Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chocolate Eggs For Your Celebration
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From Taste of Home

With the holidays quickly approaching you're probably scrambling for ideas to make it special!  Easter has always been a long time favorite for children because of all the goodies and games played throughout the day.  I came across a treat that is definitely going to be appealing to the children but the adults may not want the children to eat!  Sounds crazy I know.  But when you see what I have in store for you, you will say the same thing.

Throughout the years everyone has become accustomed to buying the pre-made baskets for the children with all the goodies and stuffed animals and such.  I found an idea that will beat any store bought treat yet!  Chocolate eggs.  Yep, chocolate eggs.  You say what makes them special?  Well take a look!

From Santa Toscano - Facebook

I found these on a Facebook friends page, Santa Toscano.  She speaks Italian so if you write to her you will have to use Google Translator to translate for you, unless of course you know Italian.  I have written to her trying to get the recipe or at least the technique for her eggs, but haven't received a reply as of yet.  As soon as I do I will post a link to her website if she has one.  But, you know me!  Where there's a will there's a way!  I searched the Internet until I found at least how to make the chocolate egg part.  I believe the rest is a matter of some fondant shaped, colored, cut, etc.  And here it is ladies and gentlemen.....those of you who like to create such masterpieces.  It's another Martha Stewart specialty wouldn't you guess....

COLOR YOUR EGGS BEFORE OR AFTER GETTING THE YOLKS OUT. Updated idea - Or you might try peeling the egg and dipping the finished chocolate egg in light colored royal icing and letting them dry.  It would have to be thin enough to coat smoothly yet thick enough to stick.

Here's the link to her site if you'd like to go there and take a peak at some of the other ideas and recipes

Chocolate Egg How-To

Chocolate Egg How-To

We used Valrhona dark chocolate in this recipe because it is relatively easy to temper; the temperatures that are listed apply specifically to this brand.
Chocolate Egg How-To1. Using a pin, poke a hole in the bottom of a large raw egg; insert the tip of a utility knife, and turn to open the hole slightly. Using a rotary drill fitted with a 3/8-inch bit, carefully widen the hole to at least 1/2 inch in diameter.
2. Insert pin into the hole to pierce and "stir" the yolk. Hold the egg, hole down, over a bowl, and blow air into the hole with a rubber ear syringe (the air will displace and expel the egg). Rinse out egg. Repeat to make 12 blown eggs (you may want to make extras in case some break).

3. Sterilize eggs: Submerge them in a pot of cold water with 1 tablespoon white vinegar; bring to a boil, then simmer, skimming foam from surface, 10 minutes. Let drain on a pin board. If not dyeing eggs, let dry completely on pin board, 2 to 3 days (check insides for moisture).
4. If dyeing eggs: Mix 4 tablespoons vinegar and 12 drops of blue food coloring with 2 cups boiling-hot water in a heatproof glass or enamel bowl. Fill a separate cup with white vinegar. Using a plastic spoon, dip eggs in vinegar, then into the dye, 2 to 3 minutes. Pat eggs with paper towels to eliminate streaks. (If dye begins to cool while you're working, make a new batch.) Let the eggs dry as described above.
5. Using an offset serrated knife, very finely chop 3 pounds of chocolate. Reserve 1 cup chocolate; using a bench scraper, transfer remaining chocolate to a large heatproof bowl.

6. Temper chocolate: Set bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, until a chocolate thermometer registersdegrees. (Note: Many brands of dark chocolate should not be heated to more than 118 degrees.) Remove from heat; stir in reserved cup chocolate until completely melted. Pour 2/3 of the melted chocolate onto a clean smooth work surface (such as marble or stainless steel). Spread thinly with an offset spatula. Then gather together chocolate, and take temperature. Continue spreading and gathering chocolate until it cools to 82 degrees to 84 degrees.

