Several weeks ago I asked my mom to send me the recipe for my grandmother’s famous Easter eggs. My grandmom would make these delectable confections every year around this time, giving a giant tin of them to each of her children to share with their families. As far back as I can remember, I looked forward to those little eggs every year. Biting into one would reveal a snowy white coconut filling so sweet it could only be balanced by the shocking bitterness of straight up unsweetened chocolate. Even with all of the other Easter candy available to us as kids, those eggs were usually devoured pretty quickly once we got them home. Luckily for us, Grandmom had quite a bit more willpower than we did and also something of an obsession with freezing food so there were always a few extra batches hanging out in her chest freezer next to the ice cream, bread, and potato chips. Yeah, that’s right. Frozen potato chips. I was serious about that freezer obsession.
Mom came through for me with the recipe and here is the email I received back:
The following is grandmom’s easter egg recipe (actually it comes from your great-grandmom):
3 1/2 lb confectioner’s sugar
1/2 lb butter
2 cans of Baker’s coconut (one can equals 1 1/3 cup)
1 can Eaglebrand milk (this is condensed milk)
2 tsp vanilla
Mix ingredients together. Shape into eggs. Chill for about an hour then coat with Bakers unsweetened chocolate. Grandmom used a double boiler and a hat pin for coating. Do you have a hat pin because if you don’t, they won’t taste the same. Enjoy and remember to FREEZE them.
See? What I did I tell you about the freezing?
Now as much as I absolutely adored those eggs growing up, I took one look at this recipe and I knew I was never going to make it as written, and not just because I don’t have a hat pin. I love a good splurge every now and then, but powdered sugar, butter, and canned milk is just a bit too much for me, especially since I knew I’d end up eating at least half of these by myself. But I still really wanted those eggs. So what’s a girl to do? Veganize it!
And that’s what I did.
These are definitely not the same eggs I ate as a kid. I think I can only say they are loosely inspired by my grandmother’s recipe. But I achieved the nostalgia factor that I was after and I actually think I like my version better. It’s certainly much healthier using dates as the sweetener and coconut oil rather than butter to add richness. Also, the flavor is much more balanced throughout and since the filling isn’t terribly sweet you could get away with anything from milk chocolate to the unsweetened chocolate used in the original recipe to coat the eggs. These are pretty certain to become an Easter tradition around our house, and I hope they’ll make it into some of your Easter baskets as well.
Chocolate Covered Coconut Eggs
I used freshly shredded coconut here which was a huge pain, and since I haven’t tried the recipe with packaged shredded coconut I can’t even say for sure if it was worth the extra effort. I don’t see any reason why packaged coconut wouldn’t work, but you may need to add a little extra liquid to get the filling to hold together. Coconut water or coconut milk would both be great choices if you do need some extra liquid, but if you don’t have either of those on hand a little splash of regular old water will probably do the trick. Additionally, if any of your eggs fall apart during the coating process just push the filling out of the way so you can coat the rest of the eggs. Then when you’re all finished you can stir the broken egg filling into the leftover chocolate and plop spoonfuls of it onto parchment paper to harden into a not quite as pretty but still very tasty treat.
12 pitted dates
3 c (about 9 oz) freshly shredded coconut
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c almond meal
10 oz dark chocolate (preferably 70% cacao or higher)
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the dates in a small bowl and cover with very hot water. Allow to soak for about 30 minutes. Once they are soft, puree them in a food processor with about 1 T of the soaking liquid until smooth.
Add the shredded coconut, coconut oil, and salt to the food processor. Process for about 10 seconds until the ingredients are well combined and the coconut has been processed into smaller pieces.
Transfer the coconut mixture to a bowl and mix in the almond meal. It will be easiest to do this using your hands. Once everything is thoroughly mixed, take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and pass it back and forth between your hands a few times, beginning to squeeze it into an egg shape. If the mixture seems too dry to hold together after a few squeezes, add a little more liquid. The eggs will be fragile but should hold together well enough that you will be able to gently dip them in the chocolate. Continue to shape the mixture into eggs one heaping tablespoon at a time. Set aside on the parchment lined cookie sheet.
While you are shaping the eggs, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, or the microwave.
Once the eggs have been shaped and the chocolate has melted, dip the eggs into the melted chocolate one at a time using a fork. Gently shake off any extra chocolate being careful not to let the eggs break apart. Transfer back to the parchment lined cookie sheet and allow the chocolate to cool and harden.
Stack eggs in a tightly closed container with parchment or waxed paper between layers. Store in the refrigerator.
Yield: about 2 dozen eggs