peep eggs

peeps 0572

You’ve still got a whole week (plus one day!( til Easter comes and if you haven’t prepared yet, it’s time!

My idea? Adorable Peeps “eggs” – made of chocolate. They are basically the easiest thing in the whole world to make, will take about 30 seconds each (plus drying time), and are too cute not to love. I mean, JUST LOOK AT THEM!   Continue reading

thursday things – easter is coming and other things

Here’s what you’ve missed over the last week

This guy who failed at Wheel of Fortune. He has ALL THE LUCK but unfortunately zero brains…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nztzwMiQTaI

These tiny humans who make me want to make my own tiny human fight club which I assume would be judged by various levels of round-house-hug-attacks and “my-noggin-is-too-heavy-and- I’m-going-to-fall-over” combo moves.

And more adorableness in the secret (adorable) life of snails!macro-photography-snails-vyacheslav-mishchenko-2

Oh, and a tip about zesting citrus.  Let’s get something food-related in here, I guess.

And of course, since Easter is this weekend, a round-up is in order!

My Easter tends to be CARBS-CARBS-CARBS-CANDY-CARBS-HAM.

Easter 2014 Recipe Round Up

The Easter Eggs

Emma Magazine’s DIY Easter Egg Dye

The Carbs

This gorgeous tsoureki from A Periodic Table

Life Tastes Good’s tomato and scallion cream cheese bagel bombs

A super easy dutch baby from yours truly

0802b882-ced1-49ac-9e40-29fd8228d029

Playing with Flour’s sweet or savory crepes 

Blueberry waffles from Some Kitchen Stories

East of Eden’s almond breakfast rolls

The Desserts

Cream cheese and blueberry galette from Wit & Vinegar

Serena Bake’s lemon-lime pound cake

Movita’s Easter cake with swiss meringue buttercream

swiss-meringue-buttercream-easter-cake

Or some orange honey pound cake from Evil Shenanigans

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Oh, and let’s not forget these beauties

peanut butter egg 1291

The Drinks

Spoon Fork Bacon’s blood orange mimosas

This bellini bar from How Sweet It Is

bellinibar-1-2

Jellybean martinis from Wee Eats

jellybean martini

Blueberry-almond butter smoothies from Love & Olive Oil

Kitchen Simplicity’s family-friendly (aka: alcohol-free) sangria

The Rest

Savory Simple’s Boursin deviled eggs

Mini mediterranean frittatas  from FoodieCrush

Bacon and potato quiche from Foodness Gracious

Crunchy Creamy Sweet’s breakfast skillet casserole 

Kale, apple, and pancetta salad from Elephant Eats

This gorgeous glazed ham from Simply Recipes

 

 

 

DIY Peanut Butter Eggs

peanut butter egg 1291

If you live on planet Earth and have heard of Easter, you have probably encountered at least one Reese’s peanut butter egg in your life.  And, if you had consumed said egg, then you know it’s the best candy known to mankind.

Of course, as a die-hard chocolate/peanut butter fan (and a lifelong Reese’s egg eater) it was only a matter of time before I had to recreate these godly treats in my own kitchen.

reeses egg ecard

What I didn’t realize when I set out to make these how much effort I would end up putting into them.

First off, since I am a lover of dark chocolate while Future Husband loves milk chocolate (which is the more authentically “Reese’s” one to use anyway), I already knew that I had to make at least two versions.

Since I was already making two versions, I decided to go a step further than just changing out the type of chocolate used and decided to try a hard-shelled version and a milk chocolate soft-shelled (more Reese’s-like) version.

peanut butter egg 3851

Normally a hard-shelled chocolate requires two things 1> a chocolate mold (check!) and 2> tempering chocolate (not-check).

Since we’ve already discussed how much I loathe chopping chocolate, you can probably deduce that I also have no patience for tempering chocolate. This meant that the chocolate I got had to be low-maintenance chocolate. No chopping or tempering required.

