A sweet Easter tradition: Lane Street Church of God makes chocolate eggs for the sixth year
By Susan Shinn
KANNAPOLIS ó Chocolate eggs are an Easter tradition.
But we’ll bet you’ve never seen eggs the size of the chocolate eggs made by the ladies at Lane Street Church of God in Kannapolis.
That’s 7 ounces of delicious creamy peanut butter or luscious coconut cream dipped in an ounce of rich, milky chocolate.
“They’re really big,” says Lisa Gregg, who helps with the project.
And really good.
(We discovered this, of course, after extensive research.)
This is the sixth year that church members have made the eggs, according to Judy Easom, who took over leadership from Lou Ann Adams.
This year, the project was bigger than ever, with 1,600 eggs made and delivered this week. All profits are used to support ladies’ ministries at the church.
“We make the most profit from this from anything we do all year,” Easom says.
It’s a lot of work, but the women ó and several men who help ó have the process narrowed down to assembly line-precision.
First the fillings are mixed.
The peanut butter is made first because there are more orders for peanut butter eggs, about 3 to 1 over those with coconut filling.
The morning crew comes in to mix Jif peanut butter, powdered sugar and flavoring, and put the mixture into molds. Then everything is washed thoroughly because so many folks have peanut allergies.
Then the coconut cream is mixed, which includes coconut, powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
When the women first started out, they mixed everything by hand. But now their work is made easier by a brand-new commercial mixer purchased for the new facility the church is building on Fisher Street.
The mixture is put together, molded and put in the freezer til it reaches a certain consistency.
Then it’s time for dipping and placement in individual to-go boxes.
When that’s done a team of three decorators ó Gregg, along with Bonnie Blount and Lora Nicholson ó put the finishing touches on the eggs, either with crosses or initials.
(Gregg, a teacher at China Grove Middle School, even puts her students’ names on them if they like.)
The eggs are then packed and boxed and given to the person who placed the order.
Around two dozen members take orders of anywhere from 20 to 100 eggs.
Although she doesn’t get an award for it, Gregg is typically the high salesperson. She and her sister took orders for 200 eggs.
Last Tuesday, members gathered for more dipping and decorating ó although the humidity was not cooperating. They had to finish up a couple of days later.
Their work is not without a bit of sweet reward.
“On the last day, we take the leftover chocolate and dip strawberries in it for us,” Easom says.
There’s also a lot of taste-testing to be done throughout the process.
Sometimes, says Greg Russell, who dips the eggs with wife Dana, they add a few almonds to the chocolate.
The couple buys eggs for their two grandchildren.
“Momma makes it last a long time,” Dana Russell says.
The women heard about the eggs from another church.
“We thought, let’s try it,” Dana Russell says.
The first year, they were in the kitchen.
“We were on top of each other,” she says. “We learned to love each other.”
Now the project takes up the entire gym.
“It’s a lot of work,” Dana Russell admits, “but one week and you’re done with it.”
She even says, “You get to where to don’t want to smell chocolate. You smell peanut butter and you know what that means.”
Last year, the women raised $4,000 ó most of the ingredients were donated or purchased by members as a donation.
One of the things they did with the money was to send a church member to Peru for two weeks.
“She goes every year,” Easom says.
The ladies of the church have donated to the youth project and sponsored a day in the park. They’ve helped families in need.
There are a lot of repeat customers for the eggs, says the Rev. Wade Easom, the church’s pastor, who’s also the group’s gopher.
Gregg’s students know it’s egg time when they see her pulling a huge red wagon around school.
“Students remember from year to year,” she says.
Gina Hager works at a beauty shop, and customers started asking about it weeks ago.
By now, there are hundreds of satisfied customers who are no doubt looking forward to placing their orders again next year.