Happy Easter! Chocolate Egg Inspiration!

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I guess that it’s been a rather long hiatus. Excuses, excuses abound, but you’re not here to read those. You’re here to see the goods! And in today’s case, they are totally worth it: vegan easter eggs filled with marshmallow or peanut butter fillings, or solid fruit-and-nut eggs.

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The first Easter after I went vegan was hard, because (as I think I mentioned before) I love seasonal candy. Take cheap jelly beans, make them egg shaped and speckled, and I’m sold. I loved Reese’s eggs and those malted-milk Robin Eggs, too. I’m still working on a malt ball substitute, but the eggs I present to you today are a huge hit with my family – I make several dozen to give away.

In order to make these, I had to use a mould, which I bought from Bulk Barn several years ago. As I wrap the completed chocolates in foil and store them in the refrigerator, I didn’t brother to temper the chocolate after melting it. I just used vegan semisweet chocolate chips and melted them in the microwave.

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The recipes below fall more into the “unrecipe” category, as the amounts are suggestions; the number of eggs will depend on the size and shape of moulds you use. Mine were the same general shape as a chicken’s egg (but halved).

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Finally, the marshmallow recipe that I used produces far more than the filling required for one dozen eggs (I moulded six chocolate shells, popped them out and moulded six more to fill all at the same time). I  experimented with making a vein version of Peeps, those chick shaped, sugar coated marshmallows. They are in some of my photos above, but they look more like chick-elephant hybrids. The rest of the marshmallows I made into traditional cylindrical mallows. To get the pastel fine sugar, I just pureed coloured sanding sugar in a spice grinder until it was a coarse powder.

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Ok, so here goes:

Chocolate Easter Eggs

A collection of original recipes by Agent Minty

Marshmallow Eggs (Vegan version of Russell Stover Eggs)

Makes 12 or more eggs, plus extra marshmallow filling

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave and use 1-2 tsp per cavity to line walls.Freeze for 5 minutes.
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  2. Check to see if chocolate is thick enough. If you can see light through, add another thin later and chill for another 5 minutes or more.
  3. Prepare marshmallow filling according to recipe and transfer 2 cups to a large piping bag with no tip.
  4. Dollop about 2 Tbsp of rolling per moulded egg.
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  5. Using a damp fingertip, smooth top of marshmallow down to better fill egg mould.
  6. Chill for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Re-melt chocolate and smooth chocolate over marshmallows, paying special attention to edges of the first half shell.
  8. Chill for at least 20 minutes before removing from mould and wrapping with foil.
  9. Optional: Pipe out remaining marshmallow mix onto sheets of parchment paper coated with fine sugar. Toss with more sugar. If cutting long tubes into short marshmallows, let cure for at least 30 minutes before cutting with scissors. Cure, uncovered, overnight for best texture.

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Peanut Butter Eggs (Vegan version of Reese Eggs)

Makes 20 or more eggs. Scale as needed.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2-3 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cups + 1 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 3/8 tsp salt (if the peanut butter you use has salt, cut to 1/8 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave and use 1-2 tsp per cavity to line walls.Freeze for 5 minutes. Coat a second time if needed.
  2. Mix together remaining ingredients until a smooth paste forms.
  3. Press 2-3 tsp of filling into each cavity and top with more melted chocolate.
  4. Store excess peanut butter filling in fridge between uses.
  5. Chill for at least 20 minutes before removing from mould and wrapping with foil.
  6. Repeat steps 1 and 3 to make more eggs as desired.

 

Fruit and Nut Eggs (Vegan version of Cadbury Fruit&Nut Bar)

Makes 8 or more eggs. Scale as needed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 6 Tbsp blanched, slivered almonds
  • 1/4 – 5Tbsp raisins

Instructions:

  1. Toast slivered almonds for about five minutes until light brown.
  2. Coarsely chop raisins and toasted almonds.
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  3. Melt chocolate and stir in chopped raisins and almonds.
  4. Fill moulds. Tap on a counter to remove air bubbles.
  5. Chill at least 30 minutes before removing from mould and wrapping with foil.
  6. Re-warm chocolate mixture briefly if needed to fill more moulds.

 

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Happy Easter!

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OMG VEGAN MARSHMALLOWS!!!

This is what has been missing in your animal-free life:

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It isn’t an animal product, it’s a homemade marshmallow. Soft, fluffy, sweet. Toastable.

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Delicious for piping onto cupcakes and making, say, s’mores-themed desserts.

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You CAN make these at home. Some of the ingredients are slightly exotic, but easy enough to find at any organic or health food store. The magic ingredient is the juice from a can of chickpeas, known by many vegans as aqua faba. This whips up to fabulous, magical fluffy mock egg whites and serves as the base for the marshmallows, along with a few other ingredients.