Enter – these beautiful little guys. “No tempering” you say? I’m listening…

And did you notice how adorable and tiny they are? Already optimized for melting.

chocolate 3792

Translation: NO. CHOPPING. REQUIRED.

Sold.

So, with just the use of my egg-shaped mold and no special tempering or chopping, my molded eggs came out shiny with a crisp snap while my dipped eggs came out perfectly soft and chewy.

Success!

peanut butter egg 3796

Now that my chocolate problem was solved, it was onto the filling.

Most of the recipes you see for Reese’s-type treats will put you somewhere between one and ten thousand pounds* of powdered sugar.  Now it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that adding copious amounts of powdered sugar to a recipe will make your filling cloyingly sweet.

(*That may or may not be a slight exaggeration.)

We want our filling to taste like peanut butter, right? Not like powdered sugar. So clearly there was some work to be done.

This was easy with the hard eggs, since the mold held the filling it didn’t have to be particularly sturdy.

https://vine.co/v/MJmWaqlXE57

However, since we were dipping our soft-shelled eggs, we required a sturdier filling. One that we could mold in our hands without it either melting or falling apart. As easy as this seems, despite my best efforts, I could not get my original filling to be able to be molded by hand.

And I tried hard, like, really hard.

After stirring in several extra pounds of powdered sugar, I decided to attribute this failure to my use of coconut oil in my original filling, as it is the only major difference between the two fillings that I made.  And while my kitchen is a bit warmer than your average kitchen, even the freezer was no help. Once my frozen peanut buttery goodness touched the luke-warm melted chocolate it turned to goo.

So we needed to thicken our mixture, but not add a ton of sweetness to it… Enter: powdered peanut butter (or “peanut flour”). While this helped to both a> keep my filling peanut-buttery and delicious without adding sweetness and b> thicken my filling, it did not thicken it enough for me to mold.

So, back to the drawing board.

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I solved this issue by swapping my coconut oil for butter (sorry, arteries!) and added a tad bit more powdered sugar than I would generally prefer, but balanced it with a generous scoop of peanut butter powder and a pinch of salt. The result was surprisingly close to what the inside of an actual Reese’s egg tastes like. Combined with the soft milk chocolate coating, I’m pretty sure I hit the nail on the head. Or at least darn close to it.

And then, just for fun, I did a caramel-filled one. I used this pre-made caramel filling which could be pressed into the egg mold or rolled into an egg shape and … done!

Easy peasy.

I even made some with peanut butter AND caramel inside because I was feeling a little crazy. You, of course, can fill your eggs with whatever you like!

peanut butter egg 1242

 

Reese

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 to 12 eggs, depending on siz

Serving Size: 1 egg

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 to 12 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter flour (I used PB2 powdered peanut butter)
  • 8 to 10 ounces chocolate coating (I used Chocoley's Bada Bing Dipping & Coating Chocolate)

Instructions

    Make the filling:
  1. Place peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 50% power for 30 seconds and stir.
  2. Continue heating in additional 15 second intervals until butter is completely melted and stir the mixture until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Stir in the salt until incorporated. Stir in peanut butter flour and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until incorporated.
  4. Stir in additional powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the mixture stiffens almost akin to play-dough consistency.
  5. Cover bowl and place in fridge to cool, about 1 hour.
  6. Shape the filling
  7. Once cooled, scoop into a scant tablespoon-sized ball and roll into a ball.
  8. Place the ball in the palm of your hand and pat into an egg-like shape.
  9. Place onto a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet and continue with the rest of the peanut butter mixture.
  10. Cover peanut butter eggs and place in refrigerator or freezer until chilled, 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. Make the eggs
  12. Melt chocolate in a double-boiler or microwave. - I melted my chocolate at 50% power in the microwave and stirred, then continued melting at 10 second increments until it was mostly (85%) melted, then stirred to complete the melting process.
  13. Remove peanut butter eggs from freezer and working one egg at a time, quickly but gently drop the egg top-down into the chocolate, then flip to coat the bottom and lift out of the chocolate. Give it a couple gentle shakes to allow extra chocolate to drip off, then place chocolate-covered egg on parchment to dry. Use the back of a spoon or a butter knife to encourage your egg to jump onto the parchment.
  14. Repeat with remaining eggs until complete.

