My good friend Ben texts me (Christine) every year during this time and asks what rabbits and eggs have to do with the resurrection of Christ.

Well, Ben, this year Mary and I have some good news: we’ve solved the case.  

To help Easter bunnies with candy selection, we’ve sampled entirely way too much candy for Lent, researched some background on the real meaning behind Easter symbols–and have some sugary suggestions:  

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(An aside: We’ve recently realized that Easter candy is a VERY SERIOUS MATTER for most people. There are some strong opinions out there. In lieu of hate mail we ask that you good-naturedly troll us on Twitter [@maryrezac/@crousselle] if you disagree with our conclusions.)

The basket

Believe it or not, Easter baskets as a concept actually date back to roughly a thousand years ago, from Poland. “Święconka,” which means “blessing of the Easter baskets,” occurs each year on Holy Saturday. A traditional Polish Easter basket for Święconka would contain eggs, bread, lamb, salt, horseradish, cheese, candies, and ham. People would bring these baskets to their church, where the food would be blessed and consumed on Easter Sunday. As people immigrated from Poland to the United States, they took this tradition with them.

Currently, most Easter baskets in the United States serve as a vehicle for candy and other treats to surprise children on Easter Sunday. Baskets range from simple to elaborate, although my [Christine] personal favorite Easter basket was the year my family was in Walt Disney World over the holiday and I was given Easter presents in a colander from the villa we were staying in.

The egg

Before Christianity, pagans held the egg as a symbol of fertility and would give eggs as gifts during the spring equinox. When Christianity came along, Christians saw the egg as a symbol of the tomb and Jesus’ resurrection. Eggs also used to be a banned food during Lent, so when Lent was over, Christians would paint eggs in bright colors and give them as gifts for Easter.

A blessing for Easter eggs:

“We beseech thee, O Lord, to bestow thy benign blessing upon these eggs, to make them a wholesome food for thy faithful, who gratefully partake of them in honor of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Whoppers Robin Eggs:

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Christine: Oh MAN. These things are dangerous. It’s like the perfect child of a marriage between two all-star candies: Whoppers and M&Ms. You’ve got the candy coating of an M&M-type candy combined with the malt of a Whopper, but like, sized-up to the size of an actual robin’s egg. They are addictive and delicious. Someone, please, for the sake of my waistline–stop me before I eat an entire bag of these things. Rating: 5/5

Mary: My favorite thing about Whopper Eggs is the texture. You bite into the M&M-like hard candy shell into malt that almost instantly melts on your tongue, and it’s wonderful. These were always a hot commodity at Rezac household Easters. Rating: 5/5

Reese’s Eggs:

Christine: This is going to lose me some fans, but here goes: I don’t like these very much. Like, sure, if it’s the only thing around I’ll go for it, but I’d rather eat any other kind of chocolate Easter candy besides these. There’s too much peanut butter (and it’s not even good peanut butter), and it left my mouth feeling awkwardly dry after just one bite. I didn’t even want to finish it. Rating: 2/5

Mary: I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. It is not officially Easter until I have consumed entirely too many of these. Question the judgement of anyone who dislikes the marriage of chocolate and peanut butter. Also, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Reese’s are just better when they’re in holiday shapes. Rating: 6/5

Cadbury Creme Eggs:

Christine: For testing purposes, I purchased one of each varietal: original, caramel, and chocolate. I love these things, and I was pleasantly surprised by the chocolate creme egg. Cadbury Creme Eggs are my favorite Easter candy, to the point where I’d horde them away and save them because I wanted them all year round. However, you do feel kind of sick after eating just one (which is why I split them in half and gave the rest to CNA Intern Jonah McKeown–also, I’m 26 years in the no-cavity club, and I’d like to stay that way), so I feel like I have to lop off a point for that. Rating: 4/5

Mary: I will say this for Cadbury eggs: they come is some pretty cute packaging. But these things are not my jam. I’ve just never understood the appeal. Too much chocolate, way too creamy in the middle. If candy is borderline runny, I am not into it. Maybe if they were like 1/4th their normal size, they’d be more tolerable. Rating: 2/5

Crunch eggs:

 

Christine: Another good one for sure, although I wish they were the size of the aforementioned Whopper eggs. I’m a big fan of the OG, rectangle-shaped Crunch bars, so it’s only a good thing that they’ve been condensed into nice, egg-shaped chunks of chocolate and crisped rice. These make excellent “filler” candy for Easter baskets, which is definitely another plus. Rating: 5/5

Mary: A childhood staple. I pity the kids who awoke Easter morning with their baskets lacking these chocolate treasures. They’re the perfect size, they’re not overwhelming, and they’ve got a great taste and texture. Also, I would eat 1,000 Crunch eggs before a Crunch candy bar. They’re just much more fun and accessible. Crunch should just sell eggs year-round. Rating: 5/5

