Fancy making your own Easter egg? Roxanne Fisher discovers how easy it really is...
I always toy with the idea of crafting my own Easter egg, but the assumed impossibility of the project means I succumb year-after-year to BOGOF brands or swanky Belgian bunnies. Inspired by Good Food's lovely simple chocolate button egg, I decided this was the year to roll up my sleeves, borrow some egg moulds and investigate just how easy making your own really is...
Immediately I was fearful that the cocoa content in my chosen chocolate was only 70%, while the recipe used 82% - but thankfully 'good quality' were the key words to focus on and it melted and set beautifully.
Two 100g bars of quality supermarket, own-brand chocolate set me back £2. Decorative delights aside, this is the only ingredient you need. Thoughtful AND thrifty. All was looking good from the off.
Step 1: Melting the chocolate.
I'll confess now, I didn't have a thermometer. While the recipe doesn't call for it, tempering chocolate is key to avoiding that mottled look and my masterpiece suffered from the patchy effect, which doesn't alter taste but scuppered my chances of a professional finish.
However, thermometer-free homes need not despair. This piece of kit can be pricey and some clever decorating of your egg (see our ideas below) can completely hide a mottle-mishap.
Step 2: First layer.
I was unconvinced that my melted chocolate would keep its shape. I was certain I'd be left with a gloopy mess in the middle of the moulds but this turned out to be a fun and satisfyingly simple step that older children would love to help with. Refraining from taking it straight off the heat and slapping it in, I allowed the chocolate to cool and then, using a pastry brush, I spooned and spread a quarter of the chocolate evenly around each of the two mould halves then left to set.
Tip: To make Good Food's chocolate Krispie chick recipe all you need to do is add 50g Rice Krispies when you take the chocolate off the heat. You'll only need one layer too.
Step 3: Second layer.
Buoyed by a successful start, I popped the two set egg halves in the fridge for the strict five-minute time allowance and in the meantime reheated the remaining chocolate before once again leaving to cool. Again, I was surprised by the lack of drama involved, though if striving for perfection, I would recommend ensuring you have equal measures for each mould before applying your second layer (one half of my egg was definitely a little chunkier than the other.)
Tip: While the drying time wasn't in fact as lengthy as I expected, patience is not my virtue and I can imagine younger children would find the waiting quite frustrating. Making treats to go inside your egg is a lovely extra touch, so try making some of the suggestions below while your egg sets - guaranteed to distract even the most impatient little chefs.
Step 4: Becoming one.
I left my egg to dry the second time for about two hours. This was possibly a little excessive (it looked ready after about an hour) but I wanted to be sure it wouldn't crack when eased from the mould. After a brief stint in the fridge again I gingerly eased the edges of the mould away from the rim of the egg, turned it upside down and (very) gently squeezed it out onto greaseproof paper. And it really was that simple - one whole egg, with not a break in sight.
I reheated the remaining tablespoon of chocolate, brushed the edges as the recipe instructed, popped in some sweets and placed the other half on top, filling in any gaps. Once completely dry (only 20 minutes this time) we had our four-year-old neighbour on hand to cover our creation in magic stars... and that was it!
The recipe was spot-on and really easy to follow. Perfectionists should invest in a thermometer to get that glossy, speckle-free finish but if you don't mind doing a bit of crafty decorating, making your own egg couldn't be simpler - or more fun!
- Re-heating just a tbsp of chocolate and dabbing a little on the back of your favourite, flat-backed chocolates or sweets is a simple and fun job for little ones.
- Making your own piping bag from baking paper is really easy. Use icing or cooled chocolate to put your artistic skills to the test, or personalise your egg with a name or message.
- Marzipan is so versatile and great for kids to use. Let their imaginations run wild, or try a design such as the one used for our cute Krispie chick.
- For the adventurous, try our beautiful marbled egg
Our top five fillers...
Individually wrap these truffles in cellophane for a grown-up treat:
Chocolate truffle egg box recipe
Glitzy choc-lollies will fit snugly in your egg:
Choc-egg lollies recipe
The perfect project for little hands - homemade chocolate buttons:
Really enormous chocolate buttons recipe
Gooey brownie bites will make for a nice surprise:
Fudgy coconut brownies
Use our basic biscuit dough as the basis for Easter-themed mini treats:
Basic biscuit dough recipe
Where to get egg moulds? Heaps of sources online sell egg moulds at a good price and we bought ours from Lakeland. If you can't wait for delivery, pop down to your local cookware shop or try crafty shops like Hobbycraft.
Have you attempted your own Easter egg? Let us know how you got on and your top tips for success below...