Notes

* Eggs can be made larger or smaller as desired, I got 10 out of mine.

* If your peanut butter is softening, return to fridge to chill and re-melt chocolate to try again.

* If you aren't a fan of the "dunk and flip" method, you can also dip the bottom of the egg into the chocolate, lift it out, and then spoon additional chocolate over the top of the egg to cover. Give it a gentle shake to distribute the chocolate and shake off the excess.

* My chocolate-dipping "tools" usually consist of a plastic fork with the middle two tines removed, and a plastic spoon. I know I'm killing the environment but it beats cleaning chocolate off of my cutlery.

* Although I've seen PB2 all around lately (even at Target!), if you can't find it I have seen peanut flour at Trader Joe's or you could use finely ground almond flour. I've also heard wonderful things about the thickening power of coconut flour, but have yet to purchase any.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/15/diy-reeses-peanut-butter-eggs/

Hard-shelled Peanut Butter Eggs

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 10 2-inch eggs

Serving Size: 1 egg

Ingredients

Instructions

    Make the filling:
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt peanut butter, coconut oil, and brown sugar on 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir and continue to microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until mixture is combined.
  2. Stir in peanut butter powder followed by powdered sugar. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or until chilled.
  3. Make the shell
  4. Prepare a sheet pan (or just cover part of your counter) with a sheet of parchment paper.
  5. Meanwhile, make your chocolate shells. Melt chocolate in a double-boiler or at 50% power until chocolate is 85% melted; stirring every 15 seconds or so. Once chocolate is mostly (about 85%) melted, removed from heat and continue stirring until completely melted.
  6. Fill molds about 2/3 full with chocolate, then rotate and gently shake the molds to run the chocolate up the sides. Once completely covered, turn mold upside down over parchment paper and shake to remove excess chocolate from mold. Use an offset spatula or bench scraper to remove excess chocolate from the mold exterior.
  7. Set aside to firm up, about 20 minutes, which should be right about the time your peanut butter filling is ready.
  8. Fill the eggs
  9. Pipe or spoon peanut butter filling into your egg molds, making sure to leave at least a couple millimeters at the top. If you fill your molds with too much peanut butter, the chocolate bottom will not be able to cover the peanut butter completely. Continue with the remaining shells until complete.
  10. Put their tops (or bottoms) on
  11. Gather the (now hardened) chocolate pieces from your parchment and return them to the bowl with your remaining chocolate. Gently re-melt the chocolate.
  12. Using either a pastry bag (or ziploc bag) or a spoon, pour melted chocolate in a thick zig-zag over the exposed peanut butter of each egg.
  13. Gently tilt and shake the egg mold to distribute the chocolate until it completely covers the peanut butter, using extra chocolate if needed.
  14. Tap chocolate mold on counter a few times to release any bubbles, and using an offset spatula or bench scraper remove excess chocolate from the mold.
  15. Set aside to cool and harden, you may speed this process up by placing the mold in the refrigerator if desired.
  16. Release the eggs!
  17. Once hardened, give your mold a good whack on the counter over your parchment paper with the open side down. Don't be shy here, this mold is the only thing standing between you and your chocolate eggs... so you give it what it deserves!
  18. Continue whacking the egg mold firmly against the counter like a lunatic until some eggs release. Remove those eggs to a safe place (like your mouth) and continue whacking the mold against the counter until all eggs have been released.
  19. Reward yourself with a peanut butter egg, you worked hard and you deserve it.
  20. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (assuming your home is cool) or in the refrigerator.

