Last year at about this time, I shared my grandmother’s decades-old recipe for peanut butter eggs. So it seemed only fair to offer the recipe that my family deems its counterpart. To be sure, both versions have a loyal following.
Non-coconut lovers have actually converted after sampling this treat. I have told my parents–who seldom argue but have bickered over these–that I will take their box away if they don’t agree to share. Delight as they do, some years I stash two small boxes in the freezer to dole out on their birthdays.
A very exciting moment occurred several years ago when a friend, whose husband worked for a chocolate company, arranged for a small group of friends to make these treats at her husband’s facility. The adventure was sure to be fun and, no doubt, easier than crafting hundreds of these by hand in my own kitchen.
I had visions of the candy “insides” rolling down a conveyor belt, leading them to a vat of melted chocolate. They would plunge into the sweet brown liquid and quickly emerge, perfectly encased in dark or milk chocolate.
As it turned out, we were given a lesson on hand-tempering chocolate and proceeded to dip every last candy egg by hand. The process wasn’t any quicker–and we were literally up to our wrists in chocolate. But what could be bad about that? It was a real-life Charlie and the Chocolate Factory experience for sure.
The beauty of these treats, however, is that they taste just as good out of a home kitchen as they do from a commercial kitchen. Ultimately, they will taste far better than most store-bought candy because there are no extra preservatives, additives, artificial colors, etc. Buy the best chocolate you can. For coconut eggs, I really love dark chocolate, but choose the variety you love the most.
Yields approximately 100 (fewer if you roll larger eggs).
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temperature (I use salted butter)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 (14-ounce) bag flaky coconut
- 1 (2-pound) bag confectioner’s sugar
- Approximately 1 pound good, dark melting chocolate for dipping (see notes)
- Cream the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the coconut. Add the sugar, about a third at a time, until it is completely incorporated. (I think it is easiest to do the mixing with clean hands.) Form the filling into a big, rectangular block, wrap in parchment or wax paper and then again in plastic wrap, and chill until firm. At this point, you may leave in the refrigerator for several days.
- When ready to roll into eggs or rounds: To make uniformly sized candy, cut the block into long slices and then into squares. Next, roll the filling into a ball and flatten into a circular shape or egg, as desired. (Since I make my peanut butter candy in egg shapes, I make these round in order to distinguish between the two. On occasion, I have made them both in egg shapes and have drizzled a little white chocolate over the top of the coconut eggs to tell the difference. You could also dip one variety in milk chocolate and the other in dark. Do whatever you like best.) As you roll, place the eggs on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When finished, wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or even several days) or until ready to dip them in the chocolate.
- Finally, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or fashion your own by placing a small pot inside a medium pot). Dip the eggs and remove to a wax paper or parchment-lined baking sheet. I like to keep 15 to 20 out at a time, leaving the remaining eggs in the refrigerator. They will be easier to dip if they are cold. I have tried the special 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 the pot (I scrape under the fork with a small spatula or dinner knife to help remove the excess), and then gently slide off of fork and onto the lined 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!
- The chocolate will harden as it cools. If your kitchen is very warm, you may wish to place the trays in the refrigerator. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the eggs will keep for several weeks–if they last that long! They also freeze quite well. *Tip:* One year, I thought I would be smart and put the dipped eggs on a cooling rack, thinking that it would be a fast, easy way to drain the excess chocolate. Don’t do it! The eggs adhere to the rack as the chocolate hardens and the bottoms will cling to the rack when removed.
- *If you wish to use chocolate that requires tempering:* First, if you purchase the standard melting wafers–Wilbur makes exceptional melting chocolate–there is no need to temper them. Wilbur also sells a higher grade chocolate, sold in block form, which must be tempered. The only risk you run if you don’t temper it properly is that the chocolate may look a little streaky. It will still taste fabulous. What I do, however, is melt a portion of the chocolate–maybe 8 ounces–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 I get sidetracked and the chocolate cools too much and starts to thicken. Repeat the process as needed until all of the eggs are dipped.
- I sometimes temper chocolate in the microwave when making quick recipes (like Oreo, pretzel, or salted almond bark—these are also great ways to quickly use leftover chocolate. All of the recipes are posted). In this case, simply heat the chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring as you go. When the chocolate is all just barely melted, stir in some chopped chocolate and let it melt in the heat of the already warm chocolate.
- Once dipped, the candy 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 until set and completely cool.
- Feel free to use milk chocolate if you prefer it to dark chocolate.
- But if you enjoy really dark chocolate… Sometimes, I dip a small portion of the eggs in unsweetened The absence of sugar is balanced by the sweet filling, and there are some who adore this truly bittersweet pairing.
Click here for the Peanut Butter Egg recipe.