faux bois egg tutorial and a go-anywhere appetizer.

faux bois eggs.

Quite a few of you have asked me how to make those little wooden-looking dyed eggs, so I thought I’d do a short post about them so you have it for next year. It was silly, really; just a matter of experimentation and a little bit of time on my hands, but it worked, and I loved the way they turned out.

As I mentioned in the Easter post, this is the first year I’ve done natural dyes on eggs, and I swear I may never go back; it was so easy, and in my opinion, you get a much better color selection from vegetables and spices and things than you do, say, the neon food dye 4-pack at the store. The tones are more earthy and they suit my taste much better than their artificially colored counterparts. No judgement here: if you like the liquid dye for eggs, have at it, because that’s how we have dyed our eggs for years.

This was a last-minute project, so I didn’t do tons of colors; I plan to do a full rainbow for next year with a color guide. Out of the three I made this year (coffee, spinach, beet), coffee was my favorite, both for its rich, forest-y tone and for its practicality; I don’t know about you, but I have coffee on hand all the time. Additionally, it seemed like the coffee didn’t dye the interior egg as much as the other ones, making it slightly more palatable when you crack into them.

This is a loose recipe, so adjust this as you need to; I’m mostly going to focus on the technique. I made these 4 at a time.

Faux Bois Coffee-Dyed Eggs

  • 4 hard-boiled and cooled eggs (to room temperature or slightly warmer is ideal)
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 3-4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • cereal bowl (or small, shallow bowl which will snugly fit your eggs and allow the liquid to cover)

In the cereal bowl, mix the vinegar and brewed coffee together. Add the hard-boiled eggs to the liquid (if the liquid doesn’t cover the eggs all the way, add a little water to the mix.) Swirl your eggs around for a few minutes in the mixture until you see the eggs begin to take on color.

Once the eggs are the wood tone you want, sit them snugly against each other in away that they each keep the other ones stable. Using a tablespoon, scoop the water out one tablespoon at a time, being careful not to disturb the eggs as you do so. Let the water settle between scoops; this will form the “rings” on your eggs. Continue to scoop at 5-minute increments, or as you see fit. I stopped at about the halfway point on mine, but you can continue doing this as time (and patience) will allow.

tortellini skewers.

Appetizer time! It’s like a bonus track, I suppose, to the Easter feast; a B-side, if you will. I made these for a dinner we went to the night before; it wasn’t anything fancy, just a family gathering, so I threw these together and we went. Very easy to make for parties, as you can allow them to marinate, kabobed, in the vinaigrette if you wish for a few hours before the event, or you can jar it separately, which makes the entire thing extremely portable. I chose the latter, both for the portability aspect and because acid on green veg tends to grey it out a bit, and I wanted to retain the snappy green of the peas.

It really was a great light appetizer to serve ahead of a heavier, meat-and-potato-laden dinner. None of the ingredients are difficult to find, either; snap peas are sometimes fresh, but if you can’t find them, the frozen sort are perfectly acceptable. We have tiny tomatoes year round and they’re always delicious, and the tortellini is that refrigerated sort you can find at virtually any grocery store.

The vinaigrette served alongside these is the one I ended up using the next day to top the peeled pear and winter greens salad, so I’ll link you over there for that recipe.

Adapted (although not really, because I only doubled the tomatoes) from a Southern Living slideshow; you can find it here. I would have messed with these, but I was less in the mood to experiment that day and more in the mood to crank out some food, I think.

ย Tortellini Skewers

  • 1 9-ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas (fresh or frozen will do)
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 68 wooden skewers
  • 1 recipe dill vinaigrette
Make your vinaigrette and refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
Cook tortellini according to package directions and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
If your sugar snap peas are frozen, place them in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, leaving up a small corner to vent. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then rinse under cold water. Drain and pat dry.
To assemble your skewers, place one half of the tomato facing inward on the skewer, follow with a tortellini, a pea pod, and another tomato half, facing inward (so the tomatoes are like bookends.) Repeat, repeat, repeat. Place on a serving platter, tightly cover, and refrigerate until serving.

To serve, drizzle a bit of the vinaigrette over top your skewers, trying to get a little on each one of them. Serve alongside the remaining vinaigrette so guests can add more as they wish.


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  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats April 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    How cool! I’m totally gonna try that technique next year, though it might be with packaged dye rather than natural. We’ll see how I’m feeling.

    Putting tortellini on a kabob is just about the best idea ever. These are so simple but so pretty for when guests come over. Gotta mark that one down.

    I’m sad to say that may days of being first commenter may slowly be coming to a close. I got a new job offer (a verbal one for now but i’m supposed to get the official written one before the end of the day!) and I feel like at a new job I should probably concentrate on getting things done….at least until I’ve been there a while ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, not sure what their internet policy will be. I’m so happy about the new job but sad that I won’t have as much time to devote to my beloved food blogs. I’ll still comment, but it will have to wait til I get home from work, hehe.

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      but amy: it was JUST COFFEE; no juicing required! ๐Ÿ™‚ besides, i don’t know if they make “wood” as a packaged color. maybe?
      It was a good 11th hour app to make, for sure; i wish i would have had more time to mess with it, but i’m filing it away as “experimental” for next time. I already have some ideas…

      NO! but YES! new job, congrats! are you so excited? Is it something you enjoy doing more than what you do now (and i’m not talking about commenting on food blogs, i know you love that). ๐Ÿ™‚ i will patiently wait my turn until the end of the work day to hear from you. It will be worth it.

      • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats April 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm

        Haha, ok ok…it does sound pretty easy ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks, regarding the new job! I’m super excited. It will be similar to what I do now, but at a larger company that will pay much more and hopefully have more flexibility. I’m sure I can eventually get to the point where I’m back to my blog commenting side day-job, but probably not for at least a few months, hehe.

        • Reply shannon April 15, 2013 at 8:17 am

          so easy, you could set this whole thing up on your desk at your new job. ๐Ÿ™‚
          seriously, i’m so excited for you! I know how it is switching jobs; you have that semi-nervous period where you always have to be on your toes, and you’re working with new people and learning new things, and it can take up a ton of time. Your days will fly by. then you’ll get settled, and start really getting into a groove. it’ll be great for you! And i’ll miss your early commenting, but i can deal. Now, Movita….i’m not sure if she can deal. I may need to fill in for you on her blog.

    • Reply movita beaucoup April 14, 2013 at 7:15 am

      I can’t believe Amy is going to focus on work more than on us.

      • Reply shannon April 15, 2013 at 8:18 am

        i know. I’m going to try and make up the difference by being the first commenter on your blog every time you post something. “Substitute Amy”…i may create a new gravatar for it.

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats April 10, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    seriously, tortellini on a skewer IS the best thing ever. you’re a genius!

    now if i just had guests to invite over……..

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      you and me both, natalie. we’re like party food without a party.

  • Reply Jen @JuanitasCocina April 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I can’t tell you much I want to put EVERYTHING on skewers now.

    • Reply shannon April 15, 2013 at 7:52 am

      i know, right? I could eat every meal off skewers. and it’s almost summer, which means…popsicles everywhere. or, as i like to call them, frozen skewers.

  • Reply Sue/the view from great island April 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Everything in this post is so cool! The tortellini skewers are ingenious, and I think you could sell that faux bois thing to Martha!

    • Reply shannon April 15, 2013 at 7:53 am

      ha! sue, i bet if i looked hard enough, i’d find out that Martha Stewart may like, OWN the faux bois thing. like she may actually have it trademarked or something.

  • Reply Katherine {eggton} April 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Wow. They look really *real.* Amazing.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if I could do this to, say, my old wooden coffee table that looks like crap. Stick it into some coffee and vinegar, and swirl until it takes on some better color?

    • Reply movita beaucoup April 14, 2013 at 7:16 am

      You and Shannon should hook up with Bob Vila.

      • Reply shannon April 15, 2013 at 8:19 am

        I would faint if someone hooked me up with Bob Vila. Also, Norm. they’re like my home heros, and i would live in any house those dudes made for me FOREVER and i would never give it up.

    • Reply shannon April 15, 2013 at 7:54 am

      now THAT is genius: i never thought about applying my dumb little egg technique to an entire coffee table! so really all you would need is a kiddie pool, and a bucket, and LOTS of coffee. easy.

  • Reply Emma April 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Ahhhh, I’ll give you a nice quiet golf clap for the faux bois egg tutorial. Clever clever clever! I’ve been trying to guess how you did this.

    Okay so did you see the egg picture I posted on my blog FB page? Just look at that for comparison to your egg colors. Same ingredients pretty much. And I used plenty of vinegar. But jeebus, what a world of difference!

    Indeed, let’s discuss that flight down…. there must be something in the water down there!

    • Reply shannon April 15, 2013 at 8:03 am

      honestly, it was just me, a bowl of coffee with eggs inside, and a dream. anyone can do it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      i did see those; i wonder why the difference? I used my juicer to get the juice out of the spinach and the beets. i have zero idea how much vinegar i used, i guess? because i didn’t measure and just sort of poured it in. I know i added water to the beet juice b/c i didn’t have enough beet juice to cover. my eggs were still warm? i don’t know if that makes a difference, but i know in terms of the eggshells being porous, maybe they were more willing to accept dye since they were not chilled?

      now i feel like i should try it again to duplicate the results…

  • Reply Ashley April 11, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Seriously clever work, on both the faux bois eggs and the skewers! I’d be hoovering them in while standing next to the appetizer table. Though I’d alternate them with toast + goat cheese, if it was present. Can’t ignore the toast + goat cheese gods!

    And I’m also a person who has/wants to make party food without a party. Womp, womp…

    • Reply shannon April 15, 2013 at 8:05 am

      thanks! at first i read this as that you would be “hovering over them” (which i feel like you would) but then i read it correctly as “hoovering,” which i also imagine you doing. ๐Ÿ™‚ nothing may ever beat toast and goat cheese, for sure.

      it’s like we’re a little support group of people who just live in a terminal state of party but without the guests to go with.

  • Reply Brianne April 11, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Those eggs. My mind is blown! I’m thinking about giving that wacky Easter egg bread a try next year (you know, the one with the whole eggs on top), and naturally dyed eggs would be perfect for that. Probably not the coffee ones, though, because I want to put those on my imaginary mantel and treasure them forever. Or for just a little bit because forever eggs would be gross.

    • Reply shannon April 15, 2013 at 8:07 am

      i TOTALLY want to try that Easter egg bread!! I almost did this year but i ran out of time; it’s so pretty! Although i suppose i never get why you would want to cook whole eggs into bread, aside from how it looks.

      the thought of forever eggs was upsetting; i got over it, but yeah…that would be gross. maybe if you did the whole egg-blowing-out-the-insides thing (i think that’s the technical name for it) and then dyed them. i mean, it seems like an insane waste of time, but at least you would have non-gross, faux bois, imaginary mantle forever eggs. ๐Ÿ™‚

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