Thursday, March 15, 2018

The "Egg-ceptional" Story Continues!

Easter is right around the corner.  For one very small window of time, I literally, eat, sleep and think all things eggs!  Call it egg-mania!!  Call it egg-straodinary...  call me with your orders for peanut butter eggs, coconut cream eggs and butter cream eggs!

In years past, really all the years of my life that I can recall, Easter was the season to make homemade easter eggs of peanut butter, butter cream or coconut.  This is a family tradition that just seemed to "roll" down through the generations.  I remember fondly, being a child standing on a chair in front of the kitchen counter rolling dozens and dozens of eggs along side my grandmother and mother, then with my mother, and then eventually teaching my own three girls the art of making easter eggs.

There is really something magical about these eggs! I believe it is all the tradition, memories and love that are rolled into each one.  If I do the math right, multiplying the number of times that I have been asked for the recipe, and let's just say for argument sake, everyone that asked was willing to pay me a dollar, I think that I could safely say I'd be at least a thousand-aire a few times over!

When we lived in our home state, I made eggs and gifted them to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers alike. After some years of this tradition, around the Easter holiday I would be stopped at the mailbox or bus stop with special requests... "if I was making them again this year."  Once we moved to Florida four years ago, I did the same thing here, but the response was not as overwhelmingly positive, like I had become used to.  Instead the neighbors sort of thought my homemade wares were a bit odd, and I have never really figured out how to mail them to family while keeping them intact, so making them the first two years here was more about suppling the wants of the dwarfs and the prince in our kingdom.  It really was not until last year that my passion for egg making was reignited!

Last year, when my youngest daughter, Sleepy and I were planning our mission trip to Peru, egg season was upon us, and we happened to also be in the height of our trip fundraising efforts.  So to increase interest of someone considering donating to our trip we offered eggs.  If someone donated to our trip, we gave them some eggs as a thank you along with our prayer card.   No set fee per say, just whatever the person receiving the eggs felt that they could contribute to our mission trip.  And wow,  how the Lord blessed us in this effort, we collected about $1,500 towards our trip costs, simply by making some sweet and delicious chocolate covered eggs! (one woman gave us $500 donation for 50 eggs!!) Click for 2017 Egg Post

I have found myself in a place of deeper reflection this year as I have heard myself telling the story of how these eggs became part of not only our family tradition, but part of who I am, and now how they are part of how we have used them the last two years to serve the Lord.  It would not ever occur to me to celebrate Easter, without making eggs.  First there would be a huge revolt in the kingdom, by the dwarfs and the prince, and secondly, it would rob me of the joy and the blessing of sharing not only a sweet treat with others, but of the opportunity to share the love of Christ.

This year, the easter season, sort of snuck up on me. I made my first batch of eggs in a hasty fashion (66 peanut butter delights) and within 12 hours was out of them completely!  Keeping with the traditions set before me, I never have sold any of my eggs. Just like my Christmas baking, it is always made and gifted to others as a way to share the joy of the season.  As conversations starting around me this year about my eggs,  and when I was asked if I was making them, and could they be bought, I decided that I would once again do the same thing as last year, make the eggs and offer them for a donation towards my trip to Kenya this summer with Go Be Love International (Click for link to trip page).

Again, everyone is clamoring for the recipe.  I am not sure if it really is a "secret" family recipe, but saying that it is adds to the allure of the eggs.  Occasionally, people have been over to the house and seen my pile of supplies on the counter, only one kind of Semi Sweet chips, Chip Link, only one kind of peanut butter, P-Butter Link, only one kind of butter, Butter Link, only one kind of coconut, Coconut Link... any kind of confectioners sugar will do, and then the secret ingredient...  I know... you all were super excited, thought I would link to it...   Nope!  Not marshmallow fluff, no cracker crumbs... gosh I really wish I could tell you, but then anyone could make these great eggs!! 

There is no real recipe. There is just the ingredient list.  From there,  it is done all by hand mixing (and I mean take off your rings, and roll up your sleeves and dig in!)  and the taste and the feeling of how the mixture rolls in your hands.  The real treat to teaching my girls how to make them; is that is the same way that I was taught, and I am sure it is how my mother was taught by her mother, taste and feel.  Too heavy on the peanut butter and then the creamy texture is off.  Too heavy on the secret ingredient and the peanut butter taste is diminished.  Too much confectioners sugar makes them crack when you bite into them.  Its an art, and no two batches turn out the same, or turn out the same number of eggs!  The butter eggs are the base to the coconut eggs, and I am doubtful that there are too many variations of this recipe. We have done them with dark chocolate chips, and milk chocolate chips... the butter and vanilla and confectioners sugar are a sweet sweet concoction!  Adding the coconut flakes help cut the sweet a bit!  Coating the eggs is a bit tricky.  Honestly, the hardest part of the process to master is coating.  I use a double boiler, Link for Double Boiler Double Boiler Link and slowly melt the chips over a med/high heat, stirring often until smooth.  I use a standard kitchen fork to drop the eggs in the melted chocolate, and to roll and remove and shake the excess chocolate off.  It is a science to get the perfect coating and not steam your skin in the process, but oh so worth it in the end, even if I do get the occasional steam burn! 

At the end of the day,  however, hands down, the peanut butter eggs are the ones that everyone clamors for!

This year, I say... clamor away, because I am happy to make them by the dozens!! Hundreds of dozens if that is what is needed to say thank you to those that have a hankering for peanut butter and chocolate and are willing to donate to my mission trip.  Oh yes, and all the while they will hear about how God provides in ways that are more than astounding to me, allowing me to do something that I truly love and enjoy, feeding people's belly's and planting seeds of faith.

Yes, that's correct... 100's of peanut butter easter eggs gifted last year and this year, as a means of supporting a mission trip, really, you can't make this stuff up!