Two days left before Easter Sunday! And we all know what that means… Even though Sunday is the actual day when chocolate is mandatory on the table, and in your mouth, preparation is inevitable. Which means, that the few days preceding your chocolate feast, you’ve got chocolate all over your fingers, thus in your mouth already. Oups. It is also an excuse for me to try new things and be a little creative in the kitchen. I had seen a picture of little nests for chocolate eggs on pinterest, and decided to come up with a recipe to recreate it at home. I actually came up with two!
-White chocolate and slivered almond nests (see below).
-Caramel and coconut nests.
Pick your favourite. Make it.
White chocolate and slivered almond nests (makes 5 nests)
Firstly, you want to sliver your almonds (lucky you if you can find them already slivered, lucky you if you have the money to buy them slivered). Slivering them is… a liiiittle bit time consuming, but hey! You’re already at home preparing all sorts of things for Easter Sunday, why not spare an extra 30 minutes in the kitchen? I know that’s where I live… (sadly for my thighs).
You want to be really careful, almonds are small and delicate and it will be much harder to make very thin sticks by pressing with a chef knife. I recommend slicing them with a serrated knife, it does a great job ;)
I cut them this way: lay them flat on your board, and gently slice them, with a back and forth motion, in 3 to 4 slices. Then lay the slices flat, and half them, and if you want even thiner sticks, you can cut the slices in thirds.
Once that’s done, spread them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and leave them to toast in a preheated oven at 150C for about 6 to 7 minutes. They’ll be super fragrant and will go a bit brown. Be careful because they burn really quickly once they get to the toasted state, so keep an eye on the oven.
While the almonds are in the oven, melt your white chocolate and butter, in a microwave or in a double boiler. Stick your finger in that glossy mixture to make sure it tastes good. Seriously, it’s an important step of the recipe.
Once the mixture is a little cool, GENTLY coat your slivered almonds with it. Remember, they’re thin stick = super delicate!
Then, pop your bowl in the fridge for about 10 minutes. You want to leave it long enough for the chocolate to solidify a bit so your nests don’t spread out when you shape them, but you don’t want to leave it for too long because you actually want to be able to shape little nests. I think 10 minutes is a good time.
Shape your nests on some parchment paper. (You know what a nest looks like). And put it back in the fridge to finish. You can of course shape them differently depending on the size of the chocolate eggs you want to lay. I made 5 with this recipe.
When they’re completely solid, you can take them out, display them on a pretty plate and lay your eggs ;)
Look at that!! :D I think it’s the most adorable way to present chocolate eggs in your house or on your table. Try it!
Coconut and caramel nests (makes about 6 nests)
This is sort of like a homemade Girl Scout Samoa cookie (if you’ve ever had the chance to try them… They’re the best).
-30g butter, room temperature
-1/8 cup sugar
-1/2 cup flour
-1 tiny pinch salt
-1/4 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp milk
-3/4 cup shredded coconut
-1.5 tbsp heavy cream
-a few squares of dark (baking) chocolate
You’re going to start off by making the shortbread biscuit. This is the base for the coconut nest, otherwise it would stick to any plate you would use to display because of the caramel.
Cream the butter with the sugar in a small ball. Add the flour gradually, mixing between each addition. Add the milk, salt and vanilla. You shouldn’t have a batter anymore but a door. Wrap it in some film plastic, preferably in the shape of disk to make the rolling easier later. Refrigerate for 45 min to 1 hour. Roll it, and cut it with a 1 inch round cookie cutter. By now your over should be preheated at 180C. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes until the sides turn a bit golden. Let them cool while you make the rest.
Sugar in a saucepan, on a medium stove. Don’t touch the sugar! Let it become a caramel until it becomes an amber colour. Then add your cream (better when the cream is at room temperature) and keep stirring – despite the big bubbles, and the steam, and the noise – until you get a smooth caramel sauce. You’re done. Pour it on top of the shredded coconuts and mix well, before the caramel solidifies on one big chunk of coconut. Shape the coconut, with your hand, into nests (rings really) the same size of the cookies.
Then use your chocolate (which you can melt on a double boiler or in a microwave) as a glue to stick the coconut to the biscuit.
You can even drizzle it a bit on top, and coat the bottom, and you’ve got yourself a samoa cookie ;)
Leave them to finish solidifying in the fridge and then you can display them with your eggs.
I love both styles of nests, and guess the choice depends on what you like better: when will be crunchy, and smooth with the amends and white chocolate, the other will be more of a cookie, chewy because of the coconut and the caramel. Up to you!
In the meantime, check out this amazing Easter dessert boiled egg! It’s absolutely gorgeous and delicious.