˝ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or half-and-half
1˝ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
˝ teaspoon almond extract
pinch salt, to taste
four 4-ounce semi-sweet chocolate bars, coarsely chopped*
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low for 1 minute. Add the cream, vanilla and almond extracts, then beat on high for 3 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy. Taste, then beat in a pinch of salt if needed. (It’s supposed to be very sweet!) The mixture will be very sticky. Cover the bowl tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Chilling makes shaping the buttercream filling a little easier.
2. Line 1-2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
3. Once chilled, remove the mixture from the refrigerator. Scoop 1 Tablespoon of the buttercream mixture and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball between your palms and use your fingers to thin out one end into an egg shape. The egg should be roughly 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining buttercream mixture. The buttercream mixture may be a little crumbly, but the warmth of your hands will bring it together. If you find the buttercream mixture becoming too soft to handle, chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can powder your hands with confectioners’ sugar, which helps prevent the buttercream from sticking to your hands.
4. Chill the shaped buttercream eggs in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. During the last few minutes of the chilling time, begin melting the chocolate and oil together. You can melt it in a double boiler or the microwave. If using the microwave: place the chocolate and oil in a medium heat-proof bowl. I recommend using a liquid measuring cup because its depth makes dipping really easy. Melt in 20 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Let the warm chocolate sit for 6-8 minutes to slightly cool before dipping, otherwise it will melt the buttercream filling.
4. Remove buttercreams from the refrigerator. Working with 1 at a time, submerge into the chocolate, then carefully lift out using a fork. Tap the fork gently on the side of the bowl/measuring cup to rid excess chocolate. Use a toothpick or a 2nd fork to help you slide the buttercream off of the fork and onto the baking sheet.
5. If you have leftover chocolate, drizzle over candies. I reheated the chocolate and used a squeeze bottle to drizzle.
6. Refrigerate buttercream eggs for 30 minutes or until chocolate has completely set before serving.
7. Layer buttercream eggs between sheets of parchment or wax paper and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
TIP: The most important part of this homemade Easter candy recipe is chilling. Chill the buttercream filling before shaping into Easter eggs. Otherwise it’s way too soft to mold into shapes. After molding the cold buttercream filling into Easter egg shapes, refrigerate again for at least 1 hour. The colder the buttercream, the easier it is to cover in chocolate
Buttercream Candy Flavors
Keep the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in the recipe.
Coconut Buttercreams: Replace almond extract with coconut extract and add 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut. If desired, pulse the coconut in a food processor so the shreds are smaller.
Lemon Buttercreams: Replace almond extract with lemon extract.
Chocolate Filled Buttercreams: Replace 2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar with unsweetened cocoa powder.
Orange Buttercreams: Replace almond extract with orange extract.
Strawberry Buttercreams: Pulse 1 cup of freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor to yield about 1/2 cup strawberry “dust.” Replace 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar with 1/2 cup strawberry dust.
Coffee Buttercreams: Add 1 teaspoon espresso powder. Taste, then add more as desired.
Peanut Butter Eggs: Use the peanut butter layer recipe from my no-bake peanut butter bars and shape into eggs. Chill for 1-2 hours, then coat in chocolate.
Have fun with different extracts and flavors. You can even divide the buttercream filling up to make different varieties from 1 batch.