These tasty coconut cream eggs combine dark chocolate and lavender for a uniquely flavored treat you can make at home without special molds or fancy tools.
I grow lavender in the garden, but I have to be honest that I never really have many ideas for what to do with it. I enjoy the smell when I occasionally brush up against the plant, it looks attractive, and it brings plenty of bees to the yard. Good enough, right? Sure. But in the back of my mind, I wanted to find a few uses for cooking.
I tried using lavender in shortbread cookie dough once and didn't like the taste. In hindsight, I think I just used too much. It was exactly as anticipated, and the cookies tasted like soap. Needless to say, I never felt too compelled to find additional uses. Nevertheless, I dried some of the buds last summer and stashed a small jar of them with my spices.
While working on our kitchen upgrade project the past few months, we did some cleaning out. And I consolidated my spice collection to just two drawers and a ridiculous, though kind of cool, pull-out spice board—more on the kitchen in a future post. I told myself I was either getting rid of the lavender or using it up before we have more growing.
Side note: if you're thinking of planting lavender in your own garden, I've learned that some varieties are better for culinary use than others. If you don't want that soapy/perfumey taste, look for English varieties rather than French. That's not a hard and fast rule, but I read that once, and it stuck with me. Here are more specifics.
Why chocolate and lavender?
So here we are. It's finally spring, people like flowery things in spring, and I happened to have a little more time on my hands. Being the week of Easter, my mind went to a lavender-flavored candy. Because what else are holidays all about but eating candy and other foods?
I wanted to find a way to combine lavender and chocolate. It's not a combination you see too often, and maybe that was a sign. If it was, I didn't listen. I'm glad I didn't.
After brainstorming options, I realized that the flavor of lavender directly infused in chocolate would probably end up too muddled to really taste. So how about a lavender filling that's covered in chocolate? And since it's Easter, what better option than eggs?
I ended up with lavender coconut cream eggs. They're not the gooey kind of cream eggs like Cadbury. They're more like the coconut cream texture of a mounds bar. But a little less sweet (I think), a little creamier thanks to cream cheese, and flavored with lavender - definitely not something you'll find in the Easter candy aisle.
Candy making isn't hard, it's just takes a little time
As is the case when you make any candy, there is some work involved. This isn't a 15-minute project. That said, it is not difficult, and I don't see how you can mess this up.
You start by pulsing the filling together in a food processor. The filling sets in the fridge until firm while you melt some chocolate. The filling is shaped into eggs then dipped in the melted chocolate. It then sets for a bit in the fridge until hardened. If you want to be fancy and drizzle over some melted white chocolate (or those not so tasty, though convenient candy melts), go for it!
Do I need a candy mold?
No. The filling essentially becomes a dough and it's easy to shape by hand into eggs, balls or whatever you prefer.
Do I need a candy thermometer?
No. The only thing you cook here is melt some chocolate and coconut oil. I do this by bringing some water in small saucepan to a simmer with a glass bowl set over the top. The chocolate and coconut oil will melt as you stir. Alternatively, you could do this in a bowl in the microwave using 50% power and heating in short 30 second increments. No temperature check is needed, just use your eyes.
Don't I need a candy factory to make candy?
No. But a counter, stove, and fridge are helpful. In other words, you need a kitchen.
Will these taste like soap?
Nope. I only use a ½ teaspoon of dried lavender buds here, so it's just a hint of flavor and not an overwhelming taste. If you're still worried though, and hey, I don't blame you, start out with just a ¼ teaspoon. Taste the filling and add more to your liking.
But I don't like lavender! And chocolate lavender sounds gross!
Then why have you read this far in a recipe post that specifically includes lavender? Fine. You can skip the lavender and try using some citrus zest or an extract such as vanilla, peppermint, or almond.
I don't grow plants. Where can I find dried lavender?
Try checking the herbs and teas at your local food cooperative or grocery store. But you should also try growing plants, it's fun!
Do you have any other sweet recipes that use flowers or herbs?
Why yes. Thanks for asking. Try this lemon rosemary olive oil cake. I bet lavender would work well in place of the rosemary there, too.
Will my chocolate lavender coconut cream eggs float like yours?
Sorry, Georgie. Pennywise says your eggs will not float too.