Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hop To It: Homemade Easter Chocolates


Little-known fact: I used to work at a candy store during the holidays and summer breaks when I was in college. Aside from probably a few extra pounds, I came away from that fun job with a few tricks up my sleeve for making homemade chocolates. These two recipes honestly couldn't be any easier. And with Easter right around the corner, now is the time for making homemade goodies to help the Easter Bunny fill those baskets. And although I wouldn't necessarily call this a kids project, kids are great helpers when it comes to the decorating. So get the whole family involved and whip up a batch or two!

Haystack Bird Nests
  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
  • Food coloring, optional
Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. When melted, add food coloring of your choice if you want colored nests as your finished product (I prefer just plain white - but maybe I'm boring). Stir in the almonds and coconut, coating well. Place a heaping tablespoon of the mixture onto a baking sheet that has been lined with wax paper, forming the mixture into the shape of a bird nest. Refrigerate until fully hardened. Fill the nests with "eggs" - jelly beans or foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. If you want the candy to stay in place inside the nest, use dabs of extra melted chocolate or cake icing as glue.



Peanut Butter-Filled Eggs
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup smooth, salted peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
If your a fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups like I am, you'll be thrilled to know that this recipe is a really good approximation. Start by melting the chocolate in a double boiler. Prepare a chocolate mold by spraying with cooking spray. (You can also use paper baking cups, or full disclosure: I made my chocolate eggs by using our deviled egg tray! Mother of invention, I am.) Separately, combine the peanut butter and the powdered sugar and mix well. It will take a bit of stirring, but eventually the mixture will pull away from the sides of the bowl and come into a paste. Spoon teaspoon-sized dollops of the paste into the palm of your hand and roll into marble-sized balls. Flatten the ball to a disk; set aside. Fill the mold about 1/3 of the way with melted chocolate, then lay one of the peanut butter disks on top. Finish by covering the peanut butter center with more melted chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate has fully hardened. Remove from molds and decorate (in-depth version: use melted white chocolate that has been dyed with food coloring to paint/pipe designs on the egg fronts; easy version: store-bought colored cake icing in the tube). And remember: this is not like decorating cookies. Chocolate melts. And gets messy. Quickly. So work in small batches, keep everything in the fridge until you're ready to work with it, and handle the chocolate as little as possible. Good luck!

Variations: Use melted caramel or marshmallow creme in place of the peanut butter filling.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the recipes - especially the chocolate peanut butter eggs!

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  2. These ideas are fantistic. Your culinary skills are amazing! I'd love to post this on my blog tomorrow. If that's a problem, just let me know.

    Great job!

    ~Jenifer

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  3. Jenifer - No problem! Link back to me if you don't mind, but otherwise, share away!

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