Johanna, The Passionate Cook is hosting this month’s Waiter, There’s Something In My… and has chosen Easter Basket as the theme. I felt like making some pretty coloured Easter eggs to fill my basket with but instead of chocolates I was going to undertake the ever daunting task of caramel making. I was armed with a wonderful recipe from Helene of Tartelette for Salted Butter and Chocolate Caramels and was ready to take on my nemesis. I wish I could rave to you about my success, but as you can see in the above pictures, my basket is not full of caramels. However, this is the closest I have ever come to succeeding at making caramel, sadly, I still failed. I was intending for my caramel to be a firm, not an ice cream topping. But I didn’t cook the caramel long enough for it to set firmly and be cut and wrapped individually, so it was gooey. On any other occasion, I would have been thrilled with a rich, thick oozy caramel that melted in my mouth, but not when I was trying for firm caramels to be eaten as candy. Despite the fact that this caramel was not exactly what I was looking for, I still ate way too much of it with a spoon. While doing so, I realized that unless I wanted a very gooey Easter basket, I would have to find something else to fill it with. I had a bunch of brown and fragrant bananas sitting on the counter so I decided on Banana-Date Muffins, topped with caramel. This improved on an otherwise naked muffin, but still left me with a lot of extra caramel. Don’t worry though, it’s going into another project which will be revealed soon…
As for the coloured eggs, I started by blowing out their innards. In theory, this is quite easy; you just take a needle and poke little holes in both ends and then blow. It’s not hard per se, but it’s also not something you want to do a lot of. After five eggs I was weak in the knees and started seeing stars. It was at that point that I decided five was more than enough. I mixed up some food colouring, water and vinegar and set about dyeing my eggs. The process did not go as smoothly as I expected. Hollow eggs float. This meant for a lot of poking my fingers into dye. I think my fingers ended up more colourful than the eggs. The bunny liked them though. Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy.
Banana-Date Muffins (Adapted from Cooks.com)
1 c. all bran cereal
1/4 c. milk
3 mashed ripe bananas
1 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. chopped pitted dates
4 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 cup muffin tin or line tin with cupcake liner. In a small bowl combine bran with milk and bananas. Set aside and let stand for 5 minutes.
In another bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and dates. Beat eggs, butter and vanilla into bran mixture and add to dry ingredients. Stir just until flour is moistened. (Butter will be bumpy.) Spoon into muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or until golden.
well, the muffin looks great, and your next recipe will probably knock our socks off, so I wouldn´t count this one as a failure at all.
Now, about the caramel thing. Do you have a candy thermometer? Because I think that might be the only way to be 100% sure the caramel is perfect. Besides, you bake all the time, so it´s a good investment since it´s also good for syrups when they need to have a specific consistency, to melt chocolate properly, etc. Have I convinced you yet? ;)
even without a nice caramel, the muffin still look delicious and not to mention the colored eggs are so cute! and the bunny too!
These look great! I am sorry the caramels did not work. Get thee a thermometer, it makes your life so much easier. I have learned caramel temperatures with the drop in the water test, in a way it teaches you about color and consistency a lot, but having a thermometer is reliable 95% of the time, and will ease the headache.
I rarely ever crave sweets, but those muffins look too good to be true! I need to go grocery shopping and get my baking stuff on!
Your muffins, it's so beautiful and your savor i like best and your benny to
Ooh, Bri you are too funny!
Sorry about your caramels, I have the same (in)ability in regards to anything with boiled sugar.
Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy... *grin*
This was great to read....and nice to see that the Easter spirit is catching on...and thanks for sharing the recipe..sounds really delicious...and for some more resources for Easter also Drop by my blog on Easter Greetings and check out all that i've posted there!!!!
For blowing out the Easter eggs I have a sneaky thing I do. I invite a few of the neighbors kids who play with Soeren and have a arts and crafts session. We have a competition where the kid that blows the innards of the most eggs wins. But it is not all that bad because they win little presents and get to make tortillas and other egg dishes for dinner. It's a huge lot of fun and I have my easter eggs! This year though I tried something different - I used quail eggs. That was really cool.
Those muffins look lovely and sticky.
I love the look of those muffins, really gooey and sweet! Can you send me a basket for easter over??
I have fairly foolproof recipe for sea salt caramels - no chocolate though. But the muffins look wonderful :)
love the muffins! as for the eggs, i've had some failed attempts this year trying to use natural dye... but i used the eggs as they were, for egg fight later! the problem here is that i can only use ducks eggs, as the chicken eggs are all date stamped... very ugly! the duck's eggs however have such a soft shell that blowing them out and decorating would be impossible! thanks for participating!
lol you soooo funny :D
That muffin has me all a-quiver - banana and caramel.. holy schnikeys!
I love the way your eggs came out! And I'm glad to hear you didn't stroke out when blowing the innards out. I hope you paid attention the whole time and did not accidentally suck in. ewww.
I'm going to try these caramels of Helene's.. and it's now good to know that at the very least I'll get an excellent ooey gooey caramel sauce if I fail (which, in my opinion is NOT a failure)!
Wow, what wouldn't I do to have that basket full of those muffins. ;)
Your banana muffins come right on time! I was actually looking for a banana muffin recipe:)
I've no doubt bunny loved it especially with the caramel;)
They certainly do look beautiful so not to worry! I've added a link to you :)
Those muffins look scrumptious, the caramel draws me in, so glad you could put it to such a good use!
The muffins look great.
The bunny is cute as can be.
I have never tried caramel, so I give you credit for going there. I'm sure you will get it down soon. The eggs look fantastic.
I have seen people blowing out the inside of eggs before. It looks similar to trying to suck a strawberry through a straw.
What a hoppy bunny. The muffins are, as usual, heart stoppingly yummy looking. The caramel might not be the candy you were looking for, but it's perfect on the muffins. Your eggs are quite fancy and beautiful. Now you see why I hard boil instead of blowing the egg out of the shell. Tried it a few times, but love meets's idea...make it a kid party.
Such a cute bunny! I would love to have those muffins in my basket.
Hi Bri! Sorry to hear the caramels didn't quite turn out, but great job in recyling the caramel into a delicious, sticky, gooey Easter treat!
Love the dyed eggs! I've never tried to make caramels....but if you need a taster, I'm available.
One of my favorite things about you Brilynn is that you post about stuff that doesn't turn out too!
All I really need is the muffin please...sometimes accidents work in our favor.
...and there's another project off shooting from this one...I'm ready...
You are so much brave than I am - I just used boiled eggs for my children to decorate! Though maybe I will blow a few out, just so they can try it. Letting them blow of course!
With caramel...it is just practice, practice, practice...and patience. Definitely get a thermometer but you will get to a point where you will be able to do it without...for real.
Bril, I am so proud of you. This is the first step to facing our fear of caramel. Your muffins look wonderful...the bunny so cute!
I'm sorry your caramel didn't turn out as expected but I give you props for trying. Some recipes just have to be tried over and over until you finally get it, and then you're on cloud 9 for days because it turned right (and all your non foodie friends think you're nuts for being so excited about food). Yea, I'm speaking from experience. :)
The muffins look fantastic though and the eggs are so purty!
Ari (Baking and Books)
I'm very tempted by these muffins. But for my heart-healthy clients, do you know of any way to substitute for the butter?
The bunny is so cute!
Marce- I actually just got a caramel thermometer and it will be put to good use, I'm sure.
Meeta- I have quail eggs in the fridge and haven't figured out what to do with them yet...
Ed- Although I haven't tried it in this recipe, you can usually substitute some applesauce for the butter. The muffins might be a little more dense, but still tasty.
Oh... your basket is the cutest thing!
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