My grandmother’s recipe for the classic treat, this time-tested recipe rivals a Reese’s peanut butter cup. The recipe can be prepared in stages and makes enough to share!
When I think of my grandmother, many things come to mind. She was full of life, funny and frugal, yet so very generous.
This was a woman who waterskied well into her sixties, climbed into a bullpen at the Stockyards (bull was dozing) to collect fertilizer for her garden, and made long underwear a three-season fashion staple through her judicious use of the thermostat.
At the same time, she always included a friend in need at her holiday table. Some years, she kept our meal warm while we made a quick delivery to a bedridden acquaintance. I have nary a recollection of unwrapping a birthday or Christmas present from my grandmother. All the gifts she gave were from her heart, measured in time, not dollars.
There were really long walks on the beach, collecting shells or driftwood for later projects, which always involved a glue gun. We played elaborate connect-the-dot games on the chalkboard at the bottom of her basement stairs or on a random scrap of paper. She had us for sleepovers, forgot to notice the clock at bedtime, and let us scoop our own ice cream. Enough said!
Some of my fondest memories were in her kitchen: standing on the stool beside her, rolling out my own piecrust for a mini version of what she was baking or “helping” her make and then carry the spaghetti to the dining room table, only to have the contents of the entire platter slide onto her bright green carpet. (She never even raised her voice. As it turned out, this was the perfect opportunity to validate what she always said: her house was so clean you could, in fact, eat off the floor!)
Over the years, we baked dozens of cookies, froze gallons of applesauce, and canned quarts of tomatoes. As I got older, I scheduled my visits to her Fountain Avenue home to coincide with these seasonal activities. My time with her was precious, and she came to appreciate the help with the more tedious tasks.
Of my grandmother’s many mouth-watering concoctions, her chocolate peanut butter eggs had, perhaps, the biggest following. Because it simply wasn’t enough to enjoy them only at Easter time, she made ball-shaped versions for Christmas or as a special treat.
For years now, I have carried on the tradition, giving countless boxes to family and friends as a small way to remember my grandmother and keep the memories alive.
Sometimes, I dip a few of the eggs in unsweetened chocolate. I’m a fan of dark chocolate, in general, and love this truly bittersweet pairing. The sweetness of the peanut butter filling provides a interesting counterbalance to the bitter chocolate. If curious, you could set aside a few of the eggs and experiment with a bar of melted unsweetened baking chocolate.
In the recipe below, I offer some helpful tips as well as details on how to temper chocolate if you prefer to purchase a high quality chocolate that requires this step. Good melting chocolate (often sold in disk shapes) works quite well though. If you live close to a Wilbur Chocolate source, it is what I use and I highly recommend (although there are many other delicious option). Wilbur offers both the melting chocolate (available in the bulk aisle at some grocery stores) and a higher quality option (available at Wilbur’s Lititz factory store and Evans in Willow Street) that requires tempering. When finished, I refrigerate the eggs and pack either in airtight containers or white craft store boxes (tied with a pretty ribbon) for gift giving. We like to eat the eggs cold; some people prefer them room temperature. Either way, they are delicious!
- 1 (12-ounce) jar creamy peanut butter (or just over 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 (8-ounce) package Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons (one stick) butter, room temperature (I use salted)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (2-pound) bag confectioner’s sugar
- Approximately 1 pound good melting chocolate (milk or dark, according to your preference)
Mix all of the ingredients except the sugar until thoroughly combined. Then, stir in sugar, a third at a time, until completely incorporated. (I find this easiest to do with my clean hands.) Next, I form into a big rectangular block so that I can slice into equal-size pieces for rolling. At this point, you may wrap in parchment or wax paper, and then again in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to a few days.
When ready to make the eggs, the dough is easiest to work with when cold. Using about a tablespoon of the mix at a time, form into oval or egg shapes, placing them on a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet as you go. When finished, you may again cover and refrigerate until you are ready to coat the eggs in chocolate.