Russell Stover Eggs:

Christine: The good thing about these eggs is that there’s basically some sort of flavor for everyone. Milk chocolate? They have those. White chocolate? Yup. Even those of you out there with broken taste buds who prefer dark chocolate (*cough* Mary) have options with Russell Stover Eggs. They come with a variety of fillings, including coconut, marshmallow, and fruit flavors. Due to my aforementioned membership in the no-cavities club, I chose two to review the Dark Chocolate & MARSHMALLOW EGG, and the WHITE PASTEL COCONUT CRÈME EGG (emphasis theirs). I prefered the coconut version, but I’d be pretty stoked to find any of these in my Easter basket. Even with the odd formatting on their labels. Rating: 4/5

Mary: I hate these. They’re so overwhelming. I am not a big fan of candy that is more filling than chocolate, and these definitely fall into that category. For my review, I tried the MILK CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOW EGG and the RASPBERRY WHIP EGG with dark chocolate. I cringed before I even bit into the raspberry whip egg because the artificially contrived raspberry aroma was already assaulting my nostrils. The marshmallow egg was more tolerable, but there’s no way I want to eat that much mallow in one sitting (see: Peeps) without roasting it over a fire and sticking it on some graham crackers (this might not be a bad use of these eggs). These feel like the candies your grandma really liked and you would eat at her house out of politeness to her while secretly not enjoying the experience. Rating: 0/5

The Bunny

Another ancient, pagan symbol of fertility, the bunny as an Easter symbol seems to have German roots. But bunnies have also long been associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here’s why: ancient Greeks thought that rabbits could reproduce without sexual intercourse (they can’t). In the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, some scribes drew pictures of rabbits – because of this Greek idea- near references to Mary, to symbolize her miraculous virginal motherhood of Jesus Christ. It’s not clear if German Lutherans had that in mind when they came up with the Osterhase, or “Easter Hare.”

Chocolate bunnies: 

Christine: So, like, pretty much everyone likes chocolate. But man, eating these things are a COMMITMENT. It’s a whole lot of candy, especially if they’re the solid ones. My personal favorite approach to eating these (after biting the ears off, obviously) is to stick it in the freezer, and once the bunny is frozen solid, use a kitchen mallet to break the bunny up into more manageable sized pieces for later consumption throughout the octave of Easter. Chocolate is good by default, and the bunny shape makes things even more fun and festive. Rating: 3.5/5

Mary: I’ll be honest, I can’t remember that last time I made it through an entire chocolate bunny. They are a huge commitment, especially for someone who likes dark chocolate wayyy better than milk chocolate (are there dark chocolate bunnies for sale?). [Editor’s note: Mary, what is wrong with you? -Christine] Luckily I always had little brothers who would more than gladly polish off any bunny leftovers I had. That said, these are an Easter basket classic, probably more esteemed for their decorative purposes than anything else. Rating: 4/5

The Bean

We don’t know what candy beans symbolize. Maybe nothing? Maybe something important? Anyway…

Christine: Jelly beans are works of the devil and should be avoided. All of them are bad. Starburst is possibly the least bad. I will never go out of my way to eat them or buy them. Almost every year my mother forgets I don’t like jelly beans and sends me some. While I love my mother, this makes me question things. Rating: 0/5 – for all of them.

Mary: Jelly beans are a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy. However, there are definitive rankings of the kinds of jelly beans available to you.

Rankings:

Starburst: 5/5

Jelly Belly: 4/5 (I’ll grant that *some* of these flavors are weird)

Traditional: 2/5 (They’ll do in a pinch, but what percentage of the population actually likes black licorice flavored jelly beans? And the rest don’t have much flavor at all.)

BONUS CANDY: Peeps

Christine: I ate one Peep for testing purposes and then immediately gave the remainder to my EWTN colleague Rodney Harris, who must have some sort of taste bud deformity as he “loves” Peeps and thinks they’re “delicious.” We should probably keep Rodney in our thoughts and prayers. On a bizarre side note, Peeps-flavored Oreos aren’t actually half bad, which makes me feel like to enjoy a Peep, you must first liquify it. Rating: 1/5

Mary: I used to haaaaate Peeps with a passion, while they were my sister’s favorite Easter candy (but she also liked plain mushroom soup and tomato juice as a kid, so, you can tell how trustworthy her tastebuds are.) That passionate hate has remained pretty constant. However – Peeps are excellent sources of entertainment, meaning you’re probably better off waiting until after Easter to purchase them at a steep discount and use them for Peep jousting or for sticking on the windows of your friends’ cars. Rating: 1.5/5 (for entertainment value only)