Hot Wax and a Steady Hand

Last weekend my friends Gwyn and Paul held their annual egg dyeing party.  Makes you think of Paas and vinegar doesn’t it?  Well, this ain’t your white-crayon-and-octagonal-wire-egg-scooper kinda egg dyeing.  We made Pysanka – Ukranian Easter eggs.  There was a keg of Brewer’s Art Resurrection.  There was a fire pit and a table of homemade kitchen treats: cheesey squash, a whole roasted turkey, shrimp chili, sandwich fixins, cheese-filled sausage, brownies, cookies, and my own contribution (which lasted 4.8 minutes… recipe and photos below) to name a few.  Inside were two long tables chock full of eggs and people, young and old alike. 

If you thought egg dyeing wasn’t a hip party theme, you are mistaken.  About 150 people attended this 2pm – 2 am shindig and over 40 dozen, yes I wrote 40 dozen, eggs were  decorated and dyed.  All of this in a Baltimore rowhome – for those of you not in know, almost all of these homes are a mere 12 – 13 feet wide.  Gwyn and Paul’s has an awesome layout, stretching back quite a ways with a fabulous living room that you can over look from the dining room above.  When you step outside, you walk into an adorable court yard shared with other folks at the end of their street.  Thankfully, the neighbors didn’t seem to mind the insane amount of people, noise, fire, and food.

We enoyed some food, made some new friends, and drank some Resurrection ale, which by the way, is quite delicious and sneaky.  You’re just sitting there, enjoying your third red Solo cup full when you realize “hey, I might be drunk.”  Just ask Tommy 😉 We arrived around 8pm and watched the process for a good hour and a half.  There weren’t any seats available at the egg dyeing tables anyway. 

Organized chaos, I tell ya!  There were multiple bowls piled high with raw eggs and tealight candles, giant water bowls in case of fire, piles of paper towels that look like a rainbow swallowed too much ipecac, and many jars of Ukranian egg dye.  I think they said they made 70 jars of dye in every color you can imagine, even black.

     

You use these things called kitska – little brass funnels that you use to scoop up hot wax.  Then, you heat up the tip to ensure the wax is melted and can flow easily.  It’s like a wax version of a ball point pen.  With a steady hand you write/draw/scribble on the raw egg of your choice.

       

Note: Click on any photo to enlarge it  in this (and every) post.

Next you dip it in some dye.  It’s best to start with a light color because you’ll be putting it in other colors as your design progresses.   

  

For this egg, I started out with yellow.  Wherever you’ve drawn with the wax will stay the color you placed it on.  When you start out, you can dye your egg first or draw on the natural white (or brown) surface.  Here, I started on a white egg, so that part will stay white when I stick it in the dye.  You continue adding designs and dyeing until you have no more room completed your masterpiece.  Some of our little beauties in progress:

       

Next step: poke a hole in the egg, break up the yolk, and blow it out.  Sounds easy, right?  Yeah, we let our friend Rachel (a 4-time egg dyeing party veteran) and the hostess with the mostess Gwyn help us out with that part.  Afterall, the rules of egg dyeing were hung all over the place, including the bathroom (captive audience, no?), and the first one listed: Do not get too attached to your egg.  They could break at any time in the process. (A lady next to me squeezed hers too tightly while adding her design!)  The most harrowing time in beautiful egg land was the hole poking and blowing. 

Here’s Rachel making quick work of the insides:

  

Last, but not least, and still dangerous for the masterpieces, you put the egg in the microwave for 5 seconds to melt the wax.  Take it out, wipe off the wax, buff it a bit… and… voilà! you have a finished pysanky.  This is better known as a “fancy pants egg” in my world.  Here are our finished eggs, de-waxed and lovely:

  

Some started out as brown eggs (bottom left, next one up going clockwise, and the one right above the black & white one) and some started out as white eggs.  Some were original kitchentreats (peacock one is my favorite) and its12oclocksomewhere (he likes his blue & yellow reverse fireworks one shown in the top right corner) designs… and some were eggs that others had briefly started and abandoned (crazy looking red, blue, and purple neuronal spaz in the middle and the white swirled one above it).  We gave them some more hot wax lovin’ and adopted them as our own.  

The party was a total blast and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

• • •

I made some toasty and chewy fruit-filled oatmeal bars for the party.  Very quick and very easy.

Fruity Oatmeal Bars

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 cups unbleached AP flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened (12 tbl)

1 egg

1 1/2 cup jam (I used strawberry, blueberry, and fig*)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13” pan with foil and grease the foil.

Combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Rub in the butter and egg using your hands or a pastry cutter to form a crumbly mixture. 

    

Press 4 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam. 

 

I added some dark chocolate chips on top for some extra yumminess.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

 

A peek inside .

A pile of treats ready for the party!

 

* I made one half of these bars mixed berry (strawberry jam + blueberry preserves) and half vanilla-fig (fig jam + vanilla bean paste).  My strawberry jam was chunky with seeds so I put it in my mini food processor with the blueberry preserves and made a homogenous spreadable mixture and put that on half of the pressed oat mixture.  The fig jam is also chunky so that went through the same process (didn’t even clean the processor bowl in between) with some vanilla bean paste (~1/2 tsp) added and was spread on the other half of the pressed oat mixture.  In the middle, the two fruit mixtures swirled happily.  To do this simply, use one kind of jam – whatever is in your fridge/pantry – puree if necesssary and spread it on.  You can also heat your jam up for about 30 seconds in the microwave to get it more spreadable if you don’t want/need to puree it.

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