Chocolate Surprise Eggs

I’ve been working overtime this week trying to punch out some faux-Kinder Eggs for my niece, Maddy, just in time for Easter Sunday.  A few weeks ago, I went to visit my sister (Maddy’s mom) and she started telling me that Maddy was obsessed with this YouTube video featuring Kinder Eggs.  I didn’t even know what a Kinder Egg was!  A few minutes later my sister pulled up the video and sure enough my niece sat mesmerized, content, and glued to the screen.

Kinder eggs are hollow chocolate eggs filled with a toy of some sort.  When you crack open the eggshell, the inner treasure is revealed.  They aren’t available here in the US, which one of the reasons why Maddy can’t get her hands on any.

My Chocolate Surprise Eggs are a slightly more elegant version of Maddy’s beloved Kinder Eggs, stuffed with edible (and drinkable!) treats instead of juvey plastic toys.  No Mickey Mouse or Peppa Pig figurines here,except if I am making them for my niece!

My mini Marzipan Veggies are ideal for stuffing into these Chocolate Surprise Eggs.  Perfect for a Springtime or Easter themed party, you can place the marzipan piece in the chocolate shell and seal the shells together to create a true Kinder-like egg that rattles inside. Another option is to serve them up like little petit fours, on a half eggshell.

Fill them with honeyed, toasted unsweetened coconut for a no fuss, tasty way to showcase the bright and delicate Marzipan Veggies.  Cover them with another half eggshell so that your guests can take part in revealing what’s inside!

An extra step you can take to make the chocolate eggs super fancy is by propping them up on cookies sifted with a bit of matcha powder to create a mossy-looking base.  You can “glue” the shell to the cookie base with a glob of almost set melted chocolate.  If the melted chocolate you are using is too warm, the eggshell won’t want to sit upright and may actually start to melt.  So, plant your half eggshell onto tacky, almost set chocolate.  The petit fours will sit up at a pretty viewing angle this way.

Tea balls make a beautiful trinket to place into the hollow chocolate eggs.  These tightly wound balls of tea actually become beautiful terrarium looking plants when they bloom in hot water. The tea leaves are hand strung with a cotton thread to form a blooming tea flower, also called a Petit Bouquet.  If you are having an afternoon tea with friends, make lots of these eggs and allow each guest one egg to crack open just in time for tea to start. One tea ball per pot of tea!

Chambre de Sucre makes the most gorgeous variety of molded sugars that would also make whimsical treats to place inside of the eggs.  I just love their Sucre Rond and Hana Flower Sugars.  They elevate any tea drinking experience to the next level of loveliness.

I’ve meant to experiment with edible gold leaf for the longest time.  Instead of dishing out the money for real edible gold leaf, I bought this $5 bottle of gold cake decorating spray to play around with.  I was quite happy with the results, as the spray gave off a light, even mist of gold coloring to my eggs.  Just the right touch of glamor to make the eggs stand out.

Make this Easter unforgettable with some homemade Chocolate Surprise Eggs this year! The best technique for making them is to have a bit of patience, a temperature controlled room, and some clever ideas for trinkets to stuff inside.  Tea, gourmet sugars, marzipan candies…with Surprise Eggs the possibilities are endless!

Chocolate Surprise Eggs

Ingredients:

chocolate candy melts

edible gold food spray (optional)

Equipment:

chocolate egg molds

small flat tip food safe decorating brush

knife and cup of hot water (to smooth edges of eggshell)

flat frying pan (if you want to seal the 2 halves of the egg together to make 1 whole egg)

For the Petit Fours:

chocolate candy melts

1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut, toasted

6 Tbsp honey

cocoa powder, for dusting inside of eggs (optional)

flat round cookies of your choice (I used Famous Chocolate Wafers)

matcha, for dusting atop cookie (optional)

Marzipan Veggies

Directions:

1.)  Melt the chocolate melts in the microwave or atop a double boiler according to the package directions.  Place about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate in each egg cavity.  Use a decorating brush to evenly distribute the chocolate in the egg molds.

2.)  Let this first layer of chocolate set.  For faster results, you can place them in the fridge to harden.

