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Cascarones: "Eggstra" Good Fun

by Lori Grossman

Ever heard of a cascaron? Maybe it's that new trick all the snowboarders are doing. Or is it the name of that luscious coffee drink your best friend was raving about? As far as I know, the answer is neither of the above.

Cascarones are whole eggshells that have been emptied of their contents, washed (carefully!), dried and filled with confetti. After the small hole in the shell is sealed over with brightly colored tissue paper, the cascarones usually receive a spray-coating of paint and sometimes, a dusting of glitter.

These little packages of fun are a part of Latino tradition and most often show up at Easter and Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Cinco de Mayo Spanish for May 5 commemorates Mexicos victory over French troops on May 5, 1862.

My first encounter with a cascaron occurred during San Antonio's annual Fiesta celebration. The much-anticipated ten days of citywide partying are scheduled around April 21 the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, when Texas won independence from Mexico.

Arguably the most popular Fiesta event is "A Night in Old San Antonio" (a.k.a. NIOSA). This La Villita block party consists of five nights of huge crowds, colored lights, decorated booths, music, great food, good spirits and the aforementioned cascarones. You begin the evening cracking an eggshell or two over a friend's head and by the end of the evening, sneak attacks are launched by total strangers. All in fun, of course!

If you're unable to attend any of these events and would like to make your own cascarones, you are in luck. The process is quite simple; the challenge comes when you have to figure out what to do with all those leftover eggs. Here are two recipes to get you started. But first here's how to make your very own cascarones.


  • Clean, empty egg shells
  • Confetti
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Spray paints
  • Glitter (if desired)
  • Old newspapers
  • Empty egg cartons (to store cascarones)
Carefully crack the eggs (preferably at narrow end) so at least 3/4 of the eggshell remains intact. Wash the shell completely. Be sure to remove all the inner membrane. Let dry. Fill the eggshell half full of confetti. Cut circles of tissue paper big enough to cover the open end. Apply small amount of glue around the rim and gently cover opening of egg with the tissue paper circle. It should leave the egg with a small, flat top. Allow glue to dry.

Spread out old newspapers (patios are a great place to do this just don't pick a windy day!). Group filled eggshells on newspaper and spray them with paint. If using glitter, shake some on before paint dries (an old salt-shaker works well with fine glitter).

When cascarones are dry, store them in empty egg cartons.

Remember, the fun of cascarones involves the element of surprise. And be sure to use them outdoors!

Smashing Scrambled Eggs

You begin the evening cracking an eggshell or two over a friend's head
  • 18 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, and salt with a wire whisk until blended.

In a deep, nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat butter or margarine over medium-high heat until melted. Add the egg mixture and, as egg mixture begins to set around the edges, stir lightly with a heat-safe spatula or a wooden spoon to allow uncooked egg mixture to flow toward sides of the pan. Continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes until eggs are set to desired doneness. Serve with Fiesta Pepper Salsa. Makes 8 main-dish servings.

Fiesta Pepper Salsa

This is a nice variation on the usual salsa. In the words of a certain TV chef, this will definitely kick your eggs up a couple of notches!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed with garlic press
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 can (14.5- to 16-ounce) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and pepper slices and cook 20 minutes or until vegetables are golden, stirring often. Add garlic, salt, and ground red pepper, and cook 1 minute longer, stirring to combine.

Add tomatoes with their juice and 1/2 cup water; and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini slices and cook until tender, 10 minutes longer, stirring gently. Keep warm or refrigerate until ready to use. Serve at room temperature or reheat. Stir in cilantro/parsley when ready to serve. Makes about 4 cups.

Chocolate Roll Cake

I can't imagine Easter without chocolate. When I was little, I wouldn't even change out of my new outfit before tearing into my chocolate bunny soon to be minus his ears! During my college years, this was the dessert of choice when I wanted to impress a date, family and/or friends.

For the Cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners sugar
Line a 15x10x1-inch jellyroll pan with well-greased wax paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang at each end. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating about 10 minutes, or until very thick and lemon-colored.

Sift together the cornstarch, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Sift again into egg mixture and fold, blending well. Spread batter in prepared pan and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Loosen edges with spatula, lift cake from pan by paper ends, and invert on clean kitchen towel liberally sprinkled with confectioners sugar. Carefully peel off wax paper. With a very sharp knife, trim any crisp edges from cake (this makes rolling easier). Cool for 5 minutes, then roll up from narrow end with towel in between. Cool on rack about 1 hour.

For the Cream Filling:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped with 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
Whip the cream with the sugar, and gently fold in the chopped nuts. Unroll cake and spread with cream mixture to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up from narrow end, lifting towel higher with one hand as you guide roll with other hand. Place on serving dish seam side down.

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Melt chocolate over hot water; remove from heat. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar alternately with milk until smooth.

Frost the cake roll, making decorative grooves lengthwise with a small spatula. Chill at least 30 minutes. Makes about 8 to 10 servings.

Now for all of you party animals the instructions for making cascarones.

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