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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Delicious Chocolate Ideas for Easter II

Spring has sprung…

delicate flowers are blooming. Baskets will soon be filled with chocolates, marshmallows, jelly beans! Dress up a table filled with fresh flowers, and bunnies. Oooh’s and aah’s how pretty the decorated eggs are…

I have found delicious Easter chocolate desserts your family and friends will love…

check them out!

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Raspberry and Chocolate Meringue Melt

Ingredients:

5 large egg whites

10 oz./275g caster sugar

3 tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. white wine vinegar

9 ½ fl. oz./ 284ml pot double cream

3 ½ fl. oz./100ml Baileys Irish Cream

10 oz./300g fresh raspberries

A little cocoa to dust

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 325 °F/170 °C/Gas 3. Put the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer, with a whisk attachment (or you can use a hand held electric whisk). Whip the eggs until they form stiff peaks. Using a dessert spoon add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, mixing between additions, until it has all been incorporated. Then add the cocoa a spoonful at a time, followed lastly by the vinegar.

Divide between 3 baking sheets, each lined with baking parchment and marked with a circle measuring about 8”/20cm. Spread the mixture out to fit the circles then bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Then, turn down the heat to 275 °F/140 °C/ Gas 1 and continue to cook for 50 minutes. Turn the oven off, leaving the meringue to cool completely before removing.

When the meringue is cool and you are ready to serve, whip the cream until it is reasonably stiff without seeming ‘over whipped’. Add the Baileys and whisk again, then stir in the raspberries. Place a disc on the serving platter and spoon over half of the cream and raspberry mixture. Top with a second disc and spoon over the rest of the cream, before topping with the final disc and dusting with cocoa. Serve immediately.

Serves 8

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DIY Chocolate-Caramel Easter Eggs

Here are step-by-step instructions.

Large chocolate eggshells are made by pouring melted white chocolate into the bottom and top halves of molds, filling completely.

The mold is tilted to release the excess chocolate so that a hollow shell is formed. Use your fingertip to wipe away the excess chocolate

The caramel filling is spooned into chocolate eggshell halves. After the caramel sets, it is covered with dark chocolate filling.

Melted white chocolate is spread over dark chocolate filling in each egg half, covering completely.

After white chocolate is set, mold is turned over, then gently bent and twisted to release egg halves.

White chocolate is spread over flat side of bottom egg half; then top egg half is placed over bottom egg half and pressed gently to adhere.

Ingredients for Egg Shells:

2 1/2 pounds imported bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate or imported white chocolate (such as Lindt or Callebaut) or 1 1/4 pounds of each chocolate, chopped

3 large plastic egg mold sets*

2 small plastic egg mold sets*

Ingredients for Caramel Filling:

3 cups sugar

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/3 cup sour cream

Ingredients for Chocolate Filling:

3/4 cup whipping cream

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 pound imported bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons sour cream

Assembly:

Reserved chocolate in double boiler

To Decorate:

8 yards (about) silk ribbons

*The exact molds specified in the original recipe are no longer available, but these molds from Life of the Party are a good substitute. Preparation:

Preparation for Eggshells:

Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring frequently until smooth and candy thermometer registers 115°F for bittersweet and 105°F for white chocolate. (If making both bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate eggs, melt chocolates separately in two double boilers.) Remove chocolate from over water. Spoon chocolate into 1 set of large egg molds, filling molds completely (do not fill decorative base section of mold). Turn mold over above prepared cookie sheet, allowing excess chocolate to spill out. Shake mold to produce uniformly thick shell. Turn mold right side up. Run fingertip gently around edge of eggs to remove excess chocolate. Refrigerate.

Tilt foil-lined sheet with melted chocolate over top of double boiler, scraping chocolate into double boiler. Reheat to 115°F for bittersweet and 105°F for white chocolate, stirring frequently. Repeat coating process with remaining 2 large egg mold sets and 2 small egg mold sets, removing chocolate from over water while working and reheating chocolate after each set of egg molds is coated. Refrigerate molds. (If using white chocolate, the molds will need a double coating. Refrigerate molds after first coating is cold. Refill with barely lukewarm chocolate, shake out excess and wipe edges clean, creating double-thick shell.) Return remaining chocolate on foil to top of double boiler and set aside. Refrigerate molds while making caramel filling.

