Making your own panoramic sugar Easter eggs is not hard, just a little time-consuming. But making them with friends or family will create memories that will last even longer than the beautiful eggs themselves.
First decide on the size you want your eggs to be. Purchase plastic Easter eggs that open lengthwise in the size you desire. They are a little harder to find than the typical plastic eggs.
Gather your ingredients:
- Granulated sugar
- Meringue powder (find this with the cake decorating supplies at craft or discount stores)
- Confectioner's sugar
- Cream of tartar (in the spice section of your grocer)
- Coconut (optional – use for grass in your panoramic scene)
- Food color (paste colors are recommended – find them with the cake decorating supplies)
Make sure you have these supplies on hand:
- Waxed paper
- Spoons, mixing and teaspoons
- Icing decorating bags
- Icing decorating tips
- Mixer with wire whip
After determining how many eggs you would like to have at the end of your project, plan to make at least double that number. Sugar eggs are delicate and not all of them will make it to the end of your project.
Make the Shells
Mix granulated sugar with a tiny amount of water – just enough so that the sugar will hold together when squeezed into a ball.
Fill one of the halves of a plastic Easter egg with the damp sugar mixture. Turn it out onto waxed paper. If the sugar holds together, proceed. If not, try it again. If you can't get the sugar to hold after several attempts, add a tiny bit of water.
Once you successfully turn the sugar out onto the waxed paper, carefully cut off approximately 1 1/2 inches of the narrow end. You may need to cut more off if you are using very large eggs or less if you are using small eggs. This will form the opening that you will be able to look through.
Cut a semi-circle of waxed paper that is approximately 1/2″ smaller in diameter than the opening. Place this against the sugar and prop something against it to keep the waxed paper in place. A stack of pennies should work well except with very large eggs.
You will need to wait several hours for the outside crust of the eggs to harden. If you attempt to pick them up too soon, your eggs will crumble (but you made extras, so this is not a problem). If you wait too long, your egg will be too solid and you will not be able to scoop out the soft sugar inside.
The amount of time it will take varies depending on how much water the sugar initially held, and the temperature, airflow, and humidity in the room. But think in terms of hours and not minutes.
Once you are able to hold the eggs without breaking them, scoop out the soft sugar with a teaspoon, leaving a crust approximately 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick, perhaps a little thicker for very large eggs.
Let the eggs dry for several more hours. They should be quite hard before you go on to the next step.
Make Your Scene
While waiting for the shells to dry is a great time to make the figures for your scene. You may have decided to make crosses, chicks, or bunnies out of icing. Or perhaps you've collected plastic figures that you want to dip in icing for a handmade look. You can decorate small cookies such as teddy bears. Remember that the cookies will not last as long as pure icing decorations.
To make all-icing decorations, use the following meringue royal icing recipe. This type of icing dries hard and lasts for a very long time. You will also use this type of icing later to assemble the eggs, so make sure that you reserve some for later or plan to make more.
Meringue Royal Icing
- 3 level tablespoons meringue powder
- 1 lb. confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 3-1/2 ounces warm water (1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Mix all of the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on medium high speed for 7 to 10 minutes. Any grease or oil in the bowl or on any utensils will keep this icing recipe from working, so be fastidious. Beat until the icing is firm enough to hold its shape. As soon as it is finished, cover the bowl with a damp towel. Keep it covered at all times as it dries and makes a crust easily.
Assemble Your Eggs
Choose one bottom half of an egg and assemble your scene in it. Use Royal icing in the bottom as “grass.” Just use food coloring to make it green. You may also want to dye some coconut to add an even grassier touch.
Insert your crosses, bunnies, or other decorations. Be sure to orient them toward the opening.
Use white royal icing to “glue” a top in place. Allow the egg to dry before continuing.
Once the egg is dry, use icing with a decorator tip to pipe decorations over the seam and around the opening. You may also want to add a flower or other design to the top.
Allow the eggs to dry overnight before handling them again.
If your egg rolls to one side, use a file to flatten the bottom just a bit. Or pipe a ring of icing on the bottom to help stabilize the egg.