Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chocolate Easter Bunnies!

Did you know you can make your own Easter Bunnies at home? It’s actually quick and easy. Just invest in a easter bunny chocolate mold, and then it can become a tradition to make easter bunnies every year! The candy mold should last year after year. As I grew up, my family made chocolate bunnies, chicks, and eggs every Easter. We made homemade marshmallows, too, and dipped them in chocolate. Fun, delicious, and special when you make these treats together as a family, or as a parent for a child! I have continued this tradition in my own home, despite my children being allergic to dairy!

To make your own chocolate easter bunny, buy a candy mold, and then buy chocolate chips that are guaranteed gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, and dairy-free. I use Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips from Whole Foods. There are several cute bunny molds at a local candy shop where I live. You want the chocoate candy molds, not the hard candy molds.

To make the chocolates: Melt some chocolate chips in the microwave. (Try about 1 cup chips, depending on how big your mold is, or how many you have). Heat 30 seconds to a minute, then stir, then microwave for 30 seconds, stir, microwave 30 seconds, stir, until chocolate is thin enough to pour into the mold. Note that if your chocolate is overheated, it may become too thick after it’s been completely melted. In this case, the chocolate can be thinned by using some shortening, try 1 tsp and stir, then add more if needed. If you have a one-sided mold, pour until chocolate is level with top of mold. You can gently tap the mold on the counter top to encourage the chocolate to become completely level. Then place the mold carefuly into the freezer in a level place. For small chocolates, 10-15 minutes may be plenty to solidify the chocolate.

Line a cookie sheet or flat tray with plastic wrap, and then place mold upside down onto the tray. (You can lift the cookie sheet up to meet the mold, or you can use a clean, soft towel instead, if you have a single bunny, placing it on top of the mold and then inverting in your hand). Chocolates should easily fall out if solid, or with a little tapping of the mold, or gently pushing. If they are not easily coming out, try placing the chocolate in the freezer for a few more minutes. If you wish to individually wrap the chocolate(s), cut pieces of plastic wrap large enough to wrap around the chocolate. You can use a piece of plastic wrap in your hand to pick up the chocolates without getting finger prints on the chocolates.

I have not created a chocolate 3-D bunny before, but I asked a lady at a candy store how it is done. You have a two-sided mold. You fill one side of the mold with chocolate. Then snap other side securely on top. Shake enough so that both sides are coated with chocolate. You may first need to coat edges, corners on empty side as they may not easily be coated when mold is together and shaken. Place in the freezer, both sides still securely together. After 3 minutes, remove mold, move it around a bit to recoat uniformly all sides, place back in freezer for 3 minutes, repeat until solid. The lady says this only takes 3 or 4 times of recoating and freezing before it’s solid.

Have fun! This really is easy when you get the hang of it, and it feels very satisfying to make your own. I would guess it is much less expensive that ordering or buying the bunnies, especially if you use the molds from year to year).

If my instructions don’t completely make sense, here is another place to go:

This article steps you through the process and also gives a few ideas at the end. I have put rice crispies in my chocolates before to add a nice crunch. Filling the chocolates with peanut butter isn’t an option for us, but we could use sunbutter! Or we could have a coconut frosting sort of filling made dairy free. Use powdered sugar, non-dairy butter/shortening, and then coconut milk instead of dairy milk, and add flaked coconut.