Growing up, my family held a massive Easter Egg Hunt every year. Complete with over 200 hand-dyed eggs, neighbors, friends and family members from far and wide and of all ages would come to compete for who could find the most eggs and the illustrious Golden Egg.
Prizes included lottery tickets, chocolate bunnies and cold hard cash.
The annual hunt was serious biz, and I'm delighted to have carried on the tradition at my house, using plastic eggs vs. the real McCoy (because, let's face it, coloring 200+ eggs is a little nutty! Sorry Mom...).
We, too, typically host between 50 and 60 guests, neighbors, friends and family members of all ages from far and wide.
And yes, we hide THE Golden Egg.
Sure, my kids and I still color and decorate real eggs (a couple dozen), using them to make deviled eggs for our Easter brunch gathering.
Since I've been helping to host Easter Brunch and egg hunts for most of my life, I can offer a few tips to help you with your own celebration.
Boiling the eggs:
- If possible, buy eggs 7-10 days ahead (of course, I recommend farm fresh eggs from your neighbor's chicken coop, or better yet, from your own backyard chickens).
- When in doubt, test the eggs: Place them in a sink of water. Fresh eggs will fall on their sides, older ones will stand on end (these are the best eggs to hard boil). If you have any floaters, toss them out; they are past their prime.
- Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a rapid boil. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Let stand in the water for 15 minutes (my grandmother says to leave them be until the water is lukewarm).
- For easy peeling, place the eggs in a bowl of ice water to cool them quickly, which helps to loosen the shells. Or, save the peeling for later and prepare to decorate the eggs.
Who needs to buy the special tablets at the store when a little food coloring and vinegar works just as well? We also like to use crayons to color and decorate the eggs and then dip them into the colors.
Write guests' names on the eggs, add stickers or use glitter glue.
Making deviled eggs:
When I was about 12, in a frantic rush to prepare for our Easter party, my mom shoved a couple dozen cartons of eggs my way and said, "Robin, make the deviled eggs," and then rushed off.
I didn't have a clue what I was doing except that maybe I was supposed to add in some mayo and mustard?
What turned out to be an hour long project and experiment in ingredients turned into a coveted recipe that I fondly refer to as "Robin's Sweet Eggs":
- Halve eggs lengthwise; remove yolks and place them in a separate bowl. Using a sharp kitchen knife, slice the yolks into a fine powder (this takes a while).
- Use a couple of the egg whites that didn't survive the cutting (they ripped in half, didn't peel well, etc.) and slice into the yolks.
- Add in some mayonnaise or Miracle Whip and mustard to the desired consistency (ratio of 2:1 mayo to mustard). Then add in sugar to desired sweetness (yes, that's the secret to the recipe I concocted as a pre-teen).
- Still together and spoon into each egg half. Sprinkle with more sugar.
Coordinating the egg hunt:
As a general rule of thumb, plan to hide around 10-20 eggs per guest. Also, if you have younger children and adults participating in the hunt, take a tip from my Mom- have the adults hide the eggs for the kids first. After the kids find all the eggs, have them hide the eggs for the adults.
Everyone enjoys both the finding and the hiding!