7. Scrape chocolate back into bowl with remaining chocolate. Stir until it cools to 82 degrees to 84 degrees. Set bowl over a pan of warm water, and reheat to 88 degrees. To check consistency, dip a spoon in chocolate and remove; chocolate should set in about 2 minutes, turning shiny and hard. Note: This temperature must be maintained as you fill the eggs; keep a thermometer in the chocolate, and check frequently. Rest the bowl on a heating pad wrapped in a towel, or set bowl over the pan of warm (not hot) water.

8. Place eggshells in an egg carton. Place a disposable pastry bag in a tall glass, and fold top down. Fill bag with chocolate; cut tip to create a 1/4-inch opening.

9. For solid chocolate eggs: Insert tip of bag into each egg, and fill with chocolate (about 1/4 cup per egg; fill a new bag with chocolate as needed). Let set completely, about 4 hours.

10. Alternatively, fill eggs with ganache: Fill all eggs with chocolate, then let stand 5 minutes instead of letting chocolate set. Pour chocolate out of eggs into a glass measuring cup, tapping your hand against cup to let most of the chocolate drain out (do not add to tempered chocolate). Let chocolate "shells" set completely.

11. Fill a disposable pastry bag with ganache (recipe follows); cut tip to create a 1/4-inch opening. Insert tip into egg; fill with ganache. Tap egg gently, hole up, on a folded kitchen towel to eliminate air pockets; fill to top. Continue with remaining eggs. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Ganache-filled eggs can be refrigerated up to 1 week; solid eggs can be stored in a cool, dry place until ready to serve.

To Make Ganache
For semisweet ganache, use 2 cups heavy cream and 1 pound semisweet chocolate. For milk-chor white-chocolate ganache, use 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and 1 1/4 pounds milk or white chocolate. Bring cream just to a boil, then pour over finely chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. Let stand 5 minutes; stir until smooth. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface; let stand, stirring occasionally, until cool enough to pipe (no warmer than 80 degrees), 1 to 2 hours.
Note: The steps here are for tempering chocolate by hand. If you work with chocolate frequently, investing in a tempering machine will save time and make cleanup easier -- and the chocolate will be perfectly creamy, smooth, and shiny. Every brand of chocolate requires different tempering temperatures; see package instructions. For Valrhona, the following temperatures apply: milk chocolate, heat to 118 degrees, cool to 81 degrees to 82 degrees, then warm to 84 degrees to 86 degrees; white chocolate, heat to 118 degrees, cool to 79 degrees to 81 degrees, then warm to 82 degrees to 84 degrees.

First Published: April 2006

Once you've gotten the chocolate inside, DON'T PEEL THE EGGS! use fondant to decorate as Santa Toscano has done or create your own unique design using your imagination!  Below are closeups of the same eggs.

From Santa Toscano - Facebook

From Santa Toscano - Facebook

From Santa Toscano - Facebook

From Santa Toscano - Facebook

From Santa Toscano - Facebook

From Santa Toscano - Facebook

From Santa Tuscano - Facebook

Until next time......happy baking!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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Bunny's for the Hunny's

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One thing's for sure when it comes to Easter there's plenty of goodies in the store to fill those Easter baskets to the hilt!  Cakes and cupcakes fill the bakeries but usually you have to settle for whatever that store chain has decided on for that year.   And besides where's the fun in that?  So why not make our own?  Sounds like a good idea to me!

See I told you they were sweet!
I found these adorable cupcakes on that I just had to show you!  They're simple to make; if you can bake up the cupcakes the rest is literally child's play!   Check these babies out!

Make up your boxed or homemade cake batter; pour into lined muffin cups preferably of the holiday colors.  Once baked, ice with white icing and sprinkle with coconut flakes.  If you want the freshest tasting one's buy frozen coconut flakes.  Take large marshmallows and cut in half with a knife.  This will kind of pinch the edges into points.  Dip the cut side into pink sugar crystals and stick them onto the bunny (as shown) with some icing.  Add some blue candies for eyes and pink for the nose.  Then two miniature marshmallows for the fluffy 'whisker holders' ( LOL sorry don't know a word to describe!).  You can choose to draw on some whiskers, leave them without, or even use some stiff waxed string. And Waa-lah!  You have some fun bunnies!

