Tuesday 11 April 2017

Hazelnut chocolate Easter eggs

No one seems to be selling fair trade Easter eggs in New Zealand this year, so last week my friend Anna and I again got together to make our own.  We use fair trade chocolate: this way we can be confident our Easter treats are a blessing not only to those who receive them but also to all those involved in their production :-)

Over the years we've developed a number of home-made Easter egg recipes.  We first learned how to make marshmallow chocolate Easter eggs.  Last year we added creme eggs to our repertoire: both classic creme eggs and vegan peppermint chocolate ones.  This year we made hazelnut chocolate Easter eggs: a milk chocolate shell filled with a paste that tastes a lot like the filling in Guylian seashell chocolates.  Click here to jump to the recipe.

Hazelnut chocolate Easter eggs

We coated some of the marshmallow ones with Nestle milky bar (which technically isn't chocolate - bizarrely it contains no cocoa products of any kind!) for a friend who's sensitive to actual chocolate.

Marshmallow Easter eggs - the ones we mastered first, right back in 2011 :-)

Some of the eggs packaged ready to give away :-)
At Christmas I was given some Guylian seashell chocolates and was reminded how much I like them.  Unfortunately, they're not fair trade, but I wondered if I could make something similar myself from fair trade ingredients.  I couldn't find any recipes on the internet, so I looked at the ingredients list (which handily gives you an idea of the proportions of the various ingredients, not just what they are) and started playing.  After about eight variants I decided the version I tried first was the best!  It's not as firm as the filling in actual Guylian chocolates but it tastes very similar, with both the chocolate and hazelnut flavours coming through nicely.  I'm very pleased with it and thought it would make a great Easter egg filling :-)

Here's the recipe for the filling along with instructions for using it in Easter eggs.  It makes about 30 eggs using moulds with cavities about 3cm across, 4cm long and 1cm deep.  Eggs cost 55c each (2017 prices in NZ dollars, hazelnut butter from Harvest Wholefoods, other ingredients from Countdown).  It's way less fiddly than the creme eggs we have previously made in the same moulds!

  • 150g fairly traded milk chocolate - we use the 250g block of Whittakers Creamy milk chocolate
  • 100g smooth hazelnut butter (like peanut butter but made with roasted hazelnuts - buy from health food shops)
  • 50g icing sugar, sifted (it's really important to sift it) - we use Chelsea for human rights reasons

  • 500-600g extra milk chocolate for shells


Preparing the filling:

1. Gently melt first measure milk chocolate in microwave (burns easily).  Don't worry if it's a bit lumpy (i.e. a little burnt) - that won't be noticeable in the final product.
2. Mix in hazelnut butter, then icing sugar.

Assembling the Easter eggs (see below for photos of the process):

1. Melt second measure chocolate.
2. Paint melted chocolate into the mould cavities.  Tap chocolate to remove any bubbles.  Scrape to level.  Put into the freezer for 1-2 minutes.
3. Remove mold from freezer, coat the sides of each cavity with a second coat of chocolate (a piping bag helps with this) then scrape to level.
4. Freeze 5 minutes (they should be set solid when the mould looks 'misted').
5. Tap moulds to remove chocolate.  If they don't come easily, twist and rub them with your thumbs. It can take several goes of this (putting them in the freezer between times) till they're all out.
7. Place half the halves back in the molds.
8. Microwave the filling if necessary (be gentle, it becomes runny fast! - try 10-20 second bursts - just until it's workable) then put an oval of filling into each mold such that it stands a bit 'proud' of the rim.
9. Pipe chocolate around the rim of these half-eggs then top with another half, removing any chocolate smears that ooze well beyond the edge of the egg.  Leave to stand in the molds (so level) and return to freezer until set (1-2 minutes).
I decided to melt the chocolate in my fancy chocolate machine so it wouldn't burn.  As you can see, that didn't work out as hoped.  However, using chocolate that was as lumpy as this turned out to work fine.

Hazelnut butter mixed in.  You can see it's got quite a few lumps from the chocolate.

Icing sugar mixed in.  You can see it's now stiff-ish (and not much above room temperature).

The recipe made about a cup of filling.  I stored it in the fridge until I was ready to make the eggs.  I expect it will store more-or-less indefinitely at fridge temperature.

Pouring the chocolate into the moulds for the first coat.  I'm using these moulds.

Piping the second coat of chocolate around the rim of the egg shells (so that they are evenly thick all around)

Piping chocolate around the rim of the eggs after they've been filled with hazelnut filling.  Some of these have already been 'capped' with a second half-egg.

Ready for final setting in the freezer.
The finished product!

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