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How to make chocolate Easter eggs at home

Easter is nearly upon us.

And thanks to self-isolation, you’ll have plenty of time on your hands to create some delectable treats for the occasion, like making your own chocolate Easter eggs.

Those who fancy a challenge can try one of these three recipes – each has a different difficulty level. We’ve also included some advice from an expert chocolatier on how to temper chocolate properly.

And hey, if the chocolate cracks or doesn’t actually look like an egg, you can always just put it into a bowl, a la ‘smashed Easter eggs’.

Good luck.

Filled crème egg

Difficulty: Easy(ish) to moderate

How long does it take?

What do you need:

500g shop bought fondant
100mls water
10g caster sugar
Egg yellow gel or paste edible food colouring

Instructions

Step 1: ‘To make the fondant liquid, grate the fondant into a mixing bowl,’ says chocolatier, Paul A Young.

‘Bring the water and sugar to the simmer for one minute. Allow to cool until just warm and add to the fondant mixing well until it becomes a smooth paste.

‘Take out one tablespoon of fondant in to a small bowl and add egg yellow colour mixing until evenly coloured.

‘It’s always best to use the fondant as soon as its made but do cover it with food wrap to avoid crusting as it will dry out in the air.

Step 2 (seeding/tempering): ‘I recommend you trying this method first as it requires no special equipment at all and it’s also very clean, no pouring chocolate onto your kitchen counter.

‘Once you have mastered this technique there will be no stopping your creative urges to produce amazing chocolate bars, truffles and other yummy goodies.’

You’ll need a glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, a rubber spatula, saucepan and 1kg of dark chocolate.

Paul says: ‘Place two thirds of your required amount of chocolate into the mixing bowl. Fill the pan with water until just below the bottom of the bowl when sat on to of the saucepan.

‘Place on a medium heat and allow the water to become hot but do not allow to boil as this can burn the chocolate and it will become grainy and totally ruined. So take care.

‘Allow the chocolate to melt for at least one hour. The temperature of the chocolate should be at 55 degrees centigrade. Once fully melted remove the bowl from the saucepan and place on a towel or cloth.

‘Now while mixing vigorously add the remaining one third of chocolate in small pieces. Keep mixing until fully melted and until the chocolate cools to 27 to 28 degrees centigrade, this is when the chocolate begins to crystallize.

‘At this point place the bowl back onto the heat until the temperature reached 31 to 32 degrees, this is the working temperature and the chocolate is now ready to use. Dip the end of a knife or spatula in to the chocolate and allow to set. If the chocolate is smooth, glossy and brittle when set then you have mastered seeding tempering.’

Tempering chart by Paul A Young
Melting temperature/crystallising temperature/working temperature

White chocolate: 50C /26C to 27C/29C to 30C

Milk chocolate: 50C to 55C/26C to 27C/29C to 30C

Dark chocolate: 55C/27C to 28C/31C to 32C

Step 3: ‘To line your hen’s egg-sized moulds, clean the moulds well with cotton wool until shiny,’ says Paul.

‘Fill the moulds until they overflow. Scrape off any excess chocolate then tap the mould on the counter to release any air bubbles. Set the mould aside for a few minutes until the chocolate sets to form a thin sell. Tip out any excess chocolate and scrape the mould to create clean finish on the eggs.

‘Refrigerate for 15 minutes until the chocolate has set and released from the mould. Wearing a pair of cotton of vinyl food handling gloves remove from the mould and place on a clean tea towel so they don’t roll away.

‘Now carefully spoon or pipe the fondant into the egg leaving room for your fondant yolk. Add your yolk in to each egg. Using your finger or a piping bag apply a small mount of chocolate around one half of the eggs. Swiftly bring the two halves together to seal the fondant.

‘Enjoy your eggs within two weeks of making and store at room temperature.’

Dark and white chocolate egg

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

How long does it take? 50 minutes

What do you need:

150g dark chocolate
75g white chocolate
Sprinkles
Egg moulds
Step 1: ‘Put the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water,’ the recipe provided by WeightWatchers reads. ‘Stir until smooth, about 5 minutes, then leave until cool but still runny.

