Easter has long been one of my favorite holidays, and mostly for the food. After piling into a crowded church service, my whole extended family would feast on delicious ham, potatoes, my mom’s amazing broccoli and cheese casserole and some form of dessert—often a pie. There would also be the lamb-shaped butter that drew in all the cousins who would fight to decapitate it. Which is amusing, given that the holiday itself is about life after death.
Since Vassar gives us our spring break in the beginning of March when spring is arguably very far away, I haven’t been home for Easter for a while. I’m lucky enough that my kind family sends me an amazing care package around this time filled with too many chocolate eggs for me to eat in one sitting. It works well for me, since I have neither the time, the motivation, nor the courage to cook a ham in the Raymond kitchen.
But what I miss the most, apart from the food, is the eggs. Not eating them, as I detest the smell and taste of eggs, but the decorating process. My mom would buy the decorating kits for my sister and me, and the house would reek of that sulfur smell of eggs and the strong odor of vinegar. Over the years, we grew more independent and were able to make the dye and hard-boil the eggs with minimal parental supervision. At times, it was competitive—trying to see who could make the prettiest design—but mostly we enjoyed spending an entire day making a really cool form of art. My mom would then hide them in the yard, as we crossed our fingers, hoping that the dogs wouldn’t find them before we did.
Though decorating eggs at Vassar might be easier than cooking a meal, I haven’t felt inclined to do so. It wouldn’t be fun to do without my sister, and I know they would end up sitting in my room taking up the valuable space usually reserved for library books I hope to find the time to read for a paper. Recently, I had settled on making nail art to resemble pastel-colored eggs—it’s still smelly but takes less time.
But this year, I decided it was time to make an Easter dessert. I pored longingly over delicious-looking pastries on the Internet, trying to find something tasty and feasible for my basic baking ability. I thought I had found a winner with a homemade Cadbury egg—another sacred Easter tradition—but upon further reflection, I realized I could easily settle on the store-bought version.
Finally, I found exactly what I had been looking for: an edible design unlikely to start any fires that, unlike the eggs, I would actually eat. Though chocolate covered strawberries are far from traditional, they satisfy my desire for something sweet, simple and pretty. This way, I don’t have to boil any eggs or place different color tablets in cups, but I can still have a nice treat that gives off the impression that I have rudimentary artistic skills.
I made the chocolate the recipe called for, but I’m sure one could use dark or white chocolate if preferred, or possibly dipping chocolate to save time. Bigger strawberries provide more space for designs, of course, so go for those mutant-like strawberries that you know couldn’t possibly be organic.
If you want to get really fancy, you could use a piping bag to give you more control, but plastic bags with the tips cut off is what I use for gingerbread houses, so it works just fine here. Other variations would include hulling the strawberries, then filling them with Amaretto cream—it’s more complicated but very tasty.
1 container strawberries
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon Bailey’s
4 tablespoons powdered sugar (per color)
2 teaspoons water (per color)
Combine chocolate, cream and Bailey’s, microwave one minute. Dip strawberries and place in fridge for one hour, then frost.