Spring Sweets: Coconut Cream Eggs

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My husband's dear grandmother Ellen passed away this week, just a few days before Easter. She and I first connected over our shared love for my husband— she loved to tell me stories from his childhood, and I loved to hear them. But over the years we had a chance to bond on a more personal level— often over food— and she became a grandmother to me long after my own grandmothers had passed. She was a willing tester for my recipes and would often send me a single sentence email that made my day when a food photo I posted to social media caught her eye. And it was always the sweet recipes that got her attention. She had a love of sweets that I share, and I loved indulging her with treats, as many of her family members did.

It was no secret that I looked forward to one of Ellen's own recipes too— I know that I wasn't the only one— coconut eggs that she would handmake and deliver to each of her grandkids (and their lucky partners) on Easter. This year we won't have that recipe and its (super-sweet but seriously addictive) flavor to look forward to, so this week I found myself dreaming up a way to recreate it, as I thought of her and processed our family's great loss. I never knew what was in Ellen's recipe (and maybe, in a way, didn't exactly want to know– sometimes it's better to just enjoy). So instead of trying to match hers, I created an Eat Pretty-style coconut cream egg that I hope pays homage. I like to think she would approve.

As a longtime coconut cream egg lover (I'm talking since childhood), I'm quite pleased with the results. Conventional coconut cream eggs are packed with refined sugar, but these get their sweetness from maple syrup and dates, plus creaminess from cashews and coconut butter. Don't skimp on the big pinch of unrefined salt that balances their flavors. Dipped in dark chocolate, they're my new Easter tradition, one that I'll make each year while I think of Ellen.

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Coconut Cream Eggs

Makes about 16 eggs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water at least 4 hours, rinsed, and drained
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp coconut butter
  • 3-4 soft dates (depending on their size and your preferred level of sweetness)
  • unrefined salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut flakes, divided
  • 6 oz high-quality dark chocolate (at least 70% dark)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

DIRECTIONS

In a high-powered blender, puree soaked cashews, maple syrup, dates, and a generous pinch of salt. Using the tamper, or frequently scraping down the sides of the container, ensure that there are no lumps and that the blend is relatively smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut flakes and blend again for a few seconds, to break them down slightly. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the rest of the coconut flakes, adding slightly more if you find that the mixture is not quite thick enough to form into shapes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Using wet fingers, form 1 Tbsp scoops of the coconut mixture into flattened egg shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Chill them in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and coconut oil over low heat. Remove chilled coconut eggs from the freezer and coat each one with melted chocolate. I like use one hand to balance each egg on a fork above the saucepan while I use the other hand to spoon melted chocolate over top. Let the excess chocolate drip back into the pan, and carefully slide each chocolate-coated egg back onto the parchment. After you've coated all of the eggs, transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. Store in the fridge until serving.