Traditional recipes

Pickled Eggs

Pickled Eggs

Pickled eggs! Four ways. Brilliant fuchsia red beet pickled eggs, a Indian version featuring yellow curry, jalapeno pickled eggs, and a tarragon mustard version.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

What are pickled eggs?

Have you ever made pickled eggs? I had never even heard of them until a reader asked for a recipe, and when I mentioned them to my dad, he told me they were bar food.

(“Since when do you go to bars, dad?” “Before I met your mother.” “So 50 years ago you could get pickled eggs in bars, in Minnesota.” “Yes.”)

Bar culture aside, two of my favorite foods are pickles and hard boiled eggs, so why not pickle the eggs?

Beet Pickled Eggs

Apparently a popular way to pickle eggs is in beet juice, so that the egg whites turn a pretty fuchsia pink. A few weeks after I made my first batch I was served beet pickled eggs in a salad at a bar/restaurant in Gettysburg. They were pickled all the way through the yolk, turning the yolk slightly pink as well.

The longer you keep the eggs in the pickling liquid, the deeper it penetrates into the eggs. I’m guessing to pickle them all the way through you have to keep them in the liquid at least a couple of weeks.

How to Make Pickled Eggs

What follows is the result of several weeks of experimentation (and several dozens of eggs!) with different pickling mixtures. We have a beet pickled egg with cardamom and star anise, as well as a curried pickled egg with Indian spices, a jalapeño pickled egg with cumin and oregano, and a tarragon pickled egg with mustard seeds. Take your pick!

I think the best pickled eggs are the beet pickled eggs. They are my favorite because they’re so pretty and I love beets. The spice combinations are prime candidates for experimentation, play around with them and include your favorite spices or herbs for egg salad.

These are refrigerator pickled eggs. I don’t really know how long they’ll last in the refrigerator, but I’m guessing at least several weeks.

Quick Pickled Egg Tip

I did find that the pickling liquid needs to have vinegar diluted with water. Straight vinegar is just too acidic. I like adding sugar because it helps balance the acidity of the vinegar and I like a slightly sweet pickle.

If any of you are old hands at making pickled eggs, please feel free to share your expertise (or favorite recipe) in the comments.

Pickled Eggs Recipe

Ingredients

Beet pickled eggs with cardamom and anise

  • 1 beet, peeled and roughly chopped into 1 to 2-inch sized pieces, cooked*
  • 1 cup beet juice*
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 hard cooked eggs**, peeled

*Simmer the chopped beets in a cup of water, covered, until tender, 30-40 minutes, or used canned beets. Use the beet juice from the cooking water, or the juice from canned beets.

Curried pickled eggs

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 6 hard cooked eggs**, peeled

Jalapeno pickled eggs

  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 6 hard cooked eggs**, peeled

Tarragon pickled eggs

  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • 6 hard cooked eggs**, peeled

**Steam the eggs until hard cooked. To steam the eggs, place in a steamer rack over boiling water, cover and steam for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water.

  • 1 quart-sized canning jar

Method

1 Peel the eggs and place in the bottom of a clean, quart-sized glass jar.

2 In a medium saucepan, add the vinegar, water (or beet juice if using), the onion (and jalapeno if using), sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until the sugar has dissolved and the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

3 Pour the vinegar onion mixture over the eggs in the jar, covering the eggs completely. If you are making the beet pickled eggs, place some or all of the cooked beets in with the eggs in the jar (this will help to bring color to the eggs, and you will have pickled beets as well.) Secure close the jar's cover. Refrigerate up to a month.

The pickled eggs will be ready to eat after a few days. The longer the eggs sit in the pickling juice, the more the pickling juice will penetrate the eggs.

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How To Make Pickled Eggs Tavern / Bar / Pub Style

When I do this, I boil the vinegar, salt and water for just a minute or two
to rehydrate the dried spices. I find the beet juice or just a slice of
raw or blanched fresh beet makes it feel more European. Sometimes I add
more red pepper instead fo the beet juice to keep batches (and flavors)
discreet. 

You use straight vinegar with no water whatsoever? I like a little vinegar
flavor but that sound WAY too intense. Would a 50/50 vinegar/water blend
still get the job done?

Great recipe! I added sugar and Siracha sauce to it for flavor and they
turned out AMAZING!

thanks for making the video. Making some of these today. then 2 weeks here
I come =)

Awesome, Best I ever tried. Great recipe, thanks

stick the toothpick through the egg longways to speed up the process

Love ’em but boy they give you the farts!

