Since my vegan experiment last month turned semi-permanent, there haven’t been too many things I’ve missed. But then I remembered that it’s Easter candy season, and acknowledged that remaining vegan is going to be tricky.
See, I love Cadbury creme eggs. Always have. Something about the gooey inside against the harder chocolate shell is just heaven. But they aren’t vegan, so I thought they’d have to go.
But thanks to Tumblr (of course) I came across a recipe on VegWeb for a veganized version and decided to give it a try. The verdict? Well, you’ll see.
The only ingredient-related snafu I hit was the syrup. I couldn’t find brown rice syrup at any of the stores in my neighborhood, and I didn’t really want to use corn syrup. I got cane sugar syrup instead, which may or may not have contributed to the texture later.
Then it was time to start. The shortening and margarine (I used Earth Balance soy-free) go in with the syrup and are beaten together. In retrospect, it might have been easier to mix if I’d added the syrup after the fats so I didn’t have to do as much scraping to get syrup off the bottom of the bowl.
It started having a somewhat creme-egg-esque texture right away, which concerned me a little. I hadn’t added any powdered sugar yet, so it seemed inevitable that the consistency would change. I was right.
While I was mixing in the sugar (which I did one cup at a time. Though the recipe didn’t specify, I was wearing navy blue and wanted to avoid blowback), my beater broke. Seriously. There was this weird rattling sound inside and it smelled like burning. So I had to proceed by hand.
I have to wonder if some of my texture issues are because of this. I had about 2/3 of the sugar mixed in before I had to abandon the device in order to avoid having it spontaneously combust in my hand, so maybe it would have been smoother and more even otherwise.
This step seemed to go pretty well. the dough was hard enough to roll into a ball and didn’t get gooey in my hands. They had to freeze for two hours to set, so it was break time. Dance party?
After the required two hours of freezer time, I melted the chips. The recipe said to microwave them, but I decided to do it in a makeshift double boiler. I don’t know if that would have made a difference in the consistency of the chocolate.
The chips seemed to melt into a sort of fudgey texture, so I added some Earth Balance to smooth it out. It only helped a little. I also was either putting it on too thick or made too many balls, because it seemed to not be quite enough chocolate. I swear I didn’t eat much if it from the pan, either.
No, they aren’t pretty. The chocolate didn’t want to spread around them, and I came very close to just running out toward the end. They are decidedly not egg-shaped, or even smooth, but they are better than having no creme eggs at all.
Yes, I wrapped them in foil like the recipe said. I think the idea is that you can hide them so the kiddies can go on an egg hunt Easter morning. But really, it also keeps them from melting together and makes them portable.
The creme isn’t nearly as stretchy and gooey as Cadbury eggs, which could have to do with my beater malfunction (see the lump of sugar in there?), my syrup substitution, or any other unknown factor. That’s not going to stop me from chowing down, though.
See? Nothing, not even weird consistency or uneven chocolate, will stand between me and my creme eggs.
Verdict: moderate success. The aforementioned weird texture is tolerable when you consider that the taste is downright delicious.