What better gift for Easter than a life-size filled chocolate egg with a hand-painted lace flower on it?
In Denmark we have a game for Easter where we send "gækkebreve" (gække-letters) consisting of a paper cut out in a lace-like design (similar to snowflakes cut out of paper), a rhyme, where your name is written with dots (like when you type a password that is hidden), and sometimes a dried or fresh snowdrop flower. The recipient has to guess who sent the letter, and then the sender will give him a chocolate egg. If he cannot guess it before Easter, he will have to give the sender a chocolate egg.
When I was going to make this treat for Easter, I was inspired by the Kinder eggs I thought were so fun as a kid, but I wanted to make them more exclusive by filling them. Then, I had seen this brush embroidery done on sugar cookies, and thought it would make these eggs so unique.
So I did it! The greatest hurdle was making the chocolate egg shells, so if you can buy some hollow chocolate eggs, it would make this project a lot easier, but if you are up to a challenge, then go ahead and make the eggs yourself!
See a complete list of ingredients needed for this project at the end. One recipe makes 8 eggs unless some break. I also have alternatives at the end of each step for those wanting to make this treat vegan.
Step 1: Prepping the Egg Shells
For this step, you will need 8 eggs. It is likely that some of the shells will break, so I encourage you to do as I did and buy 10 or more.
To empty out the eggs, start by poking a hole at the bottom with a pin, bending the pin so the hole cracks open. Peel away at the edge of the hole with your fingers until the hole is about 1,5 cm in diameter.
Empty out the egg into a bowl, poking around with the handle of a teaspoon so the yolk breaks up.
Carefully was the eggs inside with warm water. If you can get the thin membrane on the inside of the shell off, it is great, but if you can't, it's okay, although some small bits of membrane my be stuck in the chocolate afterwards.
Sterilise the egg shells by baking them at 150 degrees C for 10 min. Use oven mittens when removing the egg shells, as they get quite hot.
For vegan egg moulds, use the multicoloured, life-size plastic eggs that are sold at easter time. If there are air holes at the end, close them with tape. Cut off the hinges as well.
Step 2: Making the Chocolate Shells
For this step, you will need 200 g of a good-quality dark or milk chocolate. It pays to get a good quality, as it is easier to temper so the chocolate shells get a good crack and are easier to get out of the real egg shells.
Chop up the chocolate and melt about half of it in a water bath. Do not start stirring till you see the chocolate pieces around the edges have started melting, as the chocolate will otherwise clump together.
Remove the chocolate from the water bath and add the rest of the chocolate, stirring until it is melted. The chocolate should feel cool when dabbed on your wrist or under your lip (the temperature should be 31 degrees C). Continue stirring or adding more unmelted chocolate if the chocolate is not cool enough. To test if the chocolate is properly tempered, smear some on a piece of parchment paper and put it in the freezer. It should have a nice snap when hardened.
Pour some chocolate in an egg shell and rotate it until the inside is completely covered. Pour out the excess and place the egg hole-down on a grate for the chocolate to harden. Depending on how thin your chocolate is, you might have to repeat the coating a few times so the chocolate shell does not become too thin. The de-shelling process is a bit rough!
If the melted chocolate becomes too cold as you are working, you can reheat it in the water bath, but the temperature should never exceed 32 degrees C, or you will have to temper the chocolate over again.
If you are in hurry (or just impatient), you can put the eggs in the fridge so the chocolate will harden quicker.
For a vegan version, use dark chocolate and make sure it is vegan. Pour some chocolate in one of the halves from the plastic eggs, close the egg, and turn it around till the inside is evenly coated. Open the egg and pour out the excess chocolate. Close the egg again and shake it to close the seam. Once the chocolate has hardened, carefully remove the plastic egg and poke a hole at the bottom of the chocolate shells so the filling can be added.
Step 3: Filling the Eggs
I chose to fill these eggs with marshmallow fluff and some liquorice syrup. You could also use jam instead of liquorice syrup -- lemon curd would make a nice yellow yolk. Another option would be to use ganache instead of marshmallow fluff, even though I think it might me too rich since the eggs are so large.
For the filling, you will need 2 Tbsp. pasteurised eggs whites or aquafaba (the water from canned chickpeas, preferably reduced to 2/3), a splash of lemon juice, 60 g of golden syrup or honey (I used the Danish syrup called lys sirup; you can also just use 50 g sugar and 1 Tbsp water) and a liquorice syrup made from 2 tsp. raw liquorice powder and 75 g golden syrup.
Make the marshmallow fluff by combining egg whites/aquafaba and lemon juice in a big bowl. Whip the mixture with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer to soft peaks.
Meanwhile, bring the syrup to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes.
When the eggs have reached soft peaks, slowly pour in the hot syrup and keep whipping until very firm peaks, about 10 min.