A few of those eggs and a few beers and my wife will leave me alone for the
whole day:)))

Can I add beat juice for color? How long before it would go all the way
through?

Here is a tip.Don’t eat pickled eggs from a bar if the jar has a used
looking Band-Aid in it.

Tried it looked good, to much vinegar really really vinegary ..

I would but vinegar is my worst nightmare I hate it I hate it

very nice, But i have a ? if i may ask will quail hatch there eggs in a
pin. if so what do i need to do for them to do that ,


Simple Pickling Ingredients

Like with ALL quick pickles, ingredients are easy to find.

  • hard-boiled eggs
  • white vinegar
  • water
  • salt
  • *(affiliate) pickling spice

Mom would make these for every stag or bachelor party that was hosted by the family. Seems the guys loved eating these, especially when they drank beer.

I guess that is why they are a pub favourite, especially in the UK. They are found in fish and chip shops too.

I thought they were Ukrainian pickled eggs. Who knew they would be SO DELICIOUS!

Of course, my husband happens to be one of those people who loved my mom’s recipe. He would always be so happy when mom made them. In fact, she would make a jar just for him.

Now my grandkids can say grandma’s pickled eggs are the BEST! Just like the kind you can find in the bar.


Brine for Pickled Eggs

The brine for pickled eggs is relatively flexible, and you can adjust the total amount of vinegar, salt, and sugar to suit your tastes.

A quart of 9-10 pickled eggs requires about 2 cups of brine, which is usually a mixture of water and white vinegar. Recipes range from 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water, all the way up to just a straight 2 cups of vinegar (and everywhere in between). For pickled eggs, I’d suggest no less than half vinegar, as that’s required to help them keep in the refrigerator.

When I’m making milder pickled eggs for my kids, I’ll stick with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water. If you really want a more intense pickled egg, increase the vinegar, as I do when I’m making sweet bread and butter pickled eggs or spicy jalapeno pickled eggs.

Salt and sugar, likewise, are pretty flexible. I find that 2 Tablespoons of each salt and sugar is about right for my tastes, most the time. It’s just enough salt to season the eggs (without being too salty) and just enough sugar to help balance the tang of the vinegar, but without being noticeably sweet.

Many recipes use considerably more sugar, especially when making beet pickled eggs or bread and butter pickled eggs. I’ve included recipes for those, and in my bread and butter variation, I use 1/2 cup sugar to a quart, along with an all vinegar brine to help balance it out.

As you can see, the sky’s the limit when it comes to a pickled egg brine, but if you’re looking for a basic starter brine for pickled eggs, try this:

  • 9-10 hard-boiled eggs (for 1-quart wide-mouth jar)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • A few tsp of spices (your choice)


Five Easy Pickled Egg Recipes

The ability to consume fresh egg is truly a treat consider it to be a reward for raising backyard poultry. As stewards to our flock, we work daily to give them the best living conditions, and in return we receive a priceless gift: truly fresh eggs. Now, what we do with that gift is up to us.

Aside from using fresh eggs as an ingredient for cooking or baking, we, as chicken keepers, need to be creative in the kitchen and think outside of the box. How about trying homemade pickled eggs?

Before you crinkle your nose and decide “no thanks,” understand that these recipes are a world away from what you may recognize as the traditional pickled eggs. The flavors are sophisticated, delicious, and partner perfectly with any salad or eaten straight out of the jar.

Selecting the Perfect Egg

Ideally, chicken and quail eggs work best, though duck and turkey eggs can be used, too. Because the eggs are being pickled, look for eggs which are smaller in size, something which takes a bite or two to consume.

One other tip: roughly 10 to 12 small to medium chicken eggs will fit into a quart-size mason jar, whereas 18 to 20 quail eggs can fit into a pint-size mason jar.

Begin by Steaming

Presentation is everything when it comes to pickling eggs, which means boiling fresh eggs in water will just not do. In order to achieve a nicely peeled egg, the best process is to steam them. The steaming process permeates the shell, making the eggs easier to peel, leaving you with a perfectly peeled egg.

Selecting the Vinegar

Preserving foods with flavored vinegars alters and amplifies the flavor of the item being pickled. This is also true when making homemade pickling eggs. Feel free to experiment a little! Enjoy any of the following vinegars when creating a brine:

  • white wine vinegar
  • red wine vinegar
  • champagne vinegar
  • distilled white vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • malt vinegar

Though it is not necessary for pickled eggs, I make it a habit to select vinegars which contain an acidity level of 5% or higher.

