Food & Drink

Dyeing eggs for Easter? Skip the shaving cream, go for the Kool-Aid

Easter eggs, ala Kool-Aid
Easter eggs, ala Kool-Aid TNS

The Easter eggs didn’t turn out at all like they were supposed to. Blog after blog, video after video illustrate the profoundly simple process of coloring hard-boiled eggs using foam shaving cream and gel food dye.

They all go pretty much like this: Spray shaving cream in a pan; sprinkle food coloring over the shaving cream; swirl food coloring around a bit to create marbled patterns on the cream; roll hard-boiled eggs in the shaving cream and then set them aside for 10 minutes; wash off the eggs and voila! Eye-popping marble patterns in all colors of the rainbow magically emerge on the eggshells.

Many of the videos showed children successfully dyeing the eggs. And yet … I tried it three times on a dozen eggs and only one came out brightly marbled. The others came out mostly white with a smattering of pale speckles.

I tried everything I could think of to fix it.

I barely mixed the dye into the shaving cream, leaving concentrated pools and rivulets of color for the eggshells to soak up.

I rubbed the colorful shaving cream into the shells.

I left the shaving cream on the eggs for close to an hour.

Nothing worked.

Thankfully, I had a backup plan: Kool-Aid and brown eggs. This combination is amazing.

I poured six packages of unsweetened Kool-Aid in various colors and flavors into six drinking glasses of water and submerged the hard-boiled brown eggs in them for about 20 minutes each. I lowered them in with a spoon and lifted them out with a spoon, then very carefully dabbed them dry. The Kool-Aid rubbed off a bit on some of the eggs, leaving a nice mottled finish.

They came out in dark, rich colors that seem more fall than spring, but were stunningly pretty nonetheless. There was tomato red, pumpkin orange, mustard yellow, mottled forest green, light cocoa and even a purplish gray. I also re-dyed some of the failed shaving cream eggs in the Kool-Aid, and their white shells turned bright blue, kelly green and ruby red.

By the way, did you know that Orthodox Christians often dye their Easter eggs red to symbolize the blood that Jesus Christ shed when he died on the cross? Their priests bless the eggs, then pass them out to congregants after Easter Mass, and the congregants crack the shells to symbolize Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Kraft’s website offers instructions on making tie-dyed eggs by emptying two packets of Kool-Aid drink mix per 8-ounce glass for more concentrated color, then spooning the solution over portions of the eggs to make color-blocked patterns.

As a finish, I rubbed olive oil onto the shells to help protect the dye. The eggs looked like shiny semi-precious gems.

They’d look beautiful nestled in a bowl or basket of dried moss, scattered down the middle of a table as part of a centerpiece or perched on a napkin ring at your guests’ place settings for Easter brunch.