One of my favorite chocolate Easter treats is the Cadbury Creme Egg, which is only available at this time of year.
I’m partial to the original creme egg and the chocolate creme egg, and to a lesser extent, the caramel-filled variety. But have you ever wondered how and why Cadbury began crafting creme eggs for Easter? I’d never really thought about it until I began thinking about the highly-decorated hollow chocolate eggs my grandmother would give us every so often at Easter, determined to find molds and an easy way to make them with chocolate candy melts.
According to several online sources, including Chocolate Trading Co., the origins of the chocolate Easter egg date back to early 19th-century France and Germany, where the first solid, but not very tasty chocolate eggs were made.
“The modern chocolate Easter egg with its smoothness, shape and flavour owes its progression to the two greatest developments in the history of chocolate — the invention of a press for separating cocoa butter from the cocoa bean by the Dutch inventor Van Houten in 1828 and the introduction of a pure cocoa by Cadbury Brothers in 1866,” Chocolate Trading Co. states in an online history. “The Cadbury process made large quantities of cocoa butter available and this was the secret of making moulded chocolate or indeed, any fine eating chocolate.
“The earliest Cadbury chocolate eggs were made of ‘dark’ chocolate with a plain smooth surface and were filled with dragees. The earliest ‘decorated eggs’ were plain shells enhanced by chocolate piping and marzipan flowers.”
Early hollow chocolate Easter eggs were filled with almonds or dragée, sugared candies with a hard outer shell which are, today, considered decorative.
History aside, I decided to try my hand at making hollow chocolate eggs that can be filled or left empty, easily made and easily assembled and decorated. I didn’t have to look far, finding molds at a local craft store. I also purchased four bags of candy melts — two bags of milk chocolate melts and two bags of vanilla “confetti” melts — and some premade frosting for the decorations. I also bought a family-size bag of Easter-themed M&M candies to put inside some of the hollow eggs.
The eggs were easy to make, with the longest amount of time being spent waiting for them to chill in the refrigerator. I’d highly recommend this as an activity for all ages, whether you spend the afternoon making hollow chocolate eggs with children or as a fun activity shared with adult friends.
HOLLOW CHOCOLATE EASTER EGGS
Makes five 4 1/2-inch hollow chocolate eggs.
For candy mold:
Two 12-ounce bags of chocolate candy melts
premade colored frosting, number depends on how many colors wanted
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons meringue powder
3 tablespoons of water
sugar flowers (optional)
assorted Easter candies
For the chocolate egg:
Empty one 12-ounce bag of candy melts into a microwave-safe container. Microwave at 50-percent power (or on defrost setting) for 1 minute. Stir. Return to microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between until candy is melted. Make sure mold is clean and dry. Follow directions for individual molds. I had two 4 1/2-plastic molds, each with a top and bottom mold. Each mold is half of an egg.
Fill the mold with melted chocolate to the fill line, then gently tap the mold to bring air bubbles to the surface. Gently place the other half of the plastic mold into the filled mold, until the chocolate fills the shape of the cavity. Tur the mold over, flat side down and make sure the chocolate has fully coated each side of the mold. Refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chocolate is hardened. The plastic mold should be opaque and no longer shiny once the chocolate is ready.
When ready, turn mold over and carefully remove molds from egg. Smooth edges on a warm plate. Fill if desired. While edges are warm, you can join halves together to create a solid, 3D egg. (I found greater success piping frosting on the edges and placing the egg halves together and gently pressing them together. Excess frosting can be wiped away or more frosting can be piped, decoratively around the edges.
For the frosting:
Make royal icing by combining the powdered sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add a little bit of water at a time, while beating continuously. Beat on medium high for 3 minutes, adding a little more water if necessary to get an icing with good piping consistency.
If desired, split icing into bowls and add desired food coloring, mixing well. With frosting in piping bags, using a decorative tip, pipe around the egg, coving the line where the top and bottom meet. Allow icing to dry thoroughly before moving or decorating the rest of the egg.