomb was sealed. Before sending them off to bed, read Jesus 16:20-22.
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Have them notice the cracked surface. Oh, what could that mean? Now take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.
HE HAS RISEN INDEED!
Copyright 2017 Kelly Guest
About the Author
God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com. Kelly's book, Saintly Moms: 25 Stories of Holiness, is due out October 2021.