Easter eggs are far and away the biggest non-religious Easter tradition in the UK. I’m not talking about dyeing or painting regular hen’s eggs, or even the small cream or caramel-filled chocolate eggs. I’m talking giant chocolate shells filled with candy of some kind, usually more chocolate. If they were real eggs they’d have to have been laid by a dragon, nothing else could lay something that big!
Every year, I would get one egg from my parents. More than enough chocolate to keep me going a few days, yet I always felt a little hard done by. Most of my friends, who had larger families than mine and lived closer to them, would get multiple eggs and would always compare counts when we got back to school. It would often be up in the teens and they had enough chocolate to last them months, even accounting for them scarfing it as fast as they were allowed!
Given the American stereotype for candy-loving, I was surprised to find nothing really close to that here. Sure, there is lots of candy available and much of it is egg-shaped, but the oversized, candy-filled egg has yet to make a breakthrough here. Perhaps because Cadbury’s (real Cadbury’s, not Hershey’s-produced fake Cadbury’s) isn’t popular here yet.
So I decided to make my own. It’s actually not that difficult, just takes a while. I found some egg molds (admittedly smaller than I would have liked) in the supermarket. I’m sure you could find some (probably better ones) on Amazon.
Lightly grease the inside of the mold with some tasteless oil (or a flavor that will go with chocolate, hazelnut oil is a good choice). Melt some good-quality dark chocolate. It’s important to use high quality stuff to avoid the white, fuzzy film you get on chocolate when it’s melted and re-set. Carefully spoon the chocolate around the inside of the mold, making sure to go right up to the edges. You just want a thin layer, if you spread it too thick it will set slowly and all dribble into the middle.
Allow it to cool and set. Once the shine has gone it’s safe to add the next layer. If you’re impatient (like me) you can put the molds into the freezer after each layer to help them set faster. Just be aware you run a much higher risk of getting a weird texture or that white fuzziness. I used 4 layers on each but larger eggs will need to be thicker to avoid breaking.
Once you’re done, allow the eggs to cool completely. Once cool, I’d recommend a further hour in the fridge or freezer. You want the chocolate as firm as possible to make it easier to get out of the mold.
Carefully scrape any excess chocolate off the edge of the mold with a knife or your fingernail. Give the mold a gentle squeeze, if the chocolate is thick enough and firm enough, this should be enough to pop the egg loose from the mold. A sharp tap facedown on the counter should get the chocolate shell completely free.
Prepare the candy you plan to fill your egg with. I wanted something colorful but anything small will do (you could make your own toffee). I used Smarties because they don’t use any artificial colors or flavors, and I’m lucky and can get them from my local supermarket, but M&Ms would work too. Fill one half with the candy and get both halves ready before you melt some more chocolate. Carefully drizzle a line around the rim of your empty half and then stick it to the full half. Line it up carefully and run your finger around the seam to smooth any dribbles or spread chocolate into any gaps.
At that point, you could be finished but I decided to hide the imperfect surface of my eggs and extra-seal the two halves together by decorating with white and dark chocolate.