I’ve not eaten a chocolate Easter egg for years, dare I say decades? After reading an article on The Guardian website about the prices of Easter eggs in the UK, I really needed to make some. I also made a batch of hot cross buns this year… maybe it has become a tradition?
I used to have a plastic Easter egg mold. However, during my nomadic years it has gone AWOL – so I was on the lookout for a new one.
You cannot believe the difficulty in locating an Easter egg mold in Greater Seattle. The molds I’m talking about are the ones that you use to make the larger, hollow eggs. At every store I went into, the assistants looked at me strangely and just pointed me to the Easter aisle, but to no avail. They had plastic eggs of all shapes and sizes, baskets, lollipop chocolate molds of bunnies, but NO Easter egg molds! I had to resort in buying one online.
I’ve been living in the States for five years and I’ve only just realized that I haven’t seen hollow chocolate eggs on sale in stores here (bar Costco who decided to stock them now that I’ve written this). Maybe it’s the stores I go to, or that I’m blind? I have, however, seen them in Godiva (European), British and other import stores. At this moment in time in the UK, the shelves of supermarkets are stacked high with Easter eggs… from the small Cadbury mini eggs and crème eggs (available in the US) to the hollow ones, which are filled with chocolate (candy) bars. Prices vary considerably, depending on the chocolate, quality and size.
Oh well, there’s nothing better than homemade. I can choose a good organic chocolate, with no soy-lecithin – I used Alter Eco chocolate. I decided to make a dark (85 %) chocolate one for J, a milk chocolate one for me, and some chocolate bunnies. Note – J is a hard one to please when it comes to chocolate Easter eggs – his uncle used to own a patisserie, and he used to make them to sell every year.
I’m still pretty new to tempering chocolate and on making these eggs, I had to remake the first one twice. Initially, I greased the mold with peanut oil, tempered and coated the mold as normal and let each layer set at room temperature. However, on unmolding, the egg was speckled and looked “bloomed”. I re-melted the chocolate and started again, but set each layer in the freezer. I never thought that this would work, and assumed that the change in temperature would cause the shell to bloom – but it worked a treat.
Each 11.5 x 8 cm (4 ½ x 3 1/8 inch) egg took me around 30-40 minutes to make^, and weighed around 115 g (4 oz). They were then wrapped in foil and packed in little foam baskets that came from a basket making kit (from Michael’s Arts and Crafts designed for children for ages 6+ up). I had fun making these baskets! After all this fun, I realized that I spent time tempering the chocolate, patiently molding the eggs through several layers of chocolate, wrapping them in foil, placing them in their baskets (that I made), taking photos of them, blogging about them, only to be smashed into smaller bits and eaten. Oh, I love the fun of chocolate (candy) making.
^ The 30-40 minutes was based on my speed. It may take you more or less time depending on how quick, or confident you are with working with tempered chocolate.
CHOCOLATE EASTER EGGS
Makes 2 hollow Easter eggs, one dark and one milk chocolate, measuring 11.5 x 8 cm (4 ½ x 3 1/8 inch) in size
- 1 x chocolate thermometer
- 1 x chocolate (candy) Easter egg mold, which has two wells, each well measuring 11.5 x 8 cm (4 ½ x 3 1/8 inch). Make sure the mold is very clean and completely dry.
- 150 g (5.25 oz) dark (bitter/semi-sweet) chocolate, broken into chunks*
- 150 g (5.25 oz) milk chocolate, broken into chunks*
* More chocolate can be used. Tempering chocolate is easier in larger batches. Simply use as much as required, then save the remaining amount until you need to re-melt the chocolate for your next experiment.
1. Gently heat 2.5 cm (1 inch) water in a saucepan. Place ⅔ of the dark chocolate into a bowl and set over the simmering water (over very low heat), make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
2. Stir chocolate until melted and the thermometer reads 43°C (110°F)**, then immediately remove from the saucepan. Wipe the bottom of the bowl dry, and add remaining chocolate and stir until the mixture reaches 28°C (82°F).
3. Place the bowl back onto the pan of simmering water, and heat the dark chocolate, stirring continuously until the mixture reaches 31-32°C (88-90°F). The chocolate is now tempered and ready to be used. You will have to keep the chocolate at this temperature range whilst working with the chocolate. You can do this by placing the bowl back onto the pan of simmering water for a few seconds, then removing it again, but remember to constantly stir it.
4. Drop 1-2 tablespoons of tempered chocolate into the chocolate mold and using the back of the spoon to spread the mixture all over the mold creating the first layer. Pour out any excess. Place mold into the freezer for 3 minutes or until set. Try not to freeze the chocolate.
5. Continue with the layers until a thick and strong shell is created, about 5-7 layers. Place the mold into the freezer the last time, then when fully set, about 2-3 minutes. Using a bench scraper, clean up the edges of the chocolate shells, then gently tug at the mold to loosen the shells, turn the mold upside down on to a chopping (cutting) board, and the shells should fall out.
6. With the aid of a toothpick, apply small blobs of melted chocolate around the edge of one chocolate shell, about 1.25 cm (½ inch) apart. Line the two shells together and gently press together. Let set, about 3-5 minutes. The egg is now ready to be wrapped.
7. Repeat steps 1-4 with the milk chocolate, but on step 5, bring the chocolate back up to 30-31°C (86-88°F)***, then continue with the remaining steps in the procedure.
** Do not exceed more than this, otherwise the chocolate may scorch, resulting in a thick and unworkable mess.
*** If you want to use white chocolate, the tempered chocolate range is between 27-28°C (80-82°F).