I got this idea last year (after gasping at the price of both the grocery store’s and the candy shoppe’s peanut
Some of the eggs the kids and I decorated--I didn't use a mold for these
butter filled Easter eggs) to try and dip my own. I bought chocolate molds (cost about $2), poured a thin coat of tempered chocolate into them, filled them with the homemade Reese’s filling that I adore, and was quite pleased with the result. Placing them in the little cellophane bags from Michael’s (well, I really got mine at Dyan’s Sweet Tooth, but Michael’s and JoAnn’s would have them too), they looked suitable for the Easter baskets.
This year, I had too much peanut butter filling for just the molded chocolates that I made, so I decided to shape the remaining filling into egg shapes, and then dip them. Because I had some extra colored melting chocolate from another project, I melted it, and the kids and I decorated the eggs. I have to say, it was as enjoyable (if not just a little more) than decorating real hard-boiled eggs.
In addition to filling the molded chocolates with peanut butter, I also made a batch of homemade
Marshmallow-filled duck being propped up by a bunny--I used a mold for this
marshmallows. This was messier, but the result was worth it. Again, I put a coat of tempered chocolate (melt milk chocolate to 88 degrees, and then spoon it in the mold), and let it cool. Then, I made the marshmallows (Martha’s recipe is below), and after putting shortening on my fingers, I pulled the marshmallow out, and shaped it into the mold. I let the mold sit for 4 hours, then covered the back with more tempered chocolate. If you want to try it out, but don’t have molds, you could also cut the marshmallows into squares and dip them, or cut them into egg shapes with a cookie cutter. I also found that you can grease a chocolate mold, dust it with powdered sugar, and then fill it with marshmallow and make molded marshmallows (which I then dipped–the more chocolate the merrier). I would love to hear if anyone tries this, and what you ended up doing!
- Vegetable oil, for brushing
- 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with oil. Line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Brush parchment with oil; set aside.
- Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 3/4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. [My note: Place the sugar in the saucepan last, right in the middle. Stir gently so the sugar doesn’t hit the sides of the plan, and once the sugar is dissolved, brush around the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to make sure all the water crystals have been wiped down and dissolved.] Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238 degrees.on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.
- Attach bowl with gelatin to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.
- Sift 1 cup confectioners’ sugar onto a work surface. Unmold marshmallow onto confectioners’ sugar; remove parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares. Sift remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl, and roll each marshmallow in the sugar to coat. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Confession: I actually haven’t used this recipe of Martha’s before–the one I’ve used calls for 2 T. of vanilla, and yield is a little lower. I didn’t like how strong the vanilla was, so this last batch, I lowered it to 2 t., which I liked a lot more. If you look on Martha’s website, there are lots of variations–including one that uses a vanilla bean. They are all essentially similar, though, but you may find you prefer more/less sugar, vanilla, etc.