Preparation for Caramel Filling:

Stir sugar and water in heavy large saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, washing down sides of pan with pastry brush dipping into water and swirling pan occasionally. Remove from heat. Add whipping cream and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously) and whisk until smooth. Whisk in sour cream. Let caramel filling stand just until barely cool (mixture will be sticky), stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes.

Spoon 2 scant tablespoons caramel into each small egg half. Spoon 1/4 cup caramel into each large egg half. Refrigerate while making chocolate filling.

Preparation for Chocolate Filling:

Bring whipping cream and butter to simmer in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until butter melts. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth and melted. Remove chocolate filling from heat. Whisk in sour cream. Let stand until cool but still pourable, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Spoon filling over caramel in egg halves, filling to 1/16 inch below top edge. Chill until set, about 40 minutes.

Assembly:

Rewarm reserved melted chocolate in top of double boiler to 115°F for bittersweet and 105°F for white chocolate. Remove chocolate from over water. Working quickly, spread enough melted chocolate (use bittersweet for dark eggs and white chocolate for white eggs) atop 1 set of filled eggs just to cover. Use icing spatula to scrape excess chocolate from eggs and clean sides. Place mold in refrigerator. Repeat with remaining egg molds. Refrigerate all molds until chocolate is firm, about 1 hour.

Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Remove 1 egg mold from refrigerator. Turn mold over onto foil. Gently bend and twist mold side to side several times to release halves of chocolate eggs. Repeat unmolding process with remaining eggs.

Rewarm remaining melted chocolate in top of double boiler until warm to touch. Turn bottom half of 1 egg over so flat sides face up. Spread small amount of melted chocolate over flat side of egg, leaving 1/4-inch border. Working quickly, cover bottom half of egg with corresponding top half of egg and press together gently. Refrigerate whole egg. Repeat with remaining egg halves and melted chocolate. DO AHEAD Can be prepared 2 weeks ahead. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

To Decorate:

Wrap ribbons around seam of each egg and tie bow at top. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve eggs chilled.

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Chocolate-Covered Peanut-Butter Eggs

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons butter-flavored shortening

2 (1-ounce) squares white baking chocolate, melted (optional)

Directions:

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and brown sugar in a microwave oven on High (100-percent power) for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until brown sugar is melted. Add confectioners' sugar and peanut butter, stirring to combine. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Shape by teaspoonful into egg shapes. Place on a wire rack over parchment paper. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat, whisking until smooth. Spoon an even layer of chocolate over each peanut-butter egg. Refrigerate for 5 minutes. Remove from refrigerator.

Spoon another layer of chocolate over peanut-butter eggs. Let sit at room temperature until chocolate is set.

Drizzle with melted white chocolate, if desired.

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Allergy-friendly Chocolate Easter Eggs

Special Tools:

12-16 plastic egg molds

Plastic wrap

Ingredients:

1 lb. (500 grams) dark chocolate, chopped*

*always read the label carefully to ensure chocolate contains no dairy ingredients

Marshmallow:

½ cup (120 mL) water, divided

1 package unflavored gelatin (equivalent to 1 tbsp. or 15 mL)

½ cup (120 mL) cold water, divided

½ cup (125 mL) sugar

½ cup (120 mL) corn syrup

1/8 tsp. (0.5 mL) salt

1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla

Wrap 12 large egg molds or eggs tightly with plastic wrap, leaving plastic twisted at one end to make a kind of handle.

Place chocolate in a small, deep heavy pot over low heat and melt stirring occasionally until liquid. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Holding plastic handle, dip eggs into chocolate until coated half way up each egg.

Carefully place eggs (chocolate side up) in a mini muffin pan or egg carton and put in refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until chocolate has set.

Remove chocolate covered molds from mini muffin pan or egg carton. Carefully ease plastic and chocolate from molds. Next peel plastic from the inside of the chocolate to leave a chocolate shell behind. Set shells into mini muffin pans or egg cartons and chill while you make marshmallow fluff.