Herbs, Spices, and Brines

Are there only five recipes available for pickling eggs? Absolutely not. As with any pickled recipe be creative and use ingredients that you’ll enjoy. However, these easy pickled egg recipes are truly delicious!

For individuals looking to create a unique brine feel free to use any combination of herbs and spices, and flavored vinegar of choice. For a brine with a little kick, use fresh peppers such as jalapeno or habanero. Even dried whole or crushed red peppers work well. Fresh or dried herbs like dill, oregano, and sage also make excellent choices. Using ginger, sweet onions, garlic, and chives will amplify the flavor of any pickling brine being created.

Storing Homemade Pickled Eggs

Unlike canning pickled vegetables, pickled eggs cannot be canned in order to make them shelf-stable. Eggs run the risk of going rancid quickly when not stored properly. The best method for storing pickled eggs is to refrigerate them.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation states that homemade pickled eggs will keep up to three to four months when stored in the refrigerator. Will they stay around that long before being devoured? Probably not.

Five Easy Pickled Eggs Recipes

Below are five easy pickled egg recipes and the steps for making these delicious treats.

The first step to pickling eggs is to steam the eggs. As the eggs are steaming, you’ll want to prepare the brine. Follow the next steps to complete the process:

  1. Add peeled steamed eggs to a clean mason jar leaving a one-inch headspace from the top of the jar.
  2. Cover eggs with hot brine, remove air bubbles. Fill the jar with additional brine if necessary, making sure to cover eggs.
  3. Tightly seal jars with lid and ring, or plastic lid. Immediately store in the refrigerator.
  4. Allow eggs to pickle for up to two weeks prior to consuming.

Sweet Jalapeno and White Wine Vinegar Brine

In a stainless-steel pot or heavy-bottom pot, bring to raging boil for five minutes, then reduce heat simmer for an additional five minutes:

  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds

In a separate bowl mix steamed egg with:

Next, follow the instructions indicated above.

Balsamic and Shallots Brine

In a stainless-steel pot or heavy-bottom pot, bring to raging boil for five minutes, then reduce heat simmer for an additional five minutes:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

Next, follow the instructions indicated above.

Red Beet Eggs Brine

In a stainless-steel pot or heavy-bottom pot, bring to raging boil for five minutes, then reduce heat simmer for an additional five minutes:

  • 1 cup pickled red beet juice (from canned beets)
  • 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Next, follow the instructions indicated above.

The Traditional Old Fashioned Pickled Eggs Brine

In a stainless-steel pot or heavy-bottom pot, bring to raging boil for five minutes, then reduce heat simmer for an additional five minutes:

  • 4 cups malt vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, optional

Next, follow the instructions indicated above.

Fermented Pickled Eggs Brine

In a large glass measuring cup mix:

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup pickling starter, optional (speeds up the fermentation process)

Layer quart size mason jar with:

  • 10 steamed eggs
  • Fresh dill, sprigs
  • Sweet onions, thinly sliced
  1. Pour brine mixture over eggs, leaving a one-inch head space to allow the gases to escape. Remove air bubbles, fill jar with additional brine if necessary, making sure to cover eggs.
  2. Add fermenting lid.
  3. Allow to sit in a cool dark location for three days. Because the eggs have been cooked, very few bubbles will be present during the fermentation process.
  4. Immediately store fermented eggs in the refrigerator.

There they are, my top five brines for pickling eggs. Enjoy the recipes, and feel free to modify them as you see fit!

Ann Accetta-Scott homesteads on 2 acres in Washington State raising poultry, goats, and rabbits. She is an educator and encourager to all who are seeking to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Ann is also the face behind the website, A Farm Girl in the Making, and the author of The Farm Girl’s Guide to Preserving the Harvest.

Originally published in the December 2019/January 2020 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 (15 ounce) can beets
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 hard cooked eggs, shelled and left whole
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar

Drain liquid from the beets into saucepan. Place beets, onions, and eggs into a large bowl or pitcher.

Pour sugar and vinegar into the saucepan with the beet liquid and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer 15 minutes.

Pour the beet juice mixture over the beets, eggs, and onions. Seal the bowl or pitcher and refrigerate. Refrigerate for at least one to 3 days the longer they are allowed to sit the better they will taste.