Finally, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, keeping the heat very low. Dip the eggs and remove to a parchment-lined baking sheet. I like to keep twenty or so out at a time, leaving the remaining eggs in the refrigerator. They will be easier to dip when they are cold. I have tried the utensils made for dipping chocolates, toothpicks, and any way I can think of to make this process easy and less messy! The way that has ultimately worked best for me is to use a dinner fork. I drop the egg in the chocolate, roll gently to coat, and lift it out with the fork. Hold the egg on the fork for a few seconds, allowing the excess chocolate to drip back into pot, and then gently slide off the fork and onto baking sheet. If you end up with “feet”–a puddle of chocolate that pools around the egg–you can gently break this off once the chocolate hardens. My kids, however, think these are the best ones because they get more chocolate!
Note: One year, I thought I would be smart and put the dipped eggs on a cooling rack figuring this was a fast, easy way to drain the excess chocolate. Don’t do it! The eggs stick to the rack, even if greased, and the bottoms will break off when removed.
If you want to try tempering chocolate: I’ve had a few questions on this subject, so here is a quick how-to. I used to buy the chocolate melting disks that don’t require tempering, which is totally fine. Chocolate with a higher cocoa butter content will require this step. The main risk you run if you don’t temper it properly is that the finished chocolate looks a little streaky. It will still taste fabulous. What I do, however, is melt a portion of the chocolate at a time–maybe 8 ounces–over low heat in a double boiler. Then turn the heat off and add about a quarter cup (no need to measure, just a small handful) of chopped chocolate and stir it in. This brings the temperature back down which is how it tempers. I turn the heat back on when I need to add more chocolate or if the chocolate cools too much and starts to thicken. Repeat the process as needed, adding a little more chopped chocolate after the bigger chunks are melted.
When you are melting chocolate in the microwave (which I often do when making Oreo, pretzel or salted almond bark; see website for these recipes), you can use a similar process. Just heat in 30-second intervals, stirring as you go. When all chocolate is just melted, stir in some chopped chocolate and let it melt in the heat of the already warm chocolate. I do find that the stovetop method works best for the extended process of egg dipping.
Once dipped, the chocolate should be put in a cool place to set up properly. I put the baking sheets of dipped candy in the refrigerator or near a cool window to set and fully cool.
Stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, the eggs will keep for several weeks–if they last that long! They also freeze well.
If you are partial to Coconut Cream Eggs, or would like to see a few of my favorite (and easy) ways to use the leftover chocolate, click on the highlighted recipe titles for the instructions and more photos.
This is my fourth year making these and they are soooo delicious. I am able to get the Wilbur’s chocolate to coat, and it works perfectly. Thank you so much!
So happy to read this, Nancy! Isn’t Wilbur chocolate the best??
I searched for Peanut Butter eggs while being quarantined (on vacation) in South Carolina. How surprised I was to find your recipe, as I live very near Fountain Avenue, and the next county over from Lancaster! How ironic?!?
I’ve made them several times during the Covid-19 Pandemic, always making sure to share. They have been a big hit on my list of repeated recipes. I’m always getting a request to make more. I’ve started to stash a bag full in my freezer to be sure I can savor a few for myself. These PB eggs are fantastic!
Susan, What a fun coincidence! I’m delighted that you found this recipe and that it has served you well. And how thoughtful of you to share them. Based on experience, I know that makes people very happy…and we can all use a little more of that right now!
Due to the comments, I made these with half the sugar and they’re fantastic!
So happy to see your comment, Laura. I’m delighted you are pleased and appreciate the feedback!
How many eggs can you get
out of this recipe if I make
each egg 4 5/8 ounces each..?
Hi Ernest, Not including the chocolate for coating, the ingredients total 56 ounces. So quick division reveals that you would have filling for 12 eggs that are each 4-5/8 ounces, or just over 1/4 pound each. Hope that helps!
Is there really supposed to be 2lbs powdered sugar? Just wondering if it’s a typo.
I know, Kim. It’s seems crazy but that is correct. Powdered sugar amounts in icings and candy often seem so high because this type of sugar dissolves into seemingly nothing. The consolation is that this makes a very big batch and they are worth every calorie! I also roll the eggs fairly small, which also helps.
