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Chocolate eggs

The decorated eggs can be made up to 1 week in advance, if stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
Here is a chance for the equipped cake decorator to be really creative. Use 250 g (9 oz) icing sugar and 1 large egg white to make the icing. Divide into bowls and add a few drops of food colouring to each. Using a petal nozzle, pipe your own flowers such as pretty daffodils on to non-stick paper, then peel off and fix on to the eggs.

ingredients

makes 6
6 large eggs
750 g (1 1/2 lb) plain or milk dessert chocolate

decorations

a little lightly beaten egg white
about 150 g (5 oz) icing sugar, sifted
few drops of food colouring (optional)
sugar flowers or other cake decorations

method

1. Using a small skewer or a large darning needle, very carefully pierce a small hole in both ends of the eggshells. Enlarge one hole in each egg to about 5 mm (1/4 inch) wide. Hold eggs over a bowl and blow out contents through the larger of the holes.

2. Wash the eggs well in cold water, shaking out any remaining contents and put back in the egg box to drain and dry for about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make a large and a small piping bag from greaseproof paper, without cutting off the ends.

4. When the eggshells are dry, place a small piece of sticky tape over each of the smaller holes.

5. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Heat gently until melted, stirring occasionally, then pour into the large piping bag.

6. Cut a small hole in the end of the bag and pipe the chocolate into the eggshells. Stand the eggs, sticky tape end downwards, back in the egg box. Allow the chocolate to settle for a few minutes, then top up with a little more chocolate, if necessary. Refrigerate the eggs in the box overnight until set.

7. When the eggs are set, crack them gently, then carefully peel off shells.

8. To decorate: stand each egg in an egg cup. Add a little of the beaten egg white to the sugar and beat until the icing forms stiff peaks, beating in more egg or sugar, if needed. Dot a little icing on to the undersides of the decorations and fix in attractive designs to each egg (see Variations). Add a few drops of food colouring to the remaining icing, if liked, then use to fill the small piping bag. Cut a small hole in the end and pipe leaves or other designs on to eggs.

9. Leave for about 1 hour until set completely. Tie a small ribbon around each egg, fixing with a little icing if necessary.

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