Pickled Egg FAQs

Do These Old Fashioned Pickled Eggs Require Canning?

No. This recipe for pickled eggs is not canned. How’s that for easy?

For those of you that are familiar with canning, I do have a couple of canning recipes that I’ve placed at the end of the post for you

How Many Calories Are in Pickled Eggs?

Large eggs have about 78 calories in them. A Tablespoon of White Vinegar has around 3 calories. Salt doesn’t have any calories. That means a pickled egg has around 78-79 calories. Remember, you’re not not getting a tablespoon of vinegar in each egg.

Are Pickled Eggs Healthy?

Pickled Eggs are protein filled and a low calorie snack. They are a good option as part of a healthy diet.

How Do These Old Fashioned Pickled Eggs Taste?

These pickled eggs taste like salt and vinegar potato chips, only they’re eggs.

When Are Pickled Eggs Ready to Eat?

Let your eggs pickle for 5-7 days, and up to 2 full weeks, before enjoying them. The salty, vinegar taste gets more potent as the eggs sit in the brine.

Do Pickled Eggs Need to Be Refrigerated?

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, Pickled Eggs need refrigeration to prevent botulism.

What Is the Shelf Life of Pickled Eggs?

Refrigerated pickled eggs will last 3 to 4 months.


Pickled Eggs - Recipes

There are no home canning directions for pickled eggs. All of the following pickled egg recipes are for storage in the refrigerator. Pickled eggs should never be at room temperature except for serving time, when they should be limited to no more than 2 hours in the temperature danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees F.

Caution:Home pickled eggs stored at room temperature have caused botulism. For the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), see http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4934a2.htm The Editorial Note in this report cautions against room temperature pickling and storage, also. The CDC further cautions that to reduce the risk for botulism when pickling, food items should be washed and cooked adequately, and utensils, containers, and other surfaces in contact with food, including cutting boards and hands, should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and warm water. Containers (e.g., jars and lids) in which pickling will occur should be sterilized (e.g., placed in boiling water for a prescribed period).

PICKLING TIPS

Pickled eggs are peeled, hard-cooked eggs in a solution consisting basically of vinegar, salt, spices, and perhaps other seasonings. Pickling solutions are heated to boiling, simmered for 5 minutes, and poured over the peeled eggs. Egg whites tend to be more tender if a boiling solution is used instead of room temperature solutions.

Eggs used for pickling should have clean, sound shells. Small or medium eggs are usually a good choice for pickling so the seasoning can penetrate into the egg. Fresh eggs are the best to use for pickling to ensure the highest quality possible since the eggs will be stored over a relatively long period of time. However, eggs at least a few days old will peel better after boiling.

Cooking and Peeling Eggs

According to the Georgia Egg Commission, the following method of hard-cooking facilitates peeling of ultra fresh eggs. Make a pinhole in the large end of the egg, place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, and cover with cold water to an inch above the layer of eggs. Place a lid on the pan and bring eggs to a boil. Remove the pan of eggs from the burner, leaving the cover in place, and allow to sit for 15-18 minutes, adjusting time up or down 3 minutes for larger or smaller eggs. Immediately remove eggs from the pan of hot water with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water for one minute. In the meantime, bring hot water to simmering. After one minute in ice water remove eggs back to the simmering water for ten seconds. The ten second interval is important because this allows the shell to expand without expanding the rest of the egg. Peel immediately by cracking the shells of the egg all over. Roll each egg gently between hands to loosen the shell. Peel, starting at the large end of the egg. The peeling may take place under cold running water to help wash the shell off the egg and to minimize the shell breaking into the white.

Another cooking method when you are less concerned about peeling of ultra-fresh eggs is to make a pinhole in the large end of the egg, place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, and cover with cold water to an inch above the layer of eggs. Place a lid on the pan and bring eggs to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Place the eggs in cold water and when cool, remove shells. Crack the shell of the egg all over. Peel, starting at the large end of the egg. The peeling may take place under cold running water to help wash the shell off the egg.

Containers for the Eggs

The container used for the eggs should be one that can be closed or sealed tightly glass canning jars work well. The eggs are to be completely covered with the pickling solution during storage. A quart-size canning jar will hold about one dozen medium sized eggs. For sterilizing glass jars, see Sterilization of Empty Jars.

