I love Easter treats. Easter candy is my favorite holiday candy! It’s pretty and pastel and chocolatey too. Jelly beans, sweet tarts, chocolate bunnies, peeps, chicks and bunnies, Cadbury cream eggs, robin eggs (Whoppers but candy coated and speckled), chocolate dipped coconut and peanut butter eggs, just to name a few. The list goes on and on. Cadbury mini eggs are at the top of my list. (In case you don’t know these: they are really yummy chocolate “eggs” coated with a candy shell. The shell is matte, which for some reason is a lovely feature. )
I have been thinking about coconut nests and wishing that I could make some coconut macaroons in nest-shape, holding these Cadbury eggs for Easter. I tried a few recipes and, after 3 batches and lots of coconut-eating, I think I got what I was hoping for and am ready to share the recipe with you.
The nest: I tried a couple of different nest recipes, because the first ones I made felt a little goopy and they oozed some condensed milk when cooking – which made them stick to the parchment, ugggh.
|see the ooze?
So, I tried more coconut, which worked somewhat but then I found a recipe that was similar but called for an egg white. I liked it better and the egg white seemed to bind it together. It’s such a simple recipe and so lovely.
The chocolate: I tried a variety of methods of adding chocolate and here’s what I discovered:
IDEA 1: I tried some with the bottom dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate
RESULT: they were delicious but the mini chocolate eggs fell out at times and the chocolate melted in your hands (as the chocolate was a little tacky to the touch)
IDEA 2: I tried some with a tiny smear of melted chocolate in the nest to secure the eggs
RESULT: without the bottom dipped, they didn’t feel chocolately enough. However, they solved the problem with the eggs falling out.
IDEA 3: I tried some with a big blob of melted chocolate in the nest to secure the eggs
RESULT: they didn’t mess up your hands, the eggs stayed in, but the one complaint I got from my testers was that candy eggs were “stuck” in the chocolate and you couldn’t lift them out to eat (they had to be eaten with the nest).
IDEA 4: So, I thought maybe ganache instead of melted chocolate would solve that issue, as it doesn’t harden. I added some cream to the chocolate and made a small batch of ganache and filled the nest with that before placing the eggs
RESULT: the eggs were removable, the chocolate was yummy and no chocolate got on your hands. I think it’s the winner.
(If you want to go without chocolate, I tried some plain and filled with jelly beans. These are cute and fun for non-chocolate people, but the jelly beans easily fall out in transportation. So be prepared.
Also, I saw a recipe with Nutella filling the nest. I know Nutella is all the rage, but I really prefer to stick to the semi-sweet chocolate. But if it’s your crave, then I think it would work well).
So…here it is.
It is really so simple and yet so lovely and festive!
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
4 cups sweetened coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
egg shaped candy
Preheat oven to 325 ˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until combined. Add in the coconut and mix well.
Scoop batter in 2 Tbsp portions on prepared pan. Form the cookies into the shape of the bird nest. Make sure your well is deep and the edges are high. Press down the center with your thumb.
Bake cookies for 12 minutes or until they become slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and press the center of the nests again. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes until set. Remove with spatula.
Meanwhile, make the ganache by mixing the chocolate chips and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Stir together and cook in microwave at 30 second increments, stirring in between until fully melted and well mixed. (If it seems too thick, add a tad more cream, if too thin, then add more chocolate chips).
Place a spoonful of the ganache in the nests and place a few candy eggs on top.
Let set. (If you want to speed this along, you may refrigerate them).
These can be made and stored in an airtight container for 3 days or so.
Makes about 12 nests.
|simply stir together the few ingredients
|and make piles with DEEP nests
|hands are necessary
You want them to be well built nests, so that they are deep enough, have high enough walls, and yet messy enough that they look like nests. [Think of the way people are styling their hair with “messy buns”. It’s that natural, organic, and intentionally free form.] Like-a-bird-built-it style / not a mass-produced-with-a-cookie-cutter style.
|bake til dry and toasty.
|I put a couple in little bags to take to Lucy’s teachers today for a Spring Break “happy”.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE COCONUT AND ARE DISINTERESTED in Coconut Nests…what about this??
I know some people abhor Peeps. I like them. I admit it. I especially like when the package has been opened and they get a little stale.
Yes, I know they are just fluffed up sugar, dipped in sugar. But they are PEEPs! And they are an Easter tradition.
At Target today, Asher and I saw this crazy gimmick: a lollypop-o-peeps! 4 peeps stacked together on a stick. A little insane.
Last year my kids and I dipped some peeps in chocolate. Even better than peeps, we decided, were chocolate-dipped peeps!
We just melted some chocolate chips and dipped the peeps in and let them dry until hardened.
|some family members got a little out of hand with the dipping
IF YOU ARE NOT INTO COCONUT AND REPULSED AT PEEPS…how about Growing Spring Grass for a centerpiece??
We also did a really fun and SUPRISINGLY successful planting of a patch of Spring grass last week. My mom told me about doing this and asked if we wanted to try. She gave us some wheat grass seed that she bought at a health food store. We soaked them in a bowl of water overnight and then the next day we planted it. We filled a tray with potting soil.
We generously spread seed over the entire surface, in a concentrated manner.
We covered it with a thin layer of soil and watered it.
and in 7 days, look what we got!
In one week we got a crop of very fun, very green grass! We are going to put some eggs in it once we dye eggs this week for a springy decoration. (We might have to mow it with some clippers soon).
I am starting to plan my Easter Lunch for our hodge podge of people, as is our tradition.
If you have ideas of what you are cooking for an Easter feast
, share your ideas! I’d love to hear!