Until next time...........happy baking!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Delicious Passover Favorites

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When it comes to holidays it's a bit strange for me.  My family consists of Jews, Christians and a Muslim.  So when a holiday rolls around I'm either celebrating or 'conjuring' up something to send to other family members.  My (step) grandfather is Jewish and he loves sweets.  He's always requesting something that I either can't pronounce or I don't  have my grandmother's recipe for.  Luckily I have the all handy Internet for just such an occasion. ; 0

Meeting the requirements for a kosher Passover dessert can be difficult.  The most important rule during Passover is that there cannot be any leaven in the breads or desserts, etc.;  no baking powder, baking soda, yeast, order to be considered as kosher.  There are other 'rules' but this is the main one.  So without further ado I will pass you some delicious favorites to create for your family during this blessed month.  Just click on the name and it will take you to the recipe hosting site.


This looks so delicious!

I have a walnut date brownie recipe of my own.  Of course it has leaven in it but I came across this one on the same site which also sounds really good:


I'll bet this would be delicious with a nice hot cup of tea.

If you're a fruit lover then you'll love this one!  I can eat apples any way they come.....well except rotten ; )  But I love apple pie, cake, cookies, whatever!  Take a look at this recipe, loaded with apples and ready for your feast....

This one really looks super moist!
Now here's a site guaranteed to get your sweet tooth going!  You will find not just one or two, but twenty! flour-less desserts great for Passover or any other time of the year!

20 Flourless Dessert Ideas

Chocolate Walnut Cookie

Miniature Pavlovas

Chocolate Caramelized Matzo Cruch
This recipe is gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free!  Looks delicious, sounds delicious and best of all it SAYS it's delicious!  So maybe it's delicious!  And it's simple......

Gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free

Well, that does it for me for today.  I truly hope you give some of these a try and let me know what you think.

Until next time........happy baking!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Holiday Sweets for the Children

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With Easter and Passover around the corner everyone will be scrambling for ideas for goodies for the children. The sweet I'm going to show you how to make today will satisfy the sweet tooth of children both young and old.  It's simple to make and you can even have the children join in as well.

The recipe is one I've given you several times in previous blogs but we used it to make the royal icing cookies.  You can use the same icing to create some really unique candies as well.  So grab your royal icing and some toothpicks, wax paper, icing bags or plastic baggies, and if you want to hang them from string then also pre-cut your strings.  I also flavored my icing with some berry flavoring.  It only takes a few drops.  So just make it to desired taste.

For ideas on designs you might want to google images for "easter eggs or Passover designs", etc.  This will give you shapes, colors, etc. for your goodies. Lay out your wax paper depending on how many you want to make.  Once they are put down on the paper it must be left over night so you'll want to put them in a place where they won't be bothered.  My samples were made quickly so please forgive me for their shortcomings....
Not the best bunny, but.....

Make an outline color of royal icing a little thicker than the rest as you want it to set quickly.  After making up your royal icing you can either put it in icing bags with a small hold cut in the end.  Make the outline design with the thicker recipe and draw out your design.  If you made it thick enough you should be able to immediately continue with the other thinner colors.

Once you get a fill color you can drop dots or draw lines with several different colors.

Once you're satisfied with your design, loop your string and set the ends into the top (if you want strings) and let them sit undisturbed overnight.  Pop them off and put them into treat bags or hang them on "Easter trees".  I don't know if you remember or not, but when I was a kid the big thing was those "dots" on paper that you pop off and eat.  Well this is the same thing.  So that may even give you another idea for your baskets.

Below are some "butterfly wings" I made for my grand daughter last week.  She loved them!

Until next time..........Happy Baking!

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