Here’s what I did and it was yummy. 2 lbs equals 4 cups of sugar. The 2 lb bag has 7 1/2 cups in it. ? Weird right. So I did 4 cups and it was yummy but I still think it doesn’t need that much… I might cut back on alittle my next time
Thanks for your comment, Jennifer. You were great to try a lesser amount of sugar and provide feedback. The reason the 2-pound bag of powdered sugar has more than 4 cups is that it’s far lighter than granulated, but I’m delighted you were happy with the outcome and plan to further tweak. As much as I try to limit sugar day-to-day, I never thinker with this recipe because it was my grandmother’s and make it as an annual Easter treat. But others will likely appreciate your insight, so please do check back the next time you try!
Thank you. This was extreme helpful. I have made these eggs for anout 47 years, and struggle with the dipping and less messy process. The block idea, then cut and dip. Voila
My recipe has fluff not cream cheese.
Mary, I’m thrilled this made the process easier after all these years and I’m curious about your recipe. My kids would perk up at the mention of fluff in the peanut butter eggs!
My name is Colleen and am from Pottsville, Pa.
Do you have a fav. brand of chocolate you like to use?
I am also wondering if I can use the Coconut Egg recipe for Butter Cream Eggs?
Hi Colleen, I typically go to Evans Candy on Willow Street Pike in Lancaster and buy their bulk chocolate. I’ve also used their melting wafers, which don’t require the tempering mentioned in the recipe. Evans uses Wilbur Chocolate, which you may be able to find closer to you if you’d like to try it. As for the coconut egg recipe, my recipe is basically a butter cream recipe with coconut added. Although I never make them without coconut (we have many fans!), it should work well that way. If you try, I’d love to know how you make out!
These and the coconut eggs are both excellent. I make the filling at other times of the year and make “truffles”.
I’m thrilled these have become a year round favorite, Eileen!
So excited to try this recipe. They look awesome!!
Thank you, Lisa. I’m optimistic you will like them! 🙂
Must the pb eggs be refrigerated? I saw a post that they keep well on the counter. For instance I like to leave butter on counter. Thanks!
Hi Shirley, The eggs keep very well on the counter but can be refrigerated for those who prefer to eat them cold or for extended storage. They freeze well, too. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
I was just browsing for a coconut cream egg recipe and I found your beautiful site. I have a tear in my eye after reading the article about your grandmother, she reminds me of my own. thank you Ann, not just for the recipes but for the memories
Your comment brings such a smile to my face, Beth. I actually just shared it with my mom, as I know it will brighten her day, too. Cheers to our special grandmothers…and all the delicious things that came out of their kitchens!
Hi Ann I just came across your blog and enjoy it very much. I lived in York Pa and went to Lancaster often. My family was actually from Lancaster. My cousin had a piano business there. I just got back from the grocery store and got the items to make your coconut and peanut butter eggs. I will be using your blog quite frequently thank you and very nice to meet you.
So nice to meet you, too, Linda and great to make the local connection. I hope you visit often and find many more recipes to enjoy — and I’d love to know how you make out with anything to you try. The peanut butter and coconut eggs are definitely a favorite here!
The best coconut eggs ever! I am now doing the PB thanks for sharing your recipe!
Awesome news, Cindy! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the peanut butter version!
Excellent! The PB with chocolate tastes like fudge! Again thanks!!!
You’re welcome, Cindy! So glad you like!
Hi Ann ☺
Have you ever made crispy peanut butter eggs with this recipe? I just made these and they are a huge hit…now I’m trying to figure out how to add rice crispies for another batch.
Lititz native…love Wilburs!
Hi Jenn, I haven’t, although I’ve made homemade Crunch bars where I stirred in Rice Krispies, and that worked well. I’m so happy these were a hit, and I’d love to know if you make a crunchy version that you like as well!
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Got together with my sister and nieces to make these peanut butter eggs and we all agreed they were the best we ever tasted. Don’t make too far in advance if you want them for Easter – we ate ours within a week! Thanks Ann
How wonderful that you made the candy making a family adventure. Thanks for the great comment, and I’m thrilled they were a hit!