Wow... Easter is fast approaching! I had planned to get this post done and published well in advance of Easter weekend, but with a trip back to the UK, and the resultant jet-lagged week from hell... all the best plans blah, blah, blah! Easter is one of my favourite holidays! I love it because Spring is in the air (unless you're in the UK and experiencing a blizzard), the days are getting longer and it's just a lovely excuse to spend time having fun outdoors with the family. In the US, the traditions at Easter are slightly different than in the UK. The Easter Bunny ranks up there with good ol' Santa Claus and so an Easter Egg hunt is the cornerstone of most celebrations. The shops are FULL of hundreds of small, cheap plastic eggs that get filled with equally cheap candy and treats which can be hidden around gardens and parks across the country for the various egg hunts that take place!
In the UK, the traditions are slightly different. It's more about the culinary associations... a baked leg of Lamb on Easter Sunday, hot cross buns and simnel cake. When I was a child, we would be given one large-ish chocolate egg that was filled with our favourite candies, rather than the hundreds of small filled plastic ones common here today. In fact, my mother even had a chocolate mold in which she would make them. And she very kindly bequeathed these chocolate molds to me (complete with the original postage box circa 1983 ... haha!). So this year, I decided to make Easter eggs for my boys... something heartfelt and made with love, rather than tacky plastic commercialism!
And what did I come up with? An Angry Birds Egg!! Commercial, much?!! :-)
You will need...
- An Easter egg shaped candy mold like one of these below.
- A variety of coloured candy melts ... if you are making the red Angry Bird like the one pictured, you will need red, black, white & yellow. These are available in craft shops such as Michaels or online.
- A paintbrush reserved solely for food use.
- Some egg cups or small microwave proof dishes.
- A cellophane bag and gift ribbon.
Firstly, it's important to consider the process of layering the candy so you can determine the order in which to 'paint' your melted candy. You are working from the outside in, so any surface details need to be painted on first before you cover them, so for example, pupils BEFORE whites of the eyes!
For the red Angry bird you will need to paint the black outlines of the Angry Bird's face first. Melt just a few black candy wafers carefully in the microwave or over a double boiler (for more information on how to melt candy successfully read this post). Then using a paintbrush, paint the outlines of the bird's face in mirror image onto the inside of the candy mold and allow to harden.
Next, melt just 1 or 2 yellow candy wafers in an egg cup or small dish, and paint the melted candy over the beak outline (you can cover the center line).
Do the same for the eyes using white candy.
You can also then mix a little of the yellow into some of the white candy to make a pale cream yellow colour. Use this to paint the bird's underbelly.
Melt a bowl full of red candy melts (enough to fill both egg molds 1/4 inch thick). Mix a tiny bit of the red with some of the black you used for the face outlines and create the dark red spots on either side of the red bird's face.
When all these features have cooled and set. Pour in the red candy gently, working quickly so that it doesn't melt your face underneath. Spread up the sides of the mold and put in the fridge for 5 minutes to harden quickly. Another thin layer may be necessary to give the egg an adequate thickness.
Turn the eggs out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. Use a spoon to tap the outside of the mold and gently pull the mold away. You may need to use a sharp knife to loosen the edges.
Once the eggs are out, try not to handle them, as your warm fingers and hands are enough to melt the candy and leave fingerprints. Gently turn the eggs over and use a little more melted red candy around the rims of the eggs to attach the two sides together. You could fill the inside with candy before sticking them together, for example M&Ms.
Wrap in a clear cello bag and tie with a gift ribbon to prepare as a gift.
I'm now off to make some more... ideas include Spiderman, a monkey (use whole brown candy wafers stuck on the sides for ears), Darth Vader etc... Who would you make?!