3.)  When the first layer has completely set, apply a second rounded tsp of the melted chocolate.  Use the brush to apply the 2nd layer of chocolate evenly in the mold.

*** Variation:  For Sealed Chocolate Eggs:   With 2 completely set half eggshells (best to have left them in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill completely), place both shells edge down on a flat pan placed on low, even heat.  Allow edges to melt for a few seconds.  Pick up one eggshell and swiftly place a Marzipan Veggie or other trinket inside this half eggshell.  Pick up the other shell and place both melted edges of each half shell together to seal.  For best results, work fast!

4.  Let the second layer completely harden, then slip the shells out of the molds.  I wanted to dust the inside of the shells with cocoa powder here for my Petit Fours, but this is totally optional.  Use a knife dipped in hot water, then wiped dry to smooth over the edges of the eggshell.

5.)  Mix the toasted coconut with the honey and stuff about 1 1/2 Tbsp of this sweetened coconut into each chocolate shell, then a Marzipan Veggie on top.

6.)  Sift some matcha powder atop each cookie.

7.)  Add a dollop of melted chocolate atop each matcha-dusted cookie and allow for it to almost fully set.

8.)  Place the filled and marzipan-topped half chocolate eggshell on top of the almost set dollop of chocolate.  Hold it in place with the back of a spoon for a few moments to allow for it to set.  Your Chocolate Eggshell Petit Four is complete!

Kokeshi Easter Eggs

So it turns out that this week I’m heading over to the place in the world that I love the most…Hawaii!  Hawaii has always been my inspiration and comfort, my home away from home.

If you are familiar with Oahu and the Honolulu area, you probably know about Ala Moana.  There are so many unique Asian and Hawaiian treasures at Ala Moana.  My favorites include the island-style tea shop Lupicia, a colorful mochi stand in their food court called Kansai Yamato, and finally Shirokiya, a Japanese department store with the most amazing selection of kokeshi dolls.

Kokeshi are wooden lacquered Japanese dolls painted in colorful kimonos.  The kimonos range from bright and vibrant to earth-toned and natural looking.  As they are entirely made of wood, the dolls are often quite heavy.  They sometimes have an egg-like shape, which is exactly why I ended up creating these exotic Kokeshi Doll Easter Eggs this year!

What’s intriguing about these Kokeshi Easter Eggs is that they are dyed and decorated with common everyday spices and 2 of my favorite teas, pu-erh and matcha!

Pu-erh Tea is a very dark fermented Chinese black tea, also known as bo-lay in Cantonese.  Many consider pu-erh tea an acquired taste because of its earthy and slightly musty richness.  This is a very dark chocolate colored tea, making it ideal for dyeing eggs.  Using pu-erh to dye eggs gives them a peachy flesh skin tone coloring within a few minutes of boiling.  In a pinch, you can use some rustic brown eggs instead, but since I am never short on tea, I went ahead boiled my white eggs in a concentrated pu-erh tea steep.

Thanks to our friends over in England and Spain, mustard and paprika become the basis for clothing our egg dolls.  The spices give off the most brilliant shades of sunshine yellow and fiery red in the kimonos, especially when they’ve bloomed after being mixed with a bit of corn syrup.  And as you may already know from my Matcha Monday posts, there is nothing better than getting that perfect shade of leaf green color from a good-quality matcha powder.

After the corn syrup paint hardens to a lacquer like shine, it’s time to embellish!  Accessories complete any look, so I’ve dotted pastel flower sprinkles on the kimonos, attaching them with tiny dabs of the same corn syrup used to create the kimonos.  And if you aren’t planning on eating these on the same day, use hollowed out eggs to decorate with (tea dye just the shells), as the corn syrup tends to soften when taken in and out of the fridge (i.e. because of condensation).

With Hawaii on my mind, I added one last flower sprinkle to the left hairline of each Kokeshi Egg.  In Hawaiian culture, a flower over the left ear means that the gal is taken–that is, married or no longer available.  Feel free to switch sides!

I can’t wait to visit Shirokiya in Honolulu this weekend!  Kimonos and kokeshi dolls will be in plenty, and I’ll probably be looking at the beautiful Japanese fabrics and designs thinking of different ways to dress up these Kokeshi Easter Eggs next year.

