Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nut-Free Cream or Soybutter Filled Chocolate Eggs

Easter is closing in quickly, but these candies are quick to make, and don't require the skill of something like homemade fondant (or piping your own marshmallow peeps, which I will not be doing, thank god).

I was always partial to a Cadbury egg at Easter, but with the allergy issue, I've resorted to making my own version. These are pretty good. Don't tell the Cadbury Bunny.

If you like, the eggs can be moulded in real eggshells by draining the yolks through the bottom, washing the eggs, and then hardening them in a 300 degree f. oven for 10 minutes. This makes a nice presentation, but then you need to fool about with brushing chocolate neatly over the interior, filling the eggs slowly in layers, etc. I did both this year, but in the end, the free-formed ones looked just as cute, even if you don't get the shell to chip away. Me? I don't like any sort of time wasting with shells when I'm after chocolate.

How much you'll need will depend on how many eggs you plan to make. Extra buttercream freezes nicely, if you make too much.

For a batch large enough for at least a dozen good-sized buttercream eggs:

1 cup unsalted butter
(about) 6 cups icing sugar-it will vary depending on the quality fo your butter
Yellow food colouring
A few drops of extract (any flavour)
Chocolate for coating (I used both semi-sweet, and white chocolate)

Knead the icing sugar into the softened butter until it is no longer squishy, and will hold shapes. Don't try shaping anything at this point though, roll it into a log, wrap it in cling film, and let it chill for an hour.

Now, make the egg shapes. Divide the dough leaving slightly more for the whites of the egg. Tint the smaller half yellow by working food colouring into the dough. Roll into round balls. Set these on a wax paper lined plate, and return to the fridge. Make an equal number of balls for the whites. Gently flatten them into disks large enough to encase the yolks. Place the chilled yolks in the centre of each white, and carefully pinch closed. Gently shape between your palms until it is egg shaped. Return to plate and chill at least an hour before dipping in chocolate.

Because the eggs are butter and sugar, you'll want to keep them chilled before serving, but remove them about 15-20 minutes ahead of time.

For the soybutter eggs:

Follow the same idea, working enough icing sugar into the soy butter (or sunflower butter, or whatever you use as a peanut replacement) until you can knead it, and form shapes. If you wish, the soy centres can be wrapped in buttercream, and then dipped in chocolate, but personally, I think they are just fine dipped in chocolate. They need to be very cold, and you should be certain to add enough icing sugar to make the dough REALLY firm. If you like a mock-Butterfinger effect, crush up some cornflakes and add them to the soybutter.

I wrapped my candies in candymaking foil, but cellophane would also be attractive. The soybutter does not require being kept at a cool temperature, unless you coat it in buttercream. I do think they benefit from storage in the fridge, but that's a matter of taste, and what your climate is like this time of year.

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