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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Nephew Cookies

I announce that I’m back to blogging, and then what happens?

I have a string of kitchen failures: VegNews’ vegan eclairs, after two tries, still end up mediocre; tortillas that stick and burn to the pan; mock chicken noodle soup that looks unmentionably unappetizing (but tasty).

I catch a raging cold/pinkeye from my wife and am out of commission for nearly two weeks.

But I’m mostly on the mend, and nothing makes me feel better than making something in the kitchen. As it is a long weekend, I have lots of time to play. I don’t feel like inventing something new, so I’m just sharing some old favourites. Today I made cookies invented by my wife with our nephew a while back. We had little of any particular baking ingredient left, so they combined them all to make something delicious. We actually refer to these as “_____’s cookies”, but since this nephew is now a pre-teen who spends way too much time online, we’ll keep him anonymous. Anyway, these are great with a mug of tea on an autumn afternoon, or shared with young chocolate-loving relatives.

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Nephew Cookies 

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

If using powdered egg replacer, take the time to really beat the mixture until frothy.
If you prefer thin, chewy cookies, use the higher amount of margarine, if you prefer softer, puffy cookies, use the lower amount.

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup vegan margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly backed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 “egg”
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup +2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp grates nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup blanched, salted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup whole almonds
  • 2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • about 1/4 cup dark chocolate melting wafers
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together butter and both sugars.
  3. Whisk egg well and add to butter mixture, along with vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Add in flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Mix well.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips, peanuts, and almonds.
  6. Drop in 2-inch mounds on a greased cookie sheet. Press a melting wafer into the centre of each cookie.
  7. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through.
  8. Allow cookies to firm up for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Love chocolate and peanut butter together? So do I. Yum. However, I’m not a huge cupcake fan. I’ll eat them, sure, but if I’m making something for myself, I would more likely make a tart, ice cream, candy, or cookies. I made these for a lab meeting at work, though, and my colleagues love cupcakes – especially any featuring chocolate.

Sink your teeth into these chocolatey cupcakes topped with whipped peanut butter icing and chocolate shell.

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So yummy… when you bite into them, you get a creamy, nutty surprise:

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These would be perfect for a fancy occasion like a birthday party or for a potluck.

 

Agent Minty’s Peanut Butter Hi-Hat Cupcakes

Makes 18 medium cupcakes

Quick rich chocolate cupcakes (modified from Joy of Cooking)

  • 2 1/4 cups of white flour
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 9 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups cold water
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 6 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Combine water, coffee granules, oil, vinegar, and vanilla
  3. Pour liquid ingredients into dry and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour into cupcake liners.
  5. Bake at 350F for 17-19 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool for at least 45 minutes.

Peanut butter whipped frosting

To get the creamiest consistency, I recommend using the cheap no-stir homogenized peanut butter. I use the natural stuff on my toast, but it’s famous gritty texture will interfere with your frosting here.

  • 3 1/2 Tbsp margarine (any kind is fine)
  • 2.5 Tbsp of smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 1/3 c icing sugar
  • 5 Tbsp almond milk
  1. Cream together the first four ingredients.
  2. Add in icing sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with milk.
  3. Whip until a mousse-like texture has been achieved
  4. Transfer to a piping bag with a large tip  and place a large dollop on top of each cupcake.
    • Alternatively, use a spoon or a freezer bag with the corner cut off.
  5. Freeze topped cupcakes for at least one hour.

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Chocolate shell

Try to make this in a 2-cup container – wide enough to fit your fingertips, and deep enough to fit the frosted top of the cupcake. You will end up making more chocolate sauce than you will need. Try Adding extra coconut oil to the leftovers to make your own Magic Shell topping for ice cream.

  • 2 cups of vegan chocolate chips, divided
  • 2.5 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
  1. Melt half of each ingredient together in a heat-proof container in your microwave (3 30-second bursts should do it).
  2. Take a frozen, topped cupcake and dip into the chocolate sauce.
  3. Drip off the extra.
  4. While the chocolate is still wet, place on any decorations you want. I used salted roasted peanuts.
  5. Return cupcakes to the freezer, or keep out for immediate consumption.
  6. Allow cupcakes to thaw for 2 hours before serving. They will stay good for about 10 hours at room temperature, but the chocolate shell will get a little soft.

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By the way, sorry for the lack of budget or healthy eating posts lately. With my busy schedule, most of my meals have been repeats of the staples – vegan homemade wieners, bean salad, spaghetti, or tinned soup. Cheap, yes, but not so interesting. We have a two-week break in the renos while we wait for a new counter, so hopefully in the meantime I’ll get inspired to document some weeknight cooking!