What’s pink and purple and yellow and white and green and covered in roses and violas and miscellaneous unidentifiable flowers and filled with bunnies and chickens and baskets of eggs and more flowers and bees and rainbows and clouds….
Panoramic sugar eggs, of course!
For the last week my kitchen and dining room table have been taken over by these eggs. Here’s what happens: I make up a couple of bowls of colored sugar to fill my egg molds with. Then, when they’ve dried for a few hours I turn the molds over and scrape out the soft sugar, which goes back into the bowl. Do you see what happens here? There isn’t quite enough for another whole egg, so I add more sugar and fill more eggs, then scoop the extra back into the bowl. And….repeat.
Somehow I just don’t have it in me to throw away the extra sugar.
The smart thing would be to start with a light color (like pink) and when the pink egg is filled and scooped, add a little extra sugar and a couple of drops of food coloring and turn it into something darker, like purple. At some point, though, you will have to throw away a little sugar. After a week of this madness, I finally reach the point where I can cheerfully do that.
Rather than give you instructions on this blog, here’s the link to a Yummy Northwest column I did a couple of years ago that shows you the basics of making SUGAR EGGS
I made some cute bunnies, carrots, and bees using gum paste. If you’ve never tried working with gum paste, you’re missing out on a lot of creative fun. It’s like playing with clay, only it hardens into something resembling tooth-breaking porcelain. Once made and dried it will last and last. I like to use the powdered gum paste; that way I can just make as much as I want. Keep it in a heavy plastic bag when you’re not using it, because it will dry faster than you’d ever believe.
For my bee I just made a little body, painted it with yellow food coloring, painted on stripes and eyes with black food coloring, and stuck two slices of jelly bean on it for wings.
For the bunny, begin with the head. Make a small ball. Give it a small triangular nose and press a mouth (shaped sort of like a soft “W”) under it with a toothpick. Poke two holes in the top for ears. Make ears, dampen the base of them slightly, and stick them in the holes. Poke a toothpick in the bottom of the head where it will connect with the body and let the it dry until the ears are stable. Meanwhile, you can paint the inside of the ears, the nose, and the cheeks with a little pink food coloring or petal dust.
For the bunny’s body, make a ball of gum paste slightly larger than the head. Make two flat feet (press lines with a toothpick for toes) and set the body on top of them. Any time you put two pieces of gum paste together, it helps to dampen the place where they connect. A damp washcloth works perfectly for this. Add a fluffy tail. Add the head, poking the toothpick into the top of the body. If the toothpick is too long, shorten it with a pair of scissors. Add arms, either individual paws or one long piece that stretches all the way around. You can have it hold a candy egg, flower, or carrot if you’d like.
Speaking of carrots, I’m SURE I don’t have to explain how to make one, right? But for the record, adding a little food color to the gum paste is simple, but it will get your hands messy. Plastic gloves might be a good option if that kind of thing bugs you. Also, powdered food coloring is easier to work with. If you use liquid, you may have to add a little more powdered sugar to the gum paste too.
Have fun with these! Go to your favorite search engine and find articles on shaping royal icing flowers and little critters – ducks, chickens, lambs, etc. I covered pieces of spaghetti with green gum paste for flower stems and made a basket with gum paste and then brushed it with dry cocoa to give it a light brown color. Use your imagination…or better yet, ask a child for advice! Go through your favorite candy store to find all kinds of potential decorations.
Beware. Sugar eggs are addictive to make. Oh, and though everything is edible (well, except for that toothpick) I really don’t recommend gnawing on these. They’re just to look at, okay?