[A perfect confection for adults AND kids! A vegan sweet treat, Strawberry Creme Easter Eggs are also sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for Stage 2 and beyond on an anti-candida diet.]
Like most kids, I adored sweet treats; holidays; and all manner of baby animals (well, except reptilian ones, that is).
So, when Easter rolled around each year–a holiday that allowed me to feast on chocolate in the shape of baby animals–well, I was overjoyed!
Now that I’m, ahem, a wee bit older, I find I begrudge the kids having all the fun. I mean, don’t adults deserve to enjoy the holidays by feasting on chocolate, too? Or to fuss over baby animals? (“We’re not babies any more, Mum, but you sure can fuss over us any time you like.“).
Although I personally could easily consume chocolate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and palate cleansers in between courses, the HH isn’t quite so enamored. While he does appreciate a good 70% cacao chocolate bar (and this chocolate pate is one of his all-time favorite desserts), he wasn’t too fussy on my suggestion that we gift each other with chocolate bunnies or baskets of chocolate Easter eggs this year (and truth be told, if he had agreed, it would have been trouble for me: how would I shape my homemade chocolate into bunny shapes?).
[Egg fillings after being frozen for a few hours–ready for their final shaping and chocolate bath!]
Instead, the HH prefers something with a more “mature” feel to it (like wine). As for more “cultured” desserts, I considered pink-frosted donuts, coconut cream pie (the HH’s favorite) topped with pastel-colored coconut, or even trying to re-create the iconic Cadbury Creme Eggs (adapting this recipe, perhaps?). I’d already created a standard cream-filled egg here, so there was no need to revisit that idea.
Then I remembered the time, perhaps a decade ago, that the HH and I celebrated our anniversary, which just happens to fall close to Easter each year, by booking an overnight stay at a posh Toronto hotel (that’s right: we inadvertently invented the “staycation”!). As part of the hotel’s welcome, when we entered the room we were greeted with a cheese plate, half bottle of champagne, and a tray of chocolate-covered strawberries.
Well, even back then, I had to forgo the champers (sob), but I do remember indulging in the berries. And man, there really is nothing quite like the marriage of juicy, ruby-red strawberries and silky smooth, deep and dark cacao. Drool.
So, in the end, I decided to combine those adult flavors with the kids’ delivery method in chocolate-covered eggs. These Strawberry Creme-filled eggs house a velvety, intensely fruity and slightly tart filling, with the bonus of a very substantial protein boost. As a perfect counterpoint to the sweet creme, the lustrous chocolate coating melts in your mouth slowly, releasing its slightly bitter, earthy undertones as you savor it.
All in all, this is the perfect adult snack. But hey, feel free to share with the kiddoes if you wish (though I won’t blame you if you decide not to).
Strawberry Crème Easter Eggs (no egg molds required!)
You get an extra boost of protein in each of these creamy, alluring treats. With protein, healthy fat and complex carbs all in one, enrobed in antioxidant-rich cacao, these confections are more like health food than the typical Easter sweets you’ll find in the stores.
For the strawberry creme filling:
1 cup (240 ml) raw cashews, soaked in room temperature water for 12 hours, rinsed and drained well (alternately, cover with boiling water and soak 10 minutes) (see note 1)
3 Tbsp (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp (30 ml) water
3 drops plain or vanilla pure liquid stevia
3 Tbsp (45 ml) organic virgin coconut oil
2 tsp (10 ml) sunflower lecithin (optional, but highly recommended)
3 Tbsp sugar-free strawberry jam or preserves (homemade or store-bought; ensure clean ingredients); I used this one
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
2 Tbsp strawberry or berry flavored protein powder (I used this one)
For the chocolate coating (see note 2):
4 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I find Baker’s brand too bitter for this purpose)
1 tsp (5 ml) organic virgin coconut oil
1/4 tsp (1 ml) vanilla pure liquid stevia, or to taste
Place the cashews, juice, water and stevia in the jug of a powerful blender and blend until just smooth. Add the coconut oil, lecithin, jam and salt and continue to blend, scraping down sides and pressing the mixture into the blades as often as necessary, until you have a silky smooth, creamy mixture that’s almost the texture of sour cream. Add the protein powder and blend until combined.
Fill egg molds with the filling to create 4-6 large or 10-12 small eggs. Freeze until firm.
If you don’t have egg molds: Spread out the filling on a long piece of plastic wrap and pull up the sides to make a log (it will be very soft and may not hold its shape; do the best you can). Freeze until it’s just firm, 3-4 hours, then cut into 10-12 equal sized pieces and wrap each one in plastic, twisting the ends Tootsie-roll style (see photo, above).
Using your hands, hold each egg (still in plastic) and use the warmth of your palms to shape them into oval “egg” shapes. The outside of each egg will melt a bit, allowing you to shape them more effectively. Return to the freezer until they are very firm, at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the chocolate coating: Bring about 2 inches (5 cm) water to a boil in a small pot and lower to lowest possible heat. Place a metal or heatproof glass bowl over the pot, ensuring that the bottom does not touch the water. Add the chocolate and coconut oil, and stir to melt. Stir in the stevia. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary.
Line a flat plate or tray with plastic wrap. Remove the eggs from the freezer and unwrap them.
Working quickly, use a fork and dip each egg into the chocolate mixture, rotating to coat on all sides. Carefully tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate, then gently push off the fork onto the plate to firm up. You should be able to coat all the eggs without any of the first ones melting. As soon as you’re done coating all the eggs, repeat the process of coating them (this allows for a thicker shell). If necessary, return some of the eggs to the freezer as you go so the filling doesn’t begin to ooze out through any of the thin spots in the shells.
Once all the eggs are coated, place the plate in the freezer for 5 minutes to ensure everything is firm. Use the extra coating to fill any holes where filling is peeking out; then drizzle any remaining chocolate over the eggs in decorative patterns.
Once they are completely coated, you can store the eggs in the refrigerator. As they sit, the filling will soften but the chocolate will remain hard, so you’ll have an incredibly smooth and creamy strawberry center, protected inside the chocolate shell of each egg. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat. Makes about a dozen small eggs.
NOTE 1: If you can’t eat nuts, you can try using 7/8 cup (210 ml) raw sunflower seeds instead of the cashews; soak as you would the cashews before using.
NOTE 2: For the chocolate coating, you can also use 4 ounces (110 g) sugar-free chocolate with 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) organic virgin coconut oil, melted, or 4 ounces (110 g) semisweet chocolate (if you can have sugar) with 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) organic virgin coconut oil, melted.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free (if grain-free protein powder is used), dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free (if sunflower seeds are used), yeast-free, vegan, lower glycemic.
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