The centerpiece of my childhood Easter baskets was always a huge chocolate bunny. So large that it took several weeks (or at least days) to finish. Of course now when I look back the whole thing is a little sad – slowly maiming a bunny as you ingest hundreds of calories and piles of sugar. Nonetheless, it is tradition. Thus, it’s important to me that E get to experience all of the joy and creepiness that comes with finding a large chocolate bunny in your basket on Easter morning and slowly gnawing on it until it disappears.
But, alas, procuring said bunny for E is a little more difficult. It has to be free of all of his allergens – dairy, soy, egg, coconut, rice, and oats. The Easter Bunny has to be on the ball this year. No procrastinating and last-minute shopping trips. This magical confection would not be on the shelf of a local grocery store.
So a couple of weeks ago I started the research. I was pleased to find a couple of websites that sell dairy-free chocolate Easter candy, however most contained soy. Amanda’s Own was the one exception, the problem is that we’ve never had it. Buying this chocolate would be taking a chance and, while all of the ingredients appear to be safe (cane sugar, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa butter), I felt like it would require at least a mini-trial to be sure. Nobody wants the Easter Bunny to accidentally bring an FPIES reaction.
We have, however, already passed Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, which are free of all of the top 8 allergens as well as rice, oat, and coconut. These things are a God-send and they actually taste good! Given that we already had some safe chocolate, it seemed logical that I should make my own bunny. This made me incredibly uncomfortable. I’m pretty sure my last candy-making experience was my 8th birthday party, which was held at a candy kitchen. Eight-years-old was a long time ago! After a night of trying to convince myself that I could do this, I became empowered by a few fellow FPIES-moms on the FPIES Facebook page who assured me that making my own Easter candy was quite possible and I decided to take the plunge.
I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to find large bunny chocolate molds at this time of year! The local craft stores were a bust but I was able to find a few online. I ended up ordering a very large one because it was the cutest. It is unlikely that E will come anywhere close to finishing this bunny, but being the helpful mom that I am, I am willing to step in and assist 🙂
My step-by-step instructions are below. It was so easy! Seriously, the hardest part was finding a spot in the refrigerator for it to sit while it hardened. I felt so good about my results that I even made bite-sized easter-themed candies just for fun. AND I got a little carried away and went all pinterest-y and made E-safe chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs (which need a few tweaks so you’ll have to wait a bit for my post about them)! One of the things I was most concerned about was the texture. I was afraid that the chocolate would turn out rock-hard. But they are really perfect, the texture and consistency is just like any store-bought candy. I think the oil might be the key (but I won’t pretend to be an expert). I really couldn’t be happier with the end result!
Chocolate Easter Candy – Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free, Peanut-Free, Nut-Free
10 oz bag Enjoy Life Mini Chips
1 Tbsp Canola Oil (I’m pretty sure any safe oil would work)
1. Mix the chips and the oil in a microwave-safe bowl
2. Melt the chips in the microwave on high for about 1.5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. At the end of the minute and a half, the bowl of chips didn’t look smooth, but once I started stirring it they continued to melt enough that I didn’t need to heat them anymore.
3. Poor the melted chocolate into a mold.
4. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, until solid. (15 minutes wasn’t enough for my mold so I left in the fridge and then got distracted. It was in there well over an hour and it was fine.)
5. Turn the mold upside down to pop out the chocolate.
6. Marvel at how easy it was to uphold an Easter traditional in a completely easy and FPIES-safe way
UPDATE: Two days after I made the candy I noticed that it is starting to get a little discolored. Some quick internet research suggested that this is probably because it was exposed to changes in humidity or temperature. There also seems to be some debate about where to let the chocolate harden (room temperature vs refrigerator vs freezer). My mold directed me to use the refrigerator, which I did, but you might want to experiment with where is best for you. I think I’ll aim to make the chocolate the day before I need it next time, which is fine because it so easy! Let us know if you have any tips or hints. Have fun!