Making Easter gifts.
Now, I know that Easter Eggs and chocolate bunnies aren’t a cake, a bake or a cookie, but when I saw these cute moulds (below) from Lakeland I just knew my girls would love to make Nanny a special Easter gift. So off we went.
This is what we started out with.
- Chocolate bunny lolly mould (top left)
- Duck chocolate mould (green)
- Easter Egg Acrylic Moulds – 2 large 24 mini (top right)
- Chocolate melting pot- (little red thing)
- Silkomart silicon bunny, duck, egg mould (the brown shiny one)
- 30 lollypop sticks
- Pack of 8 spotty treat boxes- So cute
- A ton of chocolate
In hindsight it would have been better to have only shown the girls one or two moulds. When they saw them all on the kitchen table they wanted to coat them all in melted, drippy chocolate right away! So I let them! It is the Easter holidays after all.
The melting pot
How cute is this little silicon melting pot? My 4-year-old nephew was with us when we first did some of this ‘making’ so I gave him the melting pot to fill his duck moulds with. I was worried that it would become too hot to hold, so I melted chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water and poured it into the container. I needn’t have worried. The melting pot can hold very hot chocolate and the outside stays as cool as anything.
The best thing about the pot is that when you want to melt chocolate in it (which I did with the white chocolate later on) it was really easy to squidge around and mix up the contents with your hands in between bursts in the microwave .
I also filled the deco pen from thisas it was really easy for little hands to get the chocolate into the small mould shapes.
With all this great, specific, perfect equipment in mind, Beau decided that the silicon pastry brush (which I had got out to fill the larger egg moulds with) was the best way to spread the chocolate. And here started the messy bit.
With three kids and only two dispensers, I put some melted chocolate into an icing bag. Darcey had full control of it in this pic. Well she did for about two minutes, then it all went over the edge. I used an icing scraper to remove the excess from the mould so that the top of each egg would be nice and flat. And then she had a go at doing the same. Ooops! That was a mistake. It went everywhere!
I read somewhere that kids learn a lot from being able to make a mess without their parents telling them to keep everything clean and tidy all the time, so I bit my OCD lip and left them to it!!!! Boy, chocolate makes a sticky mess! Just look. And that’s not even the floor!
But the eggs looked cute. Well, kind of. Once they came out of the fridge we removed any excess chocolate, which as the moulds are silicon or plastic was effortless.
They were then stuck together with a little more melted chocolate.
The big egg
I decided that I would make the bigger eggs when the kids were outside. Really I just wanted to have a play. The kids wouldn’t let me near the chocolate while they were doing it.
I kept it pretty simple. The instructions on the packaging said that it was better to have 4 thin layers than one or two thick ones. That is very true. If you put too much chocolate in the middle of the egg mould and drag it up the sides of the mould it just drips back down again giving you a thick middle and thin on top, and no one wants that!
I applied the first coats of dark chocolate using the silicon pastry brush then popped them in the fridge. Once hardened I gave them another coat of dark chocolate.
When it was time to apply the third coat, this time white chocolate, the dark chocolate was melting underneath as I brushed, so I used the back of a tea spoon to make sure that it reached the top edge and stayed there.
Once they had been in the fridge and were hard I carefully prized them out of the moulds. I used a small amount of the white chocolate on the inside edge to stick two halves together. I also kept some as just half an egg so I could fill them with the duck, mini eggs or bunny chocolate shapes.
When things look as home made as these do it’s a good idea to get the gift wrapping right. I use these cellophane bags all the time. Add a little Easter gingham ribbon and your eggs will look top notch.
I love the little spot boxes. They are really sweet (get it? sweet!) and held about 6-8 bunnies, eggs or ducks. We lined them with baking paper to make them look a little extra special. Now we have enough for aunties and uncles too!
So, my top tips for working with chocolate and kids. They may seem obvious but the reality is…..
There’s going to be mess so just let it happen. Fill your sink up with hot soapy water and have your rubber gloves at the ready. As you finish with something pop it into the soapy water until everyone is finished. The soak will speed the big clean up.
On that note, if you have to use anything straight from the draining board ensure it is completely dry. Water and chocolate just don’t go!
Buy more chocolate than you think you’ll need. We used six 100g bars to make two large eggs and 24 solid mini eggs. If you want to buy lots of inexpensive chocolate check out the supermarket’s value ranges. Tesco has 100g bars of dark, milk and white chocolate for 30p each (or 2 for 40p at the moment!) We went back for more as it tastes good! There’s something about the mixture of these cheaper dark and white chocolates that works. We used them for the Nishnobblers too!
If you’re making lollies, dip the ends of the sticks in chocolate and let them set before sticking them into the melted chocolate and mould. They’ll stay in place and be stronger once they harden up.
Feed your kids with as much fruit and veg as possible before the finger licking starts. Once it starts it doesn’t stop.
Don’t make anything with kids and melted chocolate just after you’ve cleaned the kitchen floor. I mean really, Emma what were you thinking!!!
So, that’s the end of the chocolate making for us for now. I’m sure there’s tons more hints and tips about how to get the best from melted chocolate, tempering and the like! I’ll have to review a book I received at Christmas that I haven’t had a chance to read properly yet, called Couture Chocolate. It looked a bit too professional at the time but after this session I’m feeling like a pro. Well I can dream can’t I?