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Next you beat in a hot syrup to make the candy, and then add in an agar-agar solution (instead of the traditional, animal-based gelatine). After a good amount of beating, the mixture will “vulcanize” and you’ll be ready to make marshmallows. Some recipes advise pouring it into a pan and cutting them into cubes, but I found that this makes a wet mess. Piping them into “kisses” provides more surface area, helping them dry properly.

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I found the recipe originally on Seitan Is my Motor, but made a few modifications. Please read their link for more information… the more you read in preparation, the more likely it is to go smoothly!

In addition, I’ve provided a recipe below for some crazy-good s’mores cupcakes. These have a graham cracker-flavoured cake with a soft chocolate ganache, topped with toasted marshmallow. I thought they would be best fresh, but they are even more delicious if assembled the night before and allowed to sit at room temperature overnight before serving. Pull these babies out when you want to seriously impress people.

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Vegan Marshmallows – Modified from Seitan is my Motor

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup golden cane or corn syrup (or half white corn syrup and half golden, but NOT ALL white corn syrup)
  • 1/2 cup juice from canned chickpeas
  • 1 tsp Xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp agar powder
  • Icing sugar
Specialized equipment:
  • Stand mixer with whisk attachment
  • Candy thermometer
  • Two small/medium saucepans
  • Large piping bag
  • Waxed paper
Instructions:
  1. Combine 1/2 cup water and sugar in a medium pot. Whisk until combined.
  2. Stir in cream of tartar and syrup.
  3. Heat on medium, stirring once or twice, until mixture comes to a boil.
  4. Continue to simmer without stirring, and place a candy thermometer in the pot to measure temperature.
  5. Occasionally rush down splattered syrup from sides of pot with a brush dipped in water, and allow syrup to cook until it reaches 248F/120C. This will take five to ten minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, combine chickpea juice, Xantham gum, and lemon juice in the bowl of your mixer with a whisk attachment.
  7. Whisk chickpea mixture until it is stiff, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add vanilla at beat for another two minutes.
  9. Whisk together agar powder and 1/4 water in a small saucepan, and turn heat to low.
  10. While still monitoring the syrup temperature, gently stir to agar mixture without letting it come to a simmer.
  11. Once the syrup has reached 248F/120C, turn on mixer with chickpea foam inside. Slowly pour hot syrup into the mixing foam.
  12. Beat on high speed for two-four minutes, while finishing the agar mixture.
  13. Bring the agar to a simmer. Stir in 1 tsp more water.
  14. Using your wet brush to wash any specks of agar the are on the sides of the pot while continuing to cook.
  15. To test whether agar is ready, dip a fork into the solution and wave in the air to slightly cool off. When you taste the mixture, it should be smooth and not gritty.
  16. Once the agar is ready, pour/scrape into the running mixer.
  17. After incorporating the agar, pause mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  18. Resume beating the mixture at high speed for at least five minutes, until the mixture is cooled to just above room temperature. You will notice that a bit of the mixture, when spooned out and waved around to cool, starts to get a bit rubbery.
  19. Scoop mixture into a large piping bag without a tip.
  20. Dust a sheet of waxed paper with icing sugar.
  21. Pipe dollops (about 1 Tbsp in size) of mixture onto the sheet; if you wish you can also pipe onto prepared cupcakes (see below).
  22. For loose marshmallows, sift with icing sugar and allow to cure at room temperature, uncovered, for at least a day.

S’mores cupcakes – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 70g graham crackers (about 4.5 large sheets)
  • 3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp white flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance/non-dairy hard margarine
  • 6 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 3 tsp egg replacer powder
  • 2 Tbsp (40g) creamed honey, melted
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

Ganache

  • 1/4 cup coconut cream from a can
  • 2.3 cup chocolate chips

Prepared Marshmallow mix from above (Do not prepare until cupcakes and ganache have been assembled)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Process graham crackers in a food processor to get fine crumbs – This should make 1/2 cup +3 Tbsp.
  3. Combine crumbs with flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Cream together margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar in a stand mixer.
  5. Whisk together vanilla, water, and egg replacer until slightly frothy. Add to butter mixture.
  6. Mix honey, canola oil, and lemon juice to butter mixture, stirring until well combined.
  7. Add in half of flour mixture, stirring until evenly mixed.
  8. Scrape down bowl and add milk, mixing well.
  9. Mix in remaining dry mixture.
  10. Divide mixture between 12 lined muffin tins.
  11. Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted into cupcake come out dry.
  12. Remove to cooling rack and cool for at least an hour (prepare ganache at this time).

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  13. Heat coconut cream in a saucepan or in the microwave until hot but not boiling.
  14. Stir in chocolate chips until melted.
  15. Set aside to cool for at least one hour.

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  16. Scoop a tablespoonful of ganache onto the centre of each cupcake.
  17. Set cupcakes in the refrigerator to harden ganache for at least 20 minutes, while making marshmallow mixture.
  18. Pipe a generous amount of marshmallow on top of each cupcake.
  19. Allow to cure at room temperature for at least an hour.
  20. Using a torch, toast the surface of the marshmallows before serving.

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