Chocolate Tarantula and Octopus
Gosh! Easter’s on its way! April Valley must really be hopping right now. Well you know, in Spring the Easter Bunny never sleeps. There are tulips that need tending and baskets that need mending and a million other things. But don’t worry guys. Peter Cottontail’s the right bunny for the job and he’s got everything covered. He won’t let us down. Sure he made one little mistake and ruined Easter, but that’s all in the past. You know the story, right? Seymour S. Sassafras first told/showed it to me a long time ago and it’s been one of my favorites ever since.
Colonel Wellington B. Bunny decides to retire from the position of Chief Easter Bunny and chooses Peter as his successor. However, the kid hating, January “Boom Boom” Irontail (Hee hee. I couldn’t help myself.) wants to be the ruler of April Valley and won’t allow Peter to have the the job. According to the constitution of April Valley, the Chief Easter Bunny shall be the one who delivers the most eggs, so Irontail swoops in and proposes a contest. Peter readily accepts, certain that he’ll win. But instead of getting lots of sleep, the irresponsible bunny decides to stay out late partying the night before Easter. Thanks to that and Irontail sealing the lips of Peter’s alarm clock rooster, Peter sleeps through Easter and loses to Irontail. To make up for his blunder, Peter sets out in Mr. Sassafras’ Yestermorrowbile, piloted by Antoine the caterpillar, to revisit Easter. Unfortunately, Irontail spies Peter and has his spider foul up the wires of the Yestermorrowbile. They pass right over Easter, but there are still plenty more holidays in a year. If Peter wants to give away his eggs, he has to try one (or all) of those.
Now you’d think that since Here Comes Peter Cottontail is all about Easter eggs, I’d just paint some eggs. Well it’s not happening. Maybe someday in the future, but not today. I’ve always enjoyed the egg hunt, but my favorite part of Easter is the chocolate. Works of delicious art like those created by Milkchocolateangelo and Leonardo di Bittersweet. And even though Irontail’s idea of Easter is a lot less…umm cheerful, he still wants the candy sculptors to keep busy. But instead of bunnies and chicks, Irontail wants chocolate tarantulas and octopuses. Ha! I just can’t pass those up! The candy carvers of April Valley start off with big blocks of chocolate to make their art, but I don’t have those. Plus carving isn’t very forgiving because you can’t add back what you’ve taken away. So I’m going to sculpt these guys out of modeling chocolate instead. A wise caterpillar once said, “When you can’t get it all together, improvise.”
Recipe makes one chocolate tarantula and one chocolate octopus.
2 pounds chocolate, finely chopped-Milk, Dark, Whatever (I’m a Semisweet fan myself.)
2/3-1 cup light corn syrup (Milk takes closer to 2/3 cup while Dark takes 1 cup)
I prefer to make the modeling chocolate in two smaller batches, but you can make it all at one time. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl over a pot of simmering water. At the same time, microwave the corn syrup for a few seconds until it’s warm. Allow the chocolate to cool to 90-91 degrees F., stirring often. Pour the corn syrup into the chocolate and fold it in with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated. Be careful not to overmix! Pour the chocolate out onto a cool countertop. I like to chill a baking sheet in the refrigerator and work my chocolate on that. Cover with plastic wrap and let the chocolate rest until it firms up to a workable consistency. Depending on how hot it is, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Unwrap the chocolate and knead until smooth.
Now comes the fun part. Half of the modeling chocolate will be used for the tarantula and the other half for the octopus. For the tarantula, you’ll need to mold a large oblong shape and a large round shape for the body. You’ll also need to roll out 6 legs. Now I’m no artist, so please sculpt as you see fit. I placed the oblong piece on a support. (They were small boxes of jellybeans.) I attached the round piece to the back and placed more support behind it to keep it in place. Then I attached the legs. For added stability, use toothpicks or dry spaghetti noodles to attach the pieces. Let the tarantula sit until firm. For the octopus, you’ll need one oblong/rounded piece for the body and 6 arms. I flipped a short glass upside down and placed the large piece on top. I then attached the arms. Let the octopus sit until firm. Now you can eat them!
Halloween is more of Irontail’s kind of holiday, so my chocolate tarantula and octopus don’t seem too Eastery. I still like them, but I don’t think they’ll catch on. Can you imagine an Easter basket with one of these guys sitting in it? Peter Cottontail’s got jellybeans for Tommy, colored eggs for sister Sue, and a big chocolate tarantula!!! Nope. Not going to work. Oh well. Have a hippity hoppity, Happy Easter Day!
Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!