And as a side note, if you love Japanese tea and culture like I do, my blogger friend, Buri-chan, over at San’in Monogatari has an incredible blog.  She just finished participating in the 2014 World Kimono Competition last week, where according to Buri-chan, casual, formal (tomesode), and flashier (furisode) style kimonos were each judged in different competitions.  Buri-chan tied for 4th place at the event…check out her gorgeous outfit here I’m beginning to wonder if my kokeshi dolls would be cute enough to enter the competition?

Add a bit of Hawaiian flair to your Easter Egg hunt this year!  Natural looking and beach ready, these babes will add just the right touch of sunshine to all your Easter celebrations!

Kokeshi Doll Easter Eggs

Makes 8 eggs.

What You’ll Need:

2 Tbsp loose pu-erh tea

4 cups of water

8 eggs

medium pot for boiling eggs

slotted spoon

tea towel

edible food color marker

1 Tbsp corn syrup, plus extra for glueing on hair, eyes, and flower sprinkles

matcha green tea powder, paprika powder, and mustard powder

black decorating sugar

small bowl or teacup

16 black sesame seeds

1 Tbsp of dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

toothpicks

small bowl filled up 2″ with rice to help with decorating (optional)

 Step-By-Step:

1.)  Boil the Eggs.

Bring water to a boil over high heat and throw in the tea to steep.  Allow the water to continue to boil while the tea is steeping.  When tea looks dark brown, add in eggs and boil for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, turn heat off and let eggs steep an extra 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs from the tea steep onto a tea towel and wipe dry.  Allow to cool completely before decorating.

2..)  Draw the Lines.

There are 3 simple lines you need to draw to create the kokeshi doll.

Using a black food marker, draw a “Y” on the center of an egg.  As you can see, it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Now draw a sweeping hairline/left side hair part on kokeshi above the “Y” and join the edges.

Turn the egg around to its back side.  Draw a big “U” shape, joining the tips of the “U” shape to the point where the “Y” met the hairline that you drew before.

3.)  Make the Kimonos.

Mix the matcha, mustard, or paprika with corn syrup to create a thick-like edible paint.  The ratio is 1 tsp of corn syrup to a 1/2 tsp of the powdered tea or spice.  Gently use your finger to mix a bit of the tea/spice into the corn syrup a little at a time.   The thicker the “paint” the more color the kimonos will have.

Use your finger to apply the tea/spice paint in an even, thin layer in gentle swirl motions.  The kimono should be painted below the “Y” area previously drawn.

Keep the “face” area (where my thumb is) as clean as possible.

In an egg crate or some rice in a small bowl, prop the egg upside down to allow for kimono to dry.  This should take about 2 hours.

4.)  Make the Hair.  

With a fully dried kimono, now create a full looking hairdo for the kokeshi.

Place black sanding sugar in a small bowl or teacup.  Paint the area between the hairline and the “U” shape with a thin layer of plain corn syrup.  You can see below that the kimono paint dripped onto the hair area, which will be easily covered!

Dip the just painted, sticky hair section of kokeshi in the black decorating sugar.  If it is easier for you, you can just paint one side of the hair at a time.  Right side of hair…

Left side of hair…

Feel free to use extra dabs of corn syrup and black sugar to fill in any bald spots.

5.)  Make a Face.  Your kokeshi is now ready to have black sesame eyes.

Use a toothpick to dab a bit of corn syrup onto the location for the eyes on the egg.  You can use the same toothpick now to pick up a black sesame and attach it to the egg.

The Kokeshi Egg Doll is almost finished!

6.)  Give Them Some Style.

Outline the “Y” on the kimonos with melted chocolate, applied in a thin line with a toothpick.

Add some flower sprinkles to the kimono to create a fun print.  And if you are wanting for them to go Hawaiian style, add a flower sprinkle to the right or left side of their hairline.  Attach sprinkles with tiny dabs of corn syrup.

The beautiful Kokeshi Doll Eggs are all dressed and ready to shine!  Happy Easter egg decorating!