In every supermarket in Italy, you will find large chocolate eggs stuffed with gifts during the Easter season. Some chocolatiers and pastry shops will also make a customized egg for you, so you can fill it with whatever trinkets you like. Some people go all out and give their beloved jewelry inside the egg or a special toy for their child. Many Italian specialty shops in the United States sell the pre-packaged versions of these seasonal Italian treats. They’re usually wrapped in pretty foil and offer a plastic toy on the inside. Often, the treats inside are pretty disappointing. So, I thought I’d try my hand at making one of those customized eggs, so I could stuff them with my own gifts.
STEP 1 – Melt chocolate.
Get a big bag of chocolate chips. So far, I’ve used milk chocolate and semi-sweet, but you could use any kind you’d like as long as you like the taste. Put two to three cups worth of chips in a microwave-safe bowl. (Adjust the measurements based on the size of the egg form you have. Mine was the jumbo size.) And then begin melting the chocolate at 30-second intervals. Use a spoon to stir the chips after each 30 seconds worth of heating. When you stir the chips and they melt (as in the photograph), they are done. You can also use chocolate melting candy (like you would find in Michael’s or A.C. Moore) and a candy melting machine. Then, you would follow the manufacturer’s directions for melting the chocolate.
STEP 2 – Fill the form.
You can purchase candy molds at stores that sell baking and candy products or online. I bought mine on Amazon.com. There are many different sizes available. You could make mini eggs or jumbo eggs and everything in between. I chose a two-pound mold. Of course, I’m keeping the chocolate egg hollow, so my end product is never actually two pounds. In any event, it’s rather large. In any event, I begin by dumping all the melted chocolate from the bowl into the center of the egg. Then, I use the back of a spoon or spatula to cover the entire inside of the mold. I try to evenly spread the chocolate so that the sides are not too thin. If the sides are thin and the center is dense, the egg may fall apart when you take it out of the mold.
STEP 3 – Refrigerate the one half of the egg.
This is easy. Put the completely coated chocolate egg half – bottom down so the plastic mold is touching the shelf – in the refrigerator for at least a half hour to set. When you take it out, you should just have to carefully apply slight pressure on the sides and center of the plastic mold to pop out the egg. Then, put that piece in a dish and put it back in the fridge, so it doesn’t melt at room temperature.
STEP 4 – Repeat steps 1 to 3 to make the other half.
STEP 5 – Melt some more chocolate.
Melt a much smaller amount of chocolate this time around. You will need it to seal the two egg halves together. For my 2-pound mold, I melted about 2 tbsp worth of chocolate chips. Have any sprinkles you’d like to add to the seal nearby and ready to go.
STEP 6 – Insert your gift.
I picked up baking molds in Easter shapes and mini cookie cutters at the dollar store. Then, I put them in food-safe treat bags and inserted one into one half of an egg. You could put anything in there – a small toy, a mini whisk, a key ring, other candy, etc.
STEP 7 – Seal the edges of the egg.
The purchased chocolate eggs are sealed perfectly (mostly because machines do the work for people). Yours probably won’t be so perfect, but that’s okay. You’ll have to fill in gaps with more chocolate and the seal will be visible. I was careful to wait a minute or two before beginning to seal the edges because if the chocolate is too hot, it’s going to melt the edges of the egg halves as well. Also, I made sure to have clean hands at all times while doing this project, and I used my fingers to smooth out the chocolate. Then, I immediately add sprinkles. to the seams, while it’s still wet. Here’s what it looks like:
STEP 8 – Wrap it up.
In Italy, you’ll find a little plastic cup holding up the egg, so that it stands upright. I didn’t have that, so my mom suggested I cut off the bottom of a paper or plastic cup. That worked beautifully. I then wrapped the egg in aluminum foil. Before wrapping both in decorative cellophane, which I topped off with a ribbon. I used a pretty ribbon, and I plan to add tags in the shape of a rabbit to the next one. You could also use a piece of tissue paper over the cellophane if you don’t want people to see your paper cup. The point is that now you have a fabulous, Italian Easter gift.
Di Meglio uses the written word to help families create memories and stick together. You can follow her on Facebook at Francesca’s Newlyweds Nest and on Twitter @ItalianMamma10.