My Fellow Inebriates,
The success of any project depends on three factors:
At first, making our own liqueur-filled Easter eggs seemed like an ingenious idea. We have:
Time—What the hell else does my mum have to do? (Ouch! Has someone ever taken their fingernail and flicked you on the ass? Ouch!) To rephrase: she’s home all day with a four-year-old who needs to be constantly engaged and who would find DIY Easter eggs delightful (if you ignore the booze component). Check.
Resources—My mum is a fiend for and hoarder of chocolate. If she hasn’t already reallocated valuable grocery/booze funds for chocolate, she can be persuaded to invest in some. Besides, her ass requests it. (Owie!) As for the necessary booze, I can get my dad to buy it; he loves going to the liquor store. Check.
Talent—Supposedly, when it comes to making desserts, my mother knows her shit. And she’s had a lot of practice managing four-year-olds in the kitchen. Check.
So I was optimistic, my fellow inebriates. By Easter we could have liqueur-filled eggs!
But my parents were hesitant. They questioned how liquor really fit into our Sunday morning Easter egg hunt with the kids. They said they didn’t really care for liqueur chocolates. They said I was being a nuisance.
And suddenly my project triangle looked like this:
I felt my own optimism dwindling. But oh well. Nothing for it but to dive in. How the hell do you make liqueur-filled chocolates anyway?
According to the most comprehensive instructions I could find, you need a lot of equipment, including:
- a scale that can measure to the gram
- an instant-read digital thermometer
- two 9”x13” baking dishes
- a metal mesh strainer/sifter
- a silicone pastry brush
- four to eight boxes of cornstarch (!!)
OMG! Now our triangle looks like this:
Yes, that’s my mum’s finger.
I’ve always wondered how they get fillings into chocolates. Cadbury has been milking the Caramilk Secret campaign for years. Do they:
- freeze the filling and then coat it with chocolate?
- create the chocolate molds in two halves, pour the filling in, and seal the halves together?
- somehow create hollow chocolate shapes and then inject the filling in?
None of the above, although Cadbury engineers considered the first option, only to dismiss it because it was too expensive and time-consuming. Instead (are you ready for this?) they pour the chocolate into a mold, then add squares of solid caramel, to which they then add a natural enzyme that converts it to a liquid, by which time they’ve already sealed it in with a final layer of chocolate.
Wow! I’d find that really interesting if the filling were booze instead of caramel. But it’s irrelevant to the manufacture of liqueur-filled chocolates.
Back to the ingredient list. You may be wondering what the hell all that cornstarch is for. According to the instructions, you have to dry it out thoroughly, then make a big bed of it, then use objects to make indentations in it—in our case, Easter-egg shaped cavities. Which means we also need to buy an Easter egg shape.
This is fast becoming a drain on our alcohol fund.
Okay, so you make your shapes in the cornstarch. (Note: no open flame near the cornstarch. It can make fireballs.)
That cornstarch is going to go everywhere. If I get near it I’ll look like Cocaine Bear. Just a little less fierce.
But the next part is even scarier for a small, flammable bear. Next we need to use a saucepan to cook sugar to a specific temperature (holy shit, the tolerance is, like, 3 degrees; we are totally gonna mess this up). Then, once the mercury’s hit that ultra-specific line on the candy thermometer my mum says she bloody well isn’t going to buy, THEN, hallelujah, we can add the liquor. Then we have to stir it at the perfect pace or risk inducing crystallization. OMG! Did I mention we’re going to mess this up?
At this point we should be beside ourselves with anxiety. We’ll need to fend off an eager four-year-old from the stovetop part of it and, at that critical period of temperature measurement, find some other source of entertainment for her, all the while covered with white powder (at which point a cop will probably knock on the door to bestow parking tickets on us, misjudge the situation and bust us for possession). BUT, assuming we make it to this point, now we have to fill the molds with our mixture.
THEN we have to sift cornstarch over the candies (or just shake it off our bodies onto them). And THEN we have to wait 3-5 hours. OMFG!! Did I mention there’s a four-year-old in the kitchen? What do you think she’ll say when we tell her we have to wait 3-5 hours? How many freaking times can she watch Tangled?
Okay, so assuming we survive all that, THEN we have to flip this mess over and leave it overnight.
The next morning we can pull the candies out of the cornstarch and coat them with chocolate.
Photo: Steven Joyce
Up against this recipe, our small resources, limited time, and minuscule talent come up short. My mum says I’m on my own—there’s no goddamn way she’s going to make liqueur-filled Easter eggs. Ever. She says I can damn well get one of those big Nestle eggs, jettison the Smarties from inside and fill the whole thing up with Laguvulin, and good luck.
Sounds like a plan.