Butter Cream Eggs: Coconut, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate

Makes about 30 1 1/2 inch long eggs
Prep time: 30-40 minutes, but there's some wait time while things harden/set.
Cost: $3.05 and if you flavor it with coconut, peanut butter, or chocolate that will add another $.50-1.00
(sugar: .60, butter: .40, chocolate: 2.00, other: .05)

2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C butter, significantly softened (Note: The original recipe calls for this to be equal parts margarine and butter, but I didn't have margarine, and all was well with all butter. I mean, how could all not be well with all butter?)
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbsp milk (or cream, if you're a stickler about keeping the 'cream' in your butter cream--I used milk and it was very good)
1 bag (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (or melting chocolate or white chocolate or whatever shivers your timbers)

Combine all ingredents except chocolate by hand. If it's too dry, add a bit more more milk.

Now you can leave it at that. Or you can add some other flavorings (I highly recommend other flavorings; I find the plain buttercream a little uninteresting). I tried coconut, peanut butter, and chocolate. (The chocolate was my favorite, but I thought they were all very good.)

For Coconut: Add 1 1/2 C shredded coconut (You can also substitue the vanilla extract for 1/2 tsp coconut extract if you wish).

For Peanut Butter: Add 1/2 C peanut butter.

For Chocolate: Add 5-6 Tbsp cocoa powder.

What I haven't tried, but think would be awesome:
1) Orange or lemon--1-2 Tbsp juice and 1-2 tsp of zest ought to do it.
2) Peppermint--add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract and a couple drops of green food coloring.

Refrigerate the filling and then when it's nice and firm, shape it into egg-shaped balls.
Get a sheet of wax paper ready because you're going to coat the eggs with chocolate. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave by microwaving in 20-30 second intervals until chocolate is mostly melted. When it's nearly melted, take it out and mix it until the last bits of chocolate melt (this method sort of tempers the chocolate--it's not an exact science; I guess I'm not an exact science kind of a girl, but it will help keep your chocolate from getting white streaks in it after it's set.)

Then you're going to coat the eggs with chocolate. Truly I have no idea how my mother used to do this. I tried dipping. That didn't work very well because the chocolate was too thick. I tried using a spoon to sort of drizzle over/cover the eggs. Also not successful. Finally, I settled on holding the egg, smearing the chocolate on the bottom and sides with my finger and then plopping it down on the wax paper and smearing it on the top, again with my finger. I can only imagine the health code violations that were committed via this method. (Of course, I didn't lick the chocolate off my fingers when I was done; what kind of establishment do you think I'm running here. I let my assistant lick them instead. Because she is cute.) Anyway, it might not be the neatest way in the world, but it worked.

And then I let them (the eggs, not my assistants) set until the chocolate was firm. This took an hour or two.
Now I was ready to decorate them. Of course, this isn't essential, but Mom always did when we were little and it makes them so much prettier. Even when you have the decorating skills of an aquatic mammal as I flatter myself to have, they will turn out pretty with a few nice Easter colors. Just stick some decorating tips in some Ziploc bags and have at it. (I'll post my basic vanilla frosting recipe below.)

You can save these eggs for Easter or eat them for dessert tonight or send them off to your children's teachers as gifts (providing you waited to lick the chocolate and icing off your fingers until after you were done with the project).

Basic Vanilla Frosting:
Cost: .60
(sugar: .25, butter: .30, other: .05)

1 C powdered sugar
4 Tbsp butter, significantly softened
1-2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combined butter, sugar, and vanilla and mix. Add 1 Tbsp milk and the other if the frosting needs it. Add food coloring if desired.
Posted by The Tasty Cheapskate