Chocolate hoppiness

Individualize your Easter treats
with simple candy-making techniques

Store shelves are lined with chocolate Easter bunnies and all sorts of colorful treats. But why not forgo those boxed confections and make your own? Homemade candies provide a grand opportunity to impress family and friends.

Make it yourself

Candy-making demonstration: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Place: Lyon Arboretum
Cost: $28; $25 for arboretum members
Call: 988-0456

Abigail Langlas, pastry chef at Honolulu Coffee Co., will demonstrate how easy this can be at a candy-making demonstration on Saturday at Lyon Arboretum.

Normally, Langlas is whipping out fancy desserts for the coffee shop, but she enjoys making specialty items for the holidays.

"I like to give them to my friends," she said.

She'll explain how to create goodies using chocolate, marshmallow and peanut butter fillings.

"The marshmallow eggs are really easy to make," Langlas said. "It's a two-day process. You need to let it set overnight, or at least five hours."

The next day, the marshmallow eggs are removed from their molds and dipped in chocolate.

Various fillings can be used to make simple chocolate-covered eggs or bunnies, Langlas said. The plastic molds cost around $3.

To save time, use chocolate pieces found in kitchen supply or craft stores. These are meant to be melted and will harden quickly at room temperature.

The main concern when handling chocolate is to prevent it from overheating and burning. Langlas suggests melting the chocolate in a microwave oven. Heat for one minute at a time (on a low or medium setting), stirring in between, until melted.

If a double boiler is used, the chocolate needs to be covered with plastic wrap to keep moisture out.

"You don't want to get any water in your chocolate," she said. "Water will thicken the chocolate."

Abigail Langlas, pastry chef at Honolulu Coffee Co., will teach basic candy-making on Saturday.

Solid chocolate bunnies and eggs can be created by simply pouring melted chocolate into candy molds. Details can be added using icing, Wilton frosting bags and assorted leaf- and flower-decorating tips. Supplies can be found at Wal-mart and craft stores.

Allow a couple of hours to decorate, Langlas said. Use icing to add buttons and eyes to bunnies and flowers, leaves and designs on top of eggs.

Begin your Easter explorations with these candy fillings ideas. To complete your candies using these recipes, first let the fillings set in molds as directed.

Melt chocolate, then unmold the fillings and dip in chocolate. Langlas uses a large, two-tined fork (such as those used for barbecuing) to lower candies into chocolate (don't spear the candies; let them rest on the tines). Let excess chocolate drip off before placing candies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. After the chocolate sets, your candy pieces may be decorated with Royal Icing.

Abigail Langlas uses a small frosting bag with cake-decorating tips to add color and detail to her chocolate eggs. The flowers and leaves are made of tinted Royal Icing.

Peanut Butter Truffle Filling

1/2 pound milk chocolate
1/2 pound peanut smooth butter

Melt chocolate. Mix in peanut butter.

Marshmallow Filling

1 cup water
3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ounce powdered gelatin, dissolved in 1-1/4 cups water

Bring water, sugar, salt and corn syrup to boil, washing down any sugar crystals with some water and a pastry brush. Cook until mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Beat mixture slowly into dissolved gelatin and continue to beat 10 minutes. Mixture will double in volume and cool somewhat. Add vanilla, beat to combine. Fill molds. Let set 5 hours or overnight before cutting, dipping or eating. Makes enough for about 40 eggs.

Royal Icing

1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
Two egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Food coloring, as needed

Beat sugar and egg whites. Add cream of tartar and beat until slightly thickened. Mixture should be stiff, forming peaks, yet still shiny. If it doesn't hold shape, add a little more sugar. If too stiff, add a couple drops of water. Color as desired and use immediately. Makes about 3 cups.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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