Candymaking is an exact science as well as an art. For best results, follow the recipe faithfully and do your best to find the ingredients by brand name. Makes 6 to 8 dozen eggs, depending on how you size them.
- 1/2 pound Parkay margarine (two sticks), softened
- one 14 ounce can Eagle Brand condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 7 ounces (half a large bag) of Baker's sweetened shredded coconut OR, if you can find it, two 3 1/2 ounce cans coconut (canned is more moist than the bagged)
- 3 1/2 pounds (one and a half large bags) confectioners' sugar
- food coloring
Before beginning, choose a couple of cookie sheets or large pans that can later fit into your refrigerator unstacked. Line them with waxed paper and leave them ready and waiting by your work station. Then, thoroughly wash your hands.
You may use an electric beater for the steps in this paragraph only. Beat margarine until fluffy in a huge bowl (a roaster or pasta pot works well). Slowly blend in condensed milk and vanilla. Beat in coconut. If using an electric beater, stop it now, lick the blades clean and put it away. Get out a sturdy spatula or killer wooden spoon.
Have some confectioners' sugar on hand in case your fingers get too sticky to handle the filling. Beat, pummel, squish and otherwise incorporate the confectioners' sugar into the coconut mixture, a cupful at a time. Like bread dough, when you just think you can't knead it anymore, it will begin to take on the lovely texture of soft Playdough. If you'd like to color the fondant filling, follow the directions in the next paragraph. Otherwise, maul this candy filling until it can form a ball as smooth as a baby's bum. It will no longer be sticky. The confectioners' sugar will be fully incorporated.
To add color, divide the fondant into hunks, one hunk per color. If you make one hunk yellow, you'll be able to fashion little round "yolks" around which you'll wrap a contrasting color (little children love to make the yolks!). Take a hunk, flatten it a bit with your fist, then add a few drops of food coloring. Wrap the fondant up around the drops so they don't leak all over your work area and then knead, knead, knead. The color will appear streaked until, suddenly, it becomes uniformly colored. The advantage to coloring the fondant is that it will give you extra incentive to work it to the perfect consistency.
You may wish to sprinkle some of extra confectioners' sugar on the waxed paper lined baking sheets. Now, if your fondant truly feels like fresh Playdough, start tearing off small pieces of it and, rolling it between your palms, form eggs. Since the fondant is very rich, don't roll them much larger than a walnut in its shell. However, the size of the egg is not critical and certainly not worth worrying about especially if the kids are helping. Consider slicing some of the eggs in half to serve - this is a particularly pretty option if you choose to place a yellow "yolk" in the center. Place the formed eggs on the lined baking sheets.
Refrigerate eggs for at least one hour before coating with chocolate or overnight.