Fluff:

Pour ¼ cup (60 mL) cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer, and sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining ¼ cup (60 mL) water in a pot and heat over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to high and boil syrup until it reaches 240ºF (118ºC) on a sugar thermometer.

With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour boiling sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl into the gelatin mixture. Turn mixer to high and beat for 5 minutes or until mixture is white and shiny. Beat in vanilla.

Transfer fluff to a large clean piping bag and pipe into prepared chocolate eggshells. If you do not have a piping bag, cut a corner off a baggie, add the marshmallow fluff and pipe it in through the corner. You can also spoon it in but it doesn’t look as pretty. Sandwich egg halves together if desired.

Leave to set at room temperature until firm. Refrigerate until needed. Makes 12-16 filled eggs.

Tips:

You can change the colour and the taste of the marshmallow by adding in peppermint essence, orange essence or unsweetened cocoa. Beat in a little food colouring to dye marshmallow yellow, pink or green.

You can make these eggs and not fill them, if desired or make another filling that your child is not allergic to. You can make whole eggs by sandwiching the two halves together.

The eggs are a bit fragile because the chocolate is not tempered (a professional technique that keeps the chocolate from melting on your hands).

For children who are not allergic to eggs, the easiest way to make them is to use real eggs as the mold. The plastic peels off easily from them.

If the child is allergic to eggs, plastic egg molds are available around Easter at grocery stores, bulk stores, dollar stores and toy stores. Spray with baking spray before wrapping in plastic to make them easier to separate.

Leftover chocolate can be poured onto a sheet of parchment paper, let dry and broken up into pieces to use in other recipes or for eating out of hand. You need the extra chocolate in case some chocolate shells break.

If you do not have a sugar thermometer, drop the sugar syrup into a bowl of ice water. It should form a soft ball.

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Chocolate Chip Easter Baskets

Ingredients:

1 package (16.5 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough

1 cup prepared white frosting

Green food coloring

1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

WONKA® SweeTARTS® or SPREE® Jelly Beans

Thin-string licorice, various colors, cut into 3-inch pieces for basket handles (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 24 mini-muffin cups. Place one square of cookie dough into each cup.

Bake for 14 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove pans to wire rack. If licorice handles are to be added, with tip of wooden pick, make two holes opposite each other on top edge of cup. Make sure holes are the same size as the width of the licorice. This is best done when cups are very warm. Cool cups completely in pans on wire rack. With tip of butter knife, remove cookie cups from muffin pans. Arrange on serving platter.

Combine frosting and a few drops of food coloring in small bowl, adding additional food coloring until desired shade is reached.

Dissolve a few drops of food coloring in 1/4 teaspoon water in small, resealable food storage plastic bag. Add coconut. Seal bag and shake to evenly coat coconut.

Spoon a small amount of frosting onto the top of each cup. Add a pinch of tinted coconut. Top grass with SweeTarts Jelly Beans. Insert ends of licorice into small holes in cups for handles.

Servings: 24 baskets

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Easter Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

2-3/4 cups chilled heavy cream, divided

4 egg yolks

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat 3/4 cup cream until hot. (Do not boil.) In a medium bowl, whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt; add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until an instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, and stir in vanilla.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate on High in 30-second intervals, until melted, about 1-1/2 minutes. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth; cool.

In a large bowl, beat remaining cream at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Whisk one-fourth of whipped cream into chocolate custard to lighten; gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Spoon mousse into a pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe mouse into egg shells that are open on one end and cleaned thoroughly in hot soapy water.

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Did you know…

Easter gets its name from Eoster, a Teutonic spring goddess. It was originally celebrated on the spring equinox when the day is in balance with the night, and so we will again have more light than darkness. It was therefore the perfect time to celebrate the resurrected deity, whether it's Osiris, Mithras, Odin, Persephone, or Jesus Christ.

Everywhere we look there are flowers, chicks, rabbits, and colored eggs! All symbols of new life and fertility and have been part of spring celebrations for thousands of years.

The lily, now thought of more as a symbol of death, was a symbol of life to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and they decorated their Spring altars with them. Young men would offer them in the way that men now offer diamond rings.

From my home to yours…

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and

happy chocolate day!

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