Fill the marshmallow fluff into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (or just a plastic bag with a hole cut at the corner). Pipe the marshmallow fluff into the chocolate eggs, filling the eggs about halfway.
Make the liquorice syrup by mixing 2 tsp liquorice powder with 75 g golden syrup. Put the syrup into another piping bag with a small round tip, stick the tip into the marshmallow fluff in the eggs, and pipe in some liquorice syrup. Alternatively, use jam or lemon curd instead of liquorice syrup. Top off with more marshmallow fluff until the eggs are filled.
Close the eggs by pouring a little tempered chocolate into the hole at the opening of the egg. Place the eggs in the egg tray in the refrigerator till the chocolate has hardened.
For a vegan filling, use aquafaba instead off egg whites (which is what I did). Aquafaba is the liquid from canned chickpeas. If the liquid is very watery, it is best to reduce it until only about 2/3 of the liquid is left. This is easily done by simmering the aquafaba without lid.
Step 4: Removing the Egg Shells
This is the worst part, so now you are prepared!
Using a sharp knife, cut away the excess chocolate around the hole at the bottom of the eggs. Start peeling off the egg shells using the sharp knife or your fingers (if you don't mind getting sharp pieces off egg shell under your nails).
Some eggs will likely break in this process, but then you just have some taste testing to do! Try not to hold too much on the eggs, as the chocolate might start melting.
Be prepared to clean your kitchen from splintered egg shells after this!
Step 5: Painting the Lace Flowers
This step is optional, but it really takes the chocolate eggs to another level. I learned the method from this blog post, and Bobbie does such a good job explaining the method in a video that I suggest you head over there to see the details if you plan on trying this. However, I will do my best to show how I did it through the photos.
For the royal icing, you will need 100 g powdered sugar, 4 tsp pasteurised egg whites or aquafaba (see step with filling instructions for more details about aquafaba), and optionally a splash of vinegar for faster drying.
You will also need a round piping tip #2 (Bobbie uses a #1), an artist brush #2, some cold water, and a piece of paper towel.
NOTE: You will need less than half of the recipe for royal icing for this project, but it might be hard to make a smaller batch.
Whip all ingredients for the icing with a hand mixer till the icing is thick and white and holds soft peaks. If the icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar; if the icing is too thick, add more egg whites or aquafaba.
Put the icing in a piping bag fitted with the small tip. Start piping the outside of the petals, starting at the top of the flower and working your way down. After each petal, using a damp brush, brush the icing towards the center of the flower, making sure not to go over the outer edge, as you want the petal to have a shadow under it so it stands out. You will first pipe the center petal in the back, then the two petals on the sides in the back, then the small hinder petal in the center of the flower, then the petal in the center front, then two small petals on the sides of the center, then another in front between the two small petals, and lastly, about three large drooping petals below in the front. You can also add a few leaves around the flower if you wish, brushing the icing in the direction of the veins on the leaves.
As you work, make sure to regularly clean you brush in the cold water and wipe it on the paper towel.
Finally, let the icing dry.
And as I said before, I encourage you to watch Bobbie's video, as it might sound harder than it actually is if you watch it!
For a vegan version, just use aquafaba instead off egg whites (which is what I did).
Step 6: Packing/Serving and Enjoying!
If you wish, you can pack the finished eggs in cellophane for an exquisite gift or just serve the eggs in a bowl on the Easter table.
The most important thing is that you enjoy them!
If you like this instructable, please vote for me in the egg contest. And if you think this project is a bit too much for you, check out my instructable Deceptive Breggfast Dessert for a simpler take on this idea! And last but not least, if you try this, I would be immensely happy if you would post pictures!
In the next step is a complete list of what you will need for this project.
Step 7: You Will Need...
Ingredients needed to make Filled Chocolate Eggs With Lace Flowers:
8 eggs (preferably 10 or more in case some break)
2 Tbsp + 4 tsp pasteurised eggs whites or aquafaba (the water from canned chickpeas, preferably reduced to 2/3), divided
200 g good-quality dark or milk chocolate
135 g golden syrup or honey (I used the Danish syrup called lys sirup), divided
100 g powdered sugar
2 tsp. raw liquorice powder
a splash of lemon juice
a splash of vinegar, optional
Items needed to make Filled Chocolate Eggs With Lace Flowers:
egg tray, optional (comes with the eggs)
3 small bowls (for egg-shell pieces, eggs, and liquorice syrup) and 1 large (for marshmallow fluff)
spoons (as many as needed)
large and small sharp knife
double boiler, or heat-proof bowl and small saucepan
hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment
cooking thermometer, optional
3 piping bags or plastic bags with corners cut off
round piping tip #12 (about), #4 (or larger), #2 (or #1)
artist brush #2
cup with cold water