Storing Eggs

After making the eggs, the eggs require some time to season (i.e., pick up the flavors from the pickling brine). Keep them refrigerated at all times. If small eggs are used, 1 to 2 weeks are usually allowed for seasoning to occur. Medium or large eggs may require 2 to 4 weeks to become well seasoned. Use the eggs within 3 to 4 months for best quality.

Each of these recipes uses 12 peeled, hard-cooked eggs. The directions for each recipe are to bring all the ingredients except the eggs to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pack no more than one dozen peeled, hard-cooked eggs loosely into a warm, pre-sterilized quart jar (or other similar size container which can be closed tightly). There needs to be plenty of pickling solution, and enough to completely cover the eggs. Pour the hot pickling solution over the eggs in the jar, cover, and refrigerate immediately.

RED BEET EGGS
1 cup red beet juice (from canned beets)
1½ cups cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
a few canned whole tiny red beets (or several slices of beets can be used)

SWEET AND SOUR EGGS
1½ cups pasteurized apple cider
½ cup cider vinegar
1 package (about 12 oz.) red cinnamon candy
1 tablespoon mixed pickling spice
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt

DARK AND SPICY EGGS
1½ cups cider vinegar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon mixed pickling spice
¼ teaspoon liquid smoke or hickory smoke salt
2 teaspoons salt

CIDERED EGGS
1½ cups pasteurized sweet apple cider or apple juice
½ cup white vinegar
6 thin slices of onion
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon whole pickling spice
1 peeled garlic clove

DILLED EGGS
1½ cups white vinegar
1 cup water
¾ teaspoon dill weed
¼ teaspoon white pepper
3 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon onion juice or minced onion
½ teaspoon minced garlic or 1 peeled garlic clove

PINEAPPLE PICKLED EGGS
1 can (12 oz.) unsweetened pineapple juice*
1½ cups white vinegar
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole pickling spice
*If sweetened pineapple juice is used, omit sugar

Acknowledgements

Recipes adapted and used with permission from:
Peter Piper Picked A Peck of Pickled Eggs, Georgia Egg Commission (undated).

Original Acknowledgements on the Georgia Egg Commission publication: Dr. James C. Acton, Department of Food Science, Clemson University Dr. Walter M. Britton, Department of Poultry Science, University of Georgia The American Egg Board, Park Ridge, Illinois and
Preserving and Pickling Eggs at Home, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wisconsin.


Big Game Comfort Food

This recipe for pickled eggs was given to us about 20 years ago by a long time friend of the family. These eggs take about 4-5 days before they are ready and ideally 2 weeks, but are worth the wait. I wanted to share it with you now as the Superbowl is only a few weeks away and this recipe needs to be made ahead of time.

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting the work I put into this site!

Pickled eggs make a delicious high protein snack or appetizer when served with drinks. They taste especially good with beer and are many times found at taverns and bars. Think of these as comfort food for the big game.

This recipe makes a large batch, 36 eggs, but they keep for at least a month in the brine, so you can enjoy them for some time. Make these eggs at least one to two weeks ahead of when you want to eat them, as it takes that long for them to absorb the pickling brine. You can eat them sooner than that but they will not have very much pickled flavor. They get better with age. The best part? There is no canning required!


How to Make Pickle Eggs

  1. Hard Boil Eggs: Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, remove from the heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes and then transfer to ice cold water for 5 minutes. (Or make in the Instant Pot.)
  2. Peel Eggs: Peel the hard boiled eggs. The easiest eggs to peel, I’ve found, are the ones that are hard boiled in the Instant Pot.
  3. Create Brine Mixture: Bring water and vinegar to a boil in a sauce pan. Stir in salt and sugar.
  4. Combine Everything: Add the eggs to a mason jar and fill with brining liquid (you may not need to use all of it). Then add in the seasonings. You can switch these out with some of the alternatives listed below.

Pickled eggs can be substituted in any recipe that calls for a hard boiled egg.

1. Salad

You can use pickled eggs in place of boiled ones in any egg salad recipe. The tangy pickles make the salad so tasty that you may find yourself wanting to have it as a light dinner or lunch every day.

2. Sandwich

Turn your regular egg sandwich into something more exciting by adding pickled eggs and beets. Pickles give an earthy flavor that pairs well with lettuce and tomatoes. Vegetarian sandwiches can be both eye-catching and delicious!

You can even try them in our recipe for deviled eggs or this recipe for scotch eggs and expect gorgeous results.

That’s enough of me talking, it’s time to get on with making this delicious treat!