Notes

* Don't chill your eggs between adding the peanut butter and the last bit of chocolate or the chilled peanut butter will harden the chocolate before you have a chance to spread it around.

* I'm not sure if re-melting chocolate works with all chocolate or just happened to work out for me because mine was made for such a thing... Maybe someone more experienced than I am in chocolate would be able to answer that.

* Although I've seen PB2 all around lately (even at Target!), if you can't find it I have seen peanut flour at Trader Joe's or you could use finely ground almond flour. I've also heard wonderful things about the thickening power of coconut flour, but have yet to purchase any.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/15/diy-reeses-peanut-butter-eggs/

[ Disclaimer: I did receive chocolate to try from Chocoley but I was in no way required to review or recommend their products to you. However, I am going to recommend their chocolate anyway because a> I loved working with it, it tastes great, it’s reasonably-priced, and they will send you FREE SAMPLES. WHO DOES THAT?  As always, opinions expressed on wee-eats are honest and my own because it’s my blog and that’s how I roll.]

DIY Reese's Eggs | wee-eats.com

UPDATE: Per some requests I thought it would be helpful to include a list of the items I used for these recipes:

 

thursday things and an easter brunch roundup

instagram sunset march
I caught that pic while the BF and I were driving to the store.  Not too shabby for a weeknight sunset in the city, eh?

It’s the last Thursday Things for the month of March, and this weekend will be the last March (Cake) Madness recipe (although, not the last cake recipe by far).  I seriously can’t wait to share it with you.  As soon as I bit into it I was like, “Aw crap…”  Which doesn’t SOUND like a good thing, but it was just because after overdosing on confetti cake, and then making Oreo cupcakes, the last thing I wanted to know was that I had made another delicious cake.

To refresh our memories, here is March (Cake) Madness so far:

instagram confetti cake red velvet poke 8448 brownie swirl cake 8362

ding dong 3 oreo cupcake 8496 instagram reeses

Oh yeah, that last one… that one is for this weekend.  Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

I’m salivating just thinking about it… I don’t know why I just told you that.

Don’t mind me…

Here’s what you missed this week, BF and I made some delicious pizzas on the grill for dinner on Sunday.  Mine was pepperoni, pepperoncini, and like a bajillion types of cheese.  Oh, and wanna know my secret ingredient?  Bolognese for the sauce.  Yup.  Delicious.

I have a post here about how to make your very own delicious pizza from the comfort of your home.

pizza 2

I know I’ve been slacking on adorable kitties lately, but here is one heck of a gif that is bound to make you smile.  And laugh.  And make it painfully obvious that you’re not doing work-related things while you’re at your computer.

This one is not a kitty, but it’s still hilarious.

Oh, and if you’re still hunting for the perfect Easter basket… I saw the cutest candy-holders ever at Walgreens (I swear, that place has everything).

owl easter box

I kinda just want to buy like 100 of them and put them all over the house as “decoration”…

I can’t think of a single reason why that would be a bad idea.

This weekend the BF and I are packing our bags and heading on our first vacay (of 2013) – hittin’ the road to Cali!  Neither of us has ever been to California and I CAN’T WAIT TO GO!

That being said, things may get a little quiet around here next week.  If you start to miss me too much, you can always check in on me via Instagram or Facebook to see what I’m up to.  😉

Although I’ll be eating out this Sunday, if you’re hosting Easter brunch this weekend, here are some ideas for your party… And now, I present to you

2013 Easter Brunch Roundup

Cinnamon Sugar Popovers

cinn popover 2

Easter Deviled Eggs

Fresh Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

Maple Candied Bacon

Egg and Bacon Toast Cups

Ham & Cheese Waffles 

Homemade Holiday Ham

 Teeny Tiny BLTs

Caramelized Apple and Goat Cheese Crostini

Arugula and Apple Salad

 

Asparagus with Easy Hollandaise Sauce

Lemon Loaf Cake

lemon loaf 2

 

Clementine Cocktail

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade