I wouldn't go hiding these around the house for your kids to find on Easter morning.
They're probably better suited to just eating, or perhaps making a batch of really wild deviled eggs – something I'm thinking of doing with the next batch.
I've been thinking about making these for a while.
I'd seen recipes in a couple of my Asian cookbooks for Chinese Tea Eggs, a typical street snack found in parts of China. Basically what you do is hardboil your eggs normally, and then, when they've cooled enough to handle, roll the eggs around on a hard surface to crack them. You don't want to crack them too hard – you still want the shell to stay on the egg. But you want to develop a nice overall cracked look.
Then, for the tea eggs, you'd make a pot of good, strong, dark tea and either simmer (recipes vary) the eggs for a while in the tea or just plunge them into the hot tea and leave them there for several hours.
To make mine, I hardboiled them, cooled them a bit, and rolled them around on a paper towel to crack them. Some came out better than others.
Then I brought some more water to a boil and salted it (to flavor the eggs a bit, just in case we eat them). While the water was heating up I set out several bowls for the various colors. I picked out seven colors (no particular reason for that number - I'll probably make more when it's closer to Easter) and parcelled out some gel food coloring into each bowl.
I used pink, yellow, copper, green, blue, teal, and purple.
When the water reached a boil and I'd added in some salt, I ladled water into each bowl and stirred the food coloring to dissolve it. Then I placed one or two cracked eggs in each bowl, making sure they were covered completely with the colored water.
** And here's where I give you a word or two of advice. First of all, have a towel under your bowls – if the egg displaces too much water, you'll have a mess, and food coloring CAN STAIN. Second, use bowls or other containers that are more vertical then horizontal in dimension. Actually coffee mugs worked really well for me – I ended up pouring colored water from my bowls into mugs – oh, the colorful mess I had! But the mugs worked great. I made sure to pick dark mugs so that if there was any staining catastrophe, no one but me would know.
I didn't take pictures of the eggs in their color baths – most were too dark.
I left them in there for…(had to do some thinking just then) about 7 hours. Yes. I typed it correctly and you read it correctly. 7 hours.
* Update * I was thinking that it wasn't a very food-safe thing to do – leaving the eggs out to soak in hot/warm water for 7 hours. In fact, it's not safe at all – it's a perfect environment for all sorts of bad little bugs to grow and thrive and contaminate everything. We didn't eat those left out eggs anyway – I just took pictures and eventually tossed them. Wasteful, right? So I made a batch and instead of soaking them in hot colored water, I used cold colored water and soaked the eggs in the fridge overnight. I'm happy to say it worked just as well AND you can eat the eggs!
Now, I don't know if it was necessary to leave them that long, but that's just the way it worked out, what with shuttling kids around and bringing Julia to gymnastics and making dinner and everything, it was nearly 7 pm when I finally got a chance to unveil my masterpieces.
I was kind of excited, to tell you the truth. And I was so excited that I didn't think to take a picture of the eggs BEFORE I peeled them, but ah well, that's why I don't write for Bon Appetit.
Here, however, is a lovely photo of the peeled shells:
Pretty darn festive themselves, aren't they?
And here are my eggy jewels:
Aren't they cool????? Well, some of them didn't come out so good, but the ones that did – I'm pretty happy with them.
As you can tell, it's hard to really see the detail on the yellow one. I might not do yellow again, although it's so bright and pretty that maybe I will. You just never know what I might do!
Anyway, the interesting thing (to me) is that some of them don't look like the colors I'd expected. The two green ones are fine. And that single teal egg is fine. The orangy one is copper, but oddly enough, when I look at it today, it's more pink. Or peach. And those two purple ones? Those were in the pink food coloring. They looked purple yesterday (in the above photo) and today they've calmed down a bit to a fuschia. The blue ones…they're fine. And that darker blue, right in front? That was supposed to be purple.
So either you can do a lot of scientific experimentation with amounts of food coloring and length of time spent soaking…or you can just wing it and let the eggs be like little colorful gifts as you peel them.
Both of my kids are dying to color eggs, especially Julia. She saw all the mugs and bowls of eggs in food coloring on the counter yesterday, and unfortunatly she was sent to bed early (long story) and didn't get to see the final products. I didn't show her this morning. I was a bit concerned that she'd cry or get upset about missing the fun of peeling.
So I think I will make more of these and let the kids pick the colors and roll the eggs around to crack them.
Alex WILL NOT eat eggs, but even he was impressed last night with how they looked.
And then perhaps I will make deviled eggs…or a really colorful egg salad…with the finished products.
OH! Almost forgot – yet another bit of advice – when you're cracking the shells, be gentle with them. If you whack them too hard on the counter or on your sibling's head (just preparing for everything here), you could also cause the white to split all the way to the yolk. Just like this blue one on the end here (left front):
It's not the most horrible thing in the world, but it does kind of ruin the aesthetic. And we don't want that, do we? At least not for the pictures.
Anyway, that's what I've been up to for fun. Hope you've been entertained!
(Oh, and if you haven't had enough of these eggs, go here.)