Step 2: ‘Spoon 20g of melted chocolate into one of the egg moulds and spread evenly over the inside with the pastry brush. Be sure to cover the sides thickly – this will make it easier to join the edges. Repeat with the other mould. Leave in a cool place to set, then chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Step 3: ‘Reheat the remaining chocolate and repeat, adding a second layer to each mould. Leave in a cool place to set, then chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Repeat for a third time, but this time, chill in the fridge for 40 minutes.

Step 4: ‘Remove from the fridge and use a knife to scrape off any excess around the rim to give a clean edge. Turn out onto greaseproof paper, carefully pulling away the moulds.

Step 5: ‘Place a large frying pan over a low heat. Holding one egg shell in each hand, put the edges down onto the pan for one to two seconds to melt slightly; immediately press them together to seal the egg. Leave in a cool place to set.

Step 6: ‘Melt the white chocolate and transfer to a piping bag. Pipe designs on the egg, pressing on any decorations. Leave to completely set.’

Maple syrup and dark chocolate Easter egg

Difficulty: Hard

How long does it take? Three hours

What you need:

160g whipping cream
One vanilla pod, split and scraped
300g sea salted butter at room temperature
60g glucose
150g caster sugar
225g maple
100g dark maple syrup
500g dark chocolate
600g dark chocolate (minimum 65%), finely chopped, or use chocolate chips
Optional gold lustre for decoration
Two half egg-shaped chocolate moulds
Small square chocolate moulds
Kitchen thermometer
Piping bag
Instructions

Step 1: ‘First, make the caramel filling,’ says British chocolatier, William Curley, who is also an ambassador for Maple From Canada.

‘Gently boil the cream and the vanilla pod together and leave on the side. Mix together the caster sugar and maple sugar. Place one third of the sugar mixture and the glucose in a pan and start to heat. When it begins to melt, gradually add the remaining sugar mixture and heat until the caramel turns an amber colour.

‘Take the caramel off the heat and gradually add the cream, stirring continuously.

‘Stir in the maple syrup. Gradually add the butter and stir until fully combined then leave to cool.’

Step 2: ‘Make the tempered chocolate casing and fill with caramel: finely chop the chocolate and set aside one third,’ William says.

‘Slowly melt the remaining two thirds in a metal bowl over a saucepan of hot water, stirring regularly and ensuring the hot water doesn’t boil or touch the bottom of the bowl.

‘When the chocolate reaches 45-50C remove it from the heat. Add the remaining third of the chopped chocolate to the mixture and stir continuously until it cools to 28C-29C. Gently warm back up to 31–32C. Your chocolate should now be in temper.

‘Pour the tempered chocolate into the mould and tap vigorously to remove any bubbles.

‘Tip the mould upside down so the left-over chocolate falls into a bowl leaving a thin layer covering the mould casings. Leave in a cool and dry place to set.

‘Pipe in the cooled caramel into each mould casing until almost full. Cap the tops of the chocolates with the remaining tempered chocolate and allow the chocolates to completely set for a minimum of 30 minutes. When set, gently tap the chocolates out of the mould.’

Step 3: ‘To make the Easter egg casing, temper the chocolate using the same method as for the caramels’ William says.

‘Fill the chocolate mould with the tempered chocolate.

‘Scrape off the excess chocolate with a knife and tap the sides of the mould to remove any air bubbles. Allow the chocolate to sit inside the mould for two to three minutes so it starts to set.

‘Turn the mould upside down over a bowl and tap the outside so the majority of the chocolate falls out into the bowl to leave a shell of chocolate coating the inside of the mould. Turn the right way up and scrape off the excess chocolate with a knife.

‘Place the mould upside down on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat the process so you have two halves of the egg. Leave them to set for one to two hours in a cool and dry area.’

Step 4: ‘To seal the egg, once completely set, pop the eggs from the moulds,’ William says.

‘Place one half of the egg on a bowl or tart ring to hold it in place. Place the chocolates inside this half of the egg. Place a small amount of tempered chocolate inside a piping bag and pipe around the inside edge of the egg half.

‘Place the other half on top and allow to set for one to two minutes. Pipe along the seal of the egg and allow to set for a further five minutes. To decorate, brush gold lustre onto the egg in the shape of a maple leaf.’

If this all feels like too much or your chocolate creation doesn’t end up looking much like an egg, you can always place an order with your local supermarket instead.

Just take it out of the packet and hide it in the